International Day Of Literacy
source: Ed Robertson

Today is International Literacy Day, and I think we should all be reading more books. I am not a snob concerned about what you read, how often you read, or if you read the “right” books, just so long as you are reading. Audiobooks count! 

These are five books I’ve read that I felt had a positive impact on my life. Whether it was a fun fantasy or a philosophical journey into the most profound questions we grapple with, here are five books you should read. 

Man’s Search For Meaning – Viktor Frankl 

Frankl survived the Holocaust living in the concentration camps, and he then began his life’s work sharing what he believed to be the secret to living a meaningful and fulfilling life. As far as Holocaust memoirs go, it is one of the better ones. It doesn’t answer questions as much as it gives you the tools to ask the right questions and find meaning in your own life in your way. 

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No Country For Old Men – Cormac McCarthy

There is probably not an American writer alive who can capture the depths of depravity and the evil of men better than McCarthy. With a plot out of a grocery store thriller (I mean this in the best way possible), McCarthy tells a tale of what men are truly capable of when survival is on the line. The book is also a great debunker of the belief that human evil is a new phenomenon, and it’s not for the faint of heart. One of the few books where the movie adaptation matches the book’s brilliance. 

The Giver – Lois Lowery

Forget the browbeating of 1984; this book, made for tweens and teens, is the best book about the dangers of strict conformity, the quest for utopia, and authoritarianism. It is so well written that twenty years later, I can still quote it from memory. A book they should have in schools, and even if you’re an adult, the themes will resonate with you. I can’t wait to share it with my kids one day.

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

Picture this: You’re stuck inside during an epic winter caused by the largest volcanic eruption in hundreds of years, so you and your friends decided to have a story-writing contest. In the process, you write a story that invents an entire genre of writing that shapes popular culture and media in ways you couldn’t imagine. Oh, and by the way, you’re 18 when you do it. That was Mary Shelley when she wrote “Frankenstein” on a whim and invented science fiction.

The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler 

The hard-boiled detective novel: every trope, every character type, all of it comes from a Raymond Chandler book. “The Big Sleep” was his first and my favorite. It’s a long but fascinating read, something you’ll pick up on a Friday night and not put down until Sunday. If you like crime, mystery, or thrillers, all those genres pay homage to Chandler and his brilliant writing. And it is another book where the adaption matches the quality. 

Celebrate International Literacy Day by picking up a book today!

What are your favorite five books? Share your lists in the comment sections below. 

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