1998 Students' Favorite Novels
Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon
Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon portrays the events occurring in an imaginative young boyís life growing up in Zephyr, Alabama. The boy, Cory Mackenson, and his friends allow their fantasies to run wild as they picture themselves flying through the air at times and battling monsters at others. However, one morning at the break of dawn Cory and his father witness an apparent car accident that reveals itself to be a grusome murder. The image of a man beaten and bloodied, tied to the steering wheel of his car, is one that will haunt Coryís father until the identity of the murderer can be solved. As Cory attempts to crack the case, he also experiences many adventures along the way, from battling a river monster in a brutal storm to a dangerous shootout in a parking lot. By the end of the story, Cory has learned much about himself and his town.
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Raskolnikov, a sensitive intellectual driven by poverty, commits murder and then must face the consequences of his action. He battles many psychological wars, such as paranoia and guilt. During his demise into lunacy, Raskolnikov meets a myriad of characters from whom he learns many life lessons. Eventually, in order to salvage himself from his heinous crime, he confesses and faces his punishment.
Dune by Frank Herbert
Dune is the first book of a six book series, the Dune Chronicles. Since its release, the world of science fiction has never been the same. Frank Herbert's vast, futuristic world spans thousands of years of human history, creating one of the most elaborate and realistic realms ever conceived. In fact, some people claim that Frank Herbert did for science fiction what Tolkien did for fantasy. Dune was the first book to win the Nebula Award and also won the Hugo Award in the same year. Although many of today's science fiction fans have never read the Dune Chronicles, the story still stands as an intriguing and thought-provoking work of literature.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Guide, in a bizarre and thoroughly unpredictable manner, reveals the nature of the universe as seen by a quaint, if unusual, Englishman.
The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis and Where the Red Fern Grows are two of my favorites. Both are books that I read countless times when I was a kid and I continue to read them today. I love The Horse and His Boy for its creativity and vivid and sensual detail which stimulates my imagination even today. I love Where the Red Fern Grows for its boyish childhood perspective, innocent warmth and love, and heartbreaking tragedy.
- Lori K. Soni
The Last Shot by Darcy Frey
In The Last Shot, author Darcy Frey chronicles a year in the lives of four African-American high school basketball players from fabled Lincoln High School on Coney Island. Starting at the beginning of the summer after their Junior year and through the end of their Senior high school basketball season, Frey follows Russell, Tchaka, Corey, and Freshman budding star, Stephon. The hopes and aspirations for a college scholarship are set against the harsh realities of gang-banging and drug-dealing in Coney Island. As Russell, Tchaka, and Corey struggle to make college coaches aware of their talent and potential (as well as achieve a 700 on the SAT making them eligible for Division I play), Frey conveys that basketball is the only ticket out of the dead-end slums for kids like them. The Last Shot is not only a good story for basketball fans; it carries the universal theme of hope for everyone to relate.
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut
Mother Night portrays the trial of an American spy Howard W. Campbell during World War II. But is he truly guilty of Nazi war crimes?
She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
She's Come Undone, a touching and humorous book, chronicles the life of an unforgettable woman, Dolores Price, from the age of four to forty. She constantly struggles with her weight, weighing 257 pounds at one point in her life. The reader experiences all of her hardships, difficulties, and successes as she deals with her problems in love, life and self-confidence.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
This book tells the story of Janie's evolving selfhood through three marriages. Fair-skinned, long-haired, dreamy as a child, Janie grows up expecting better treatment than she gets until she meets Tea Cake, a younger man who engages her heart and spirit in equal measure and gives her the chance to enjoy life without being one manís mule or another manís adornment. It is a tribute to the authorís wisdom that though her story does not end happily, it does draw to a satisfying conclusion. Janie is one black woman who doesn't have to live lost in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams; for Janie and the reader have learned two things: everybody's got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin' fuh theyselves.
Anything by Vonnegut
My favorite book would have to be anything by Vonnegut. In an almost a Faulknernian manner, he interweaves his characters into different books, whether it be Kilgore Trout, Bokonon, or Billy Pilgrim. Using his `black-humor', he highlights the human situation, brings it to ridicule, and makes the reader re-evaluate his stance on life. So far, I have read Breakfast of Champions, Timequake, Slaughter-House Five, Galapagos, Bluebeard, Mother Night, and Cat's Cradle. All of them I would recommend to anyone who believes their role in life to be the best consumers they can be!