SEVEN GOOD READS – Rich Paschall

Books I Remember, by Rich Paschall

Recently a friend posted this to my facebook feed:

I have accepted the challenge from (a friend) to post the cover of 7 books I love. The challenge is one cover a day for 7 days. No explanations, no reviews, just the cover. Let’s promote literacy! Each day I will ask one friend to take up the challenge. Today on day 7 I nominate Rich Paschall.

My first reaction was to take a pass. I was thinking that I did not have the time for it. After looking over my friend’s choices for the week, however, I decided to give it a go. After all, I did not have to read anything new. I just needed to copy the text above, post the cover of a book and move on. I resisted all temptation at any explanation or responses to comments.

My plan was to list books that were memorable to me. The first that popped into my head would do. There was to be no drawing up lists and then picking favorites. I just posted them as they came to me. This was a little harder as I got to the end, but not for reasons you might expect.

Of all the books you have read in a lifetime that you thought were memorable, which would you pick? Which ones do you love, really love? I will give you the choices I posted on facebook, but with a few lines on each. If you have not read them, you might want to give them a chance. You don’t have to buy any. If you can not find them for free online, there are those old buildings known as libraries. Ours even has digital versions of books you can “check out” online.

Day 1.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles. I likely read this as a teenager, or perhaps early twenties. It was popular for high school and college classes at one time. At its core, it is a coming of age story. It shows the conflict between two close friends who have very different personalities. Their differences would naturally lend to disputes, as one drags the other along on his adventures. There was a fine movie version in 1972 for which Knowles worked on the screenplay.

Day 2.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. You may be familiar with the excellent movie starring Gregory Peck. The American Film Institute ranks it as one of the best films ever made. Peck won the Oscar. Even though it is a faithful adaptation, the book will offer you even more. It is a fascinating read dealing with complex and socially charged issues. You likely will not be able to put it down, even if you know where the story is headed.

Day 3.

The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway. If you know anything about Hemingway’s life, you know you can find a bit of him in all his stories. That he would know and understand the toils of the old fisherman should be a given. The Pulitzer Prize-winning short novel will take you out to sea for the struggle. Like many great works of literature this also has a movie treatment.  Spencer Tracy gives a powerful performance as the aging fisherman.

Day 4.

Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. The novel is long (760 pages) and rather complex. The political and social issues it tends to explore are likely best understood in light of his several earlier works. I had, in fact, read all of Pynchon’s work up to this point before venturing into the satiric novel regarding history and science.

Harry Potter library books

Day 5.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. You have to admit, it is the book that started the world reading books on paper again. If you are one of the few who skipped this fandom, I urge you to read it. The works are not just for young people, but for all who love fantasy and adventure. This is the first of 7 novels.

Here it got a little tricky. With only two left to post I started thinking of many possibilities. I wanted to go with “A Clockwork Orange” next. I found it a fascinating read in an uncomfortable sort of way. There was also “In The Flesh.” It’s the sensational Hollywood autobiography of poet Gavin Dillard that was also a bit uncomfortable. It named, or tried to avoid naming, some well-known celebrities on the seedy side of a sometimes seedy entertainment business. There were also a number of well-known classics to consider…but I digress. And that is oddly the point of the next choice.

Day 6.

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne. The amusing novel is told through a series of digressions and diversions. The reader must pay close attention in order to know exactly where he is at in the story. In the process, you learn little about Tristram as he goes off on tangents about family, friends, and others. The structure of the lengthy work may be due in part to being published in 9 volumes over an 8 year period.

Day 7.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The title refers to “the temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns …” The novel deals with the issues of censorship and book burning and is set at some point in the future. In this story, the “fireman’s” job is to burn any books that are found. It is an effort to keep people from knowledge.

While some of these have excellent movie adaptations, no film treatment can match the magic of the books themselves.

See also: How Harry Potter Changed The World.”


Categories: Book Review, Books, Fiction, Rich Paschall

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

22 replies

  1. Reblogged this on Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth and commented:

    Seven good reads are still good reads!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on rjptalk and commented:

    Last year I shared seven books I thought were “good reads.” Since you may be staying in more than usual due to the pandemic, you might want to consider a good book. Be sure to click “View original post” at the bottom to head over to SERENDIPITY for my choices.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great subject matter for these pandemic times. I’ve been squeezing in more reading between TV time than usual. I am reminded how much I enjoy reading – BEYOND the daily sports and political stuff. That is FAST FOOD reading. Another matter.

      Rich, I like your list.

      My immediate – minimal thinking list (and I get to revise, I hope). Order is as I recall – not a ranking.

      – “11,22,63” – Stephen King. Hope I have dates right. Not a King fan but I loved his writing, his words, his verbal music in this one. I found myself reading paragraphs out loud to myself and others. This is a “recent” read. Two years ago? Some of King’s writing in this one is lyrical.

      -“TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD”. Harper Lee. A treasure.

      – “FROM HERE TO ETERNITY”. James Jones – the BOOK not the famous movie. I became something of a James Jones fan with his writing style. Again, there’s a lyricism. The most memorable section is Prewitt’s playing taps for Maggio. Jones’ description of what Taps – THAT Taps – meant for all the people in uniform, trying to stay alive, to salvage their dreams, to deal with the drudgery of their lives in war (Pearl Harbor, The Japanese Invasion) that scene is etched in my sense memory, more than half a century after reading the book. James Jones can get down and dirty with his characters and story lines but he also takes the high road to find some nobility in his people trying to make some sense out of their lives. Monty Clift’s movie bugle scene is a heartbreaker but the novel’s version will leave you red-eyed.

      “THE SUN ALSO RISES” – Hemingway. Read in my youth and part of my DNA. Some of Papa’s romanticism has worn off with the years and my own sense of reality. But, golly, I’d still like to hang with Jake, Mike, Lady Brett and some of the other gang. I’d be drinking club soda now but what the heck.

      “TENDER IS THE NIGHT” – Fitzgerald — What can I say? A Fitzgerald fan.
      “THE LAST TYCOON” – Fitzgerald
      “BABYLON REVISITED” – Fitzgerald

      “PEYTON PLACE” Grace Metalious — Yup, GUILTY pleasure. Betcha I could still find THAT page.

      There are lots more. But enough for this session.

      Liked by 1 person

      • If I wrote them down and rank ordered them I would have had a different list, but those were the first that came to mind. You have an excellent list and some I have not read. Peyton Place, eh?

        Liked by 1 person

        • YES, PEYTON PLACE! You want to make something of that?
          Betcha I can still find THAT page.

          I forgot Steinbeck, Cather, Ferber and, currently, DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN.

          And, of course, there’s “Not So Wild A Dream” – Eric Sevareid. Read as an 11 year old. Years later, my recollection made Mr. Sevareid SMILE.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Grapes of Wrath would have to top my list. Great selections on yours, Rich.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Two books that come to mind right off are The Nebuly Coat and The Lost Stradivarius by John Meade Falkner. Both were wonderful stories and the English was a delight to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t imagine trying to find seven books out of the thousands I’ve read, especially since what I loved 20 or 30 years ago is nothing like the stuff I love now.

    Except Terry Pratchett. ALL of Terry Pratchett. I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow that!

    Liked by 2 people

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