As the holidays rapidly approach, the staff at The Pleiad wanted to get in on the holiday gift-giving action. This year, our staff members compiled a list of book recommendations perfect for every kind of reader in your life. Each of our writers submitted their favorite novels that they think absolutely everyone should read. Below is the list of some of the best books ever written–at least, according to us.
So many classics tend to be, well, depressing (I’m looking at you Great Expectations and Wuthering Heights), but Emma is a breath of fresh air. On top of Austen’s superb writing, the story is light, funny and heartwarming. Almost anything Austen writes is a classic in its own regard, but Emma’s trials and tribulations as she learns to transition from spoiled child to mistress of an estate is especially fun to read. It’s the perfect book to read curled up by a cozy fireplace, where the chair is sure to catch you if Mr. Knightly causes you to swoon.
-Emily Miller, Editor-in-Chief
Shift Work is an autobiography by former Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tie Domi, one of the NHL’s greatest fighters to ever play the game. Domi’s story recounts the ups and downs of his life both on and off the ice, and he shows how he developed as a player and continues to develop as a person. As a player, he was one of the most feared and fearless enforcers, but one of the most loyal and valued teammates on each team he played for. As a father, Domi is devoted and has a magnetic personality that brings out the best in his children. If you loved hockey in the late 90s and early 2000s, then you most likely know who Domi is, but Shift Work shows there is more to Domi’s life than just hockey.
-Steve Marowski, Co-Managing Editor and Sports Editor
The first book in the seven-part Saga of Seven Suns series, Hidden Empire takes the reader to a future where hum
ankind has expanded across the universe and is ruled under a monarchy that is beginning to learn the price of turning gas giants into suns. Brimming with exploration, discovery, politics, diplomacy, love, alien civilizations, elemental beings and impending galactic war, A Song of Ice and Fire fans and any other curious reader will rejoice in this epic space opera. From extraterrestrial leaders to simple planetary settlers, Anderson dots his book with an expansive cast of characters who will all either break your heart or make it swell with pride.
-Beau Brockett Jr., Co-Managing Editor and News Editor
And I Darken is a gender-bent story of Vlad the Impaler (the man Dracula is based off). It is set in the Ottoman Empire and deals with the political, religious and gender issues of the time in an entertaining way. I’m a sucker for books with strong female characters, and Lada, the main character, makes this book one of my favorite reads of 2016. Throughout the book she rebels against the gendered expectations of her by proving she can accomplish what men can, while also learning that females can be strong in their own way thanks to the other strong women in the novel. And I Darken is the first book in the Conquerors Saga.
-Katie Boni, Features and Opinions Section Editor
This heart-wrenching book is perfect for any Christian on your Christmas list. The story begins with Mack’s daughter being abducted while on a family vacation. He receives a letter from God calling him to the shack where his daughter’s body was found. The lessons he learns there not only impact the rest of his life, but they impacted the rest of mine and most likely yours too. It will make you cry, but by the end you will be glad you read it.
-Natalya DiCiacca, Copy Editor
Many people know the story of Frankenstein creating the monster, but most do not actually appreciate or even know the original story. The original version tells a harrowing tale about what it means to create life and asks what is life? The gripping tale follows Victor Frankenstein’s life after he breathes life into his creation. As you follow his journey, you will begin to wonder what makes a monster. You will be sucked into this book until the very end.
-Grace Lisle, Assistant Copy Editor
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
First published in 1952, East of Eden is Steinbeck’s most ambitious novel. Depicting the life of two families living in the Salinas Valley, each page will leave you wanting to read more. I have read this book three times, and every time I finish it I take away a new meaning. If you like reading about intertwining stories and connecting themes to real life then this is the book for you!
-Chel-C Ford, Marketing Coordinator
Originally published in French as Le Petit Prince, this book is supposedly meant for children, but its themes are often difficult for even the most mature adults to grapple with. The Little Prince tells the story of a young boy from another planet (one inhabited by only himself, some baobab trees and a flower) who meets a stranded pilot on an Earth desert. This 83-page book, with illustrations on every other page, is a quick but emotionally dense read. This may be the only book has ever made me cry, but not out of sadness. It is life-affirming. It beautifully explains why friends are important long after they are gone. The book’s characters aim to remind us of the simple things we believed in childhood but forgot and the secret, “One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”
-Marcus Olah, Staff Writer
This book came into my life during my freshman year in Dr. Mary Collar’s English 101H class. Despite my limited knowledge of what the book was about, I soon found that it was one of those stories that completely combatted the notion of “the bland book that you’re required to read for English class.” With prolific plot twists, intriguing characters and great relevance to real-life, twenty-first century events, Double Vision is a real literary treat.
-Andrew Wittland, Staff Writer
I recommend this book because the storyline always makes you think and guess what’s going to happen next. The book takes multiple twists and turns which capture your attention and makes certain you don’t become bored. Unlike other Stephen King novels, The Green Mile isn’t a horror book but rather a recount of Paul Edgecombe’s most difficult life decision — how he handled the truth.
-Erin Mahaney, Staff Writer
The Pendragon Series by D.J. MacHale is a science fiction/fantasy series that follows Bobby Pendragon through different realms in our universe and beyond. These books may start like an average young adult sci-fi story, but the themes and plot get dramatically darker and more twisted over the course of 10 books. Pendragon will make you look at culture, hope, history and humanity in a completely different light.
-Sarah Finn, Staff Writer
Failed filmmaker James Incandenza finally releases a masterpiece, a film so entertaining, that whoever sees it does nothing else but watch it until they die. The late David Foster Wallace’s masterpiece is equally gut-bustingly hilarious and soul-crushingly depressing, often alternating between the two extremes in the same breath. It is a very enjoyable, mind-boggling read. It can become a bit overwhelming, but it is certainly a labor of love. I must warn you though, reading this book may cause you to become addicted to it, much like the film that it centers itself around.
-Jack Schocker, Staff Writer
In a really not so funny way 80’s dystopian novels are starting to become way too relevant. When you read classic hyperbolic novels like Animal Farm and The Handmaid’s Tale, they establish a baseline expectation for acceptable and unacceptable behavior. And if you compare some of what’s going on around the world with The Handmaid’s Tale, things don’t looks so different.
-Jamal Yearwood, Staff Writer
I love this book because of the whimsical world that Carroll creates. He reminds us that nothing is ever really impossible. He also reminds us to keep moving forward no matter what happens. In his book, Alice states, “I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” Carroll uses a fantastical world to remind us of some important lessons that can get lost in the craziness of everyday life.
-Katie Buzan, Staff Writer
Photos via Wikicommons