Although now I read mostly eBooks, when picking these I stuck with books whose paper versions always have a place on my shelf, no matter where home is.
My favourite reads: Kevin Jeffers
Three years ago I brought over four suitcases from Alabama – three filled with clothes, one with books. Although now I read mostly eBooks, when picking these I stuck with books whose paper versions always have a place on my shelf, no matter where home is.
Kevin Jeffers is a multimedia editor at The National
The Complete Stories
by Bernard Malamud
Better known for The Natural and the Pulitzer-winning The Fixer, it is his short stories that make Malamud one of my favourite authors. My copy of Stories is beaten up and stained from so many plane trips and lunch breaks spent checking off another story in the index. Although I have admittedly never finished the entire 55-piece collection, I regularly go back and read The Magic Barrel.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Mark Haddon
The best fiction transports and teaches at the same time. Haddon’s crime caper through the eyes of a high-functioning autistic trying to solve the murder of a neighbour’s dog, shows just how difficult the daily life of someone with a social disability can be. Empathy is one of our most important social skills, and this book does an amazing job.
by Albert Camus
I’m realising that three of the books I have chosen came from the same 20th-century fiction course with my favourite university professor, and this was the first on the syllabus. Existentialism is a bit too dark for me to embrace as a full-stop world view, but for a spiritually curious 20-something, discovering Camus – and the option of the lack of spirituality as a counterpoint – was enlightening.
Tiny Beautiful Things
by Cheryl Strayed
Before Wild became a bestseller for Strayed, she wrote for literary website The Rumpus for a few years under the guise of Dear Sugar, answering letters in the vein of Dear Abby. Part-self-help, part-memoir, and fully a showcase of astonishing writing ability, this is the book I tend to recommend more than any others for its universally useful advice, to say nothing of how entertaining it is.
by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
The loud and awful film has killed some its lustre, but this classic graphic novel is still the model for an entire artform. This masterpiece of world and character-building, along with Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus, proved the literary worth and potential of comics. Time magazine agreed, putting Watchmen on its list of its all-time 100 Novels.