But let us not forget why we love this genre in the first place. The most frightening horror novel cannot compare to the fear New Yorker’s feel when they saw the first airplane dive into tower number 2. No story will make you cry as hard as those persecuted for being a certain race, sexuality or religion did. No love story can compare to seeing your Sister marry the love of her life, or seeing your Grandmother say goodbye to your Grandfather for the last time.
All the fantasy that these fiction novels bring cannot even begin to compare to our experiences as humans. With that in mind, this is what is so great about non-fiction, especially auto-biographies. These tales of human lives and endeavors are the greatest stories one can come across in a few pieces of paper. Here are, in my opinion, the four that will show you what it is like to experience being in the author’s shoes.
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
What better way to start of a list of great novels than with the King of American literature, Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway, throughout his life, was known to be recluse and eccentric, thus drawing the attention of his many fans to his personal life. Three years after he tragically took his own life, this classic autobiography was published, finally giving literature fans an insight into his life and thoughts. The novel chronicles his stay in Paris during the 1920’s, as he worked as an expatriate writer. Hemingway also reveals the details to his first wife Hadley, and his thoughts and partaking on the extravagant lifestyle that was standard in the 1920’s. This is a must read for those who are truly interested in one of the greatest authors who has ever lived.
Twelve Years A Slave by Solomon Northup
Everyone has heard of the masterpiece of a movie that is 12 Years A Slave, which captured its fair share of Academy Awards this past awards season. However most are unaware of the literary gem that is the source material of this film. 12 Years A Slave is the incredible tale of Solomon Northup, an African-American man born in the early 1800’s. Solomon, unlike most black men at the time, was born free and was thus educated and had a family, until one day he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. This novel is a true insight into the horrors the people of the world has faced in the past. Solomon saw a lot of bad things happen to good people, and yet he did not falter in his quest for freedom. This is the book that will not only inspire you with Solomon’s quest, but make you grateful for the world being a better place now than it was in the 1800’s.
The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank
No list would be complete without this harrowing, coming-of-age tale of innocence and love in a time of war and hate. Everyone has heard of Anne Frank, she is the poster-girl of the persecution of Jews by the German Nazis in the 1940’s. But not many have actually taken the time to read the diary pages that have caused so much uproar, unless your school has required you to. The novel is an account of Anne and her family fleeing death, as she starts to grow up. This novel is not just about how evil a human can be, but how amazing and beautiful it can be to grow up. Anne Frank is a much different person from the first diary entree to the last. This novel should be read by all students because they do not just find a tale of the horrors of humanity, but an inspiring little girl whom any developing young girl or boy can find a kindred spirit in.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Bet you didn’t expect this one to be on this list. Tina Fey is a comedic genius and has been the model for female comedians who want to break into show business. It may seem difficult for us to see now, but Tina wasn’t always the hotshot writer/comedienne she is now. Bossypants is a retelling of her experience from her childhood and education, to becoming a writer in SNL, all the way to her creating her Emmy winning show, “30 Rock”. I chose to put this novel in the list because this book isn’t just about her experiences, but the experiences that most women face in the workforce today. She chronicles how she struggled with weight-gain from the stress of work. How she felt under appreciated in her early days in SNL by her male co-workers. How she felt like she needed to be “one of the boys” to gain any respect. How her sudden rise to fame gave her more “friends” than she initially had, and how difficult she finds it to balance raising children and being a comedy superstar. The novel is not just filled with humor, but life lessons that I believe most people can learn a lot from.
- Chino Mendiola
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