Sophie’s World

(This post is one in a series about the best books ever written. The first post in the series is here.)

This is the book that I always answer with when someone asks me what I think is, without question, the best book in the history of literature. I have a few reasons for that but perhaps the most significant of them is that it is, of all literature, the book that I most would love to have written. If I had only ever written one book in my life and it was this, I would be far beyond satisfied. Sadly, it was already written before I published my first book and it’s one of those things that, once it’s done well, and in this case exceptionally well, it really doesn’t need to be done again. more...

Snow Country

(This post is one in a series about the best books ever written. The first post in the series is here.)

There are many books by Yasunari Kawabata floating around in discussions of “best books” over the last few decades but I would suggest that this, probably his best-known work, is the most stellar example of contemporary self-exploratory fiction out there. I will actually begin with the plot for this one because, much like the type of books I read for enjoyment, there isn’t much of one and that’s quite significant. The story is about a man from the city who escapes his life from time to time by heading into the mountains of the north and enjoying the services of entertaining women (no, in this case that doesn’t necessarily mean prostitutes). more...

Divergent

(This post is one in a series about the best books ever written. The first post in the series is here.)

Divergent, the first of the series by the same name from Veronica Roth, is a clear demonstration not only of what youth-focused literature can be but what it should be. Really, most of the other writers in this genre should simply be ashamed of what they’ve been producing all this time. This is a continuation of my assertion that to be a good book it has to teach three different lessons — one about language and how it can be used to shape and create and be creative, one about morality, ethics, spirituality and the like and one about humanity, the world around us, our existence. more...

Angels and Demons

(This post is one in a series about the best books ever written. The first post in the series is here.)

I did indeed like Angels and Demons enough to put it on my list of best books ever written. And that may shock some people — actually, that does shock a lot of people and I have heard that particular question many times. Usually a book is either good or popular. And that’s not an unusual differentiation to make about things. Popular music is rarely well written. Popular fiction is usually mindless drivel written by people who are looking for sensational reactions rather than depth of understanding. Popular art is usually something that makes people cringe rather than sit and stare at it. more...