A Gift that Keeps on Giving

Nov 142007
Authors: Griffin Faust

The weather outside is getting chilly, classes are at a point of high demand, and those of us working in retail or food markets are ready to burst; the holidays are right around the corner.

In light of soon-to-be-here frosty celebrations at home, I’d like to offer a handful of my favorite books I’ve read in the past year. Reasons for this? Well, it’s high time to begin shopping for presents to wrap and give away, for one. Although a book probably isn’t the first item on a lot of wish lists, but it’s commonly overlooked that the gift of reading is the gift that keeps on giving. And they’re cheap; the fact tightly bound paper is inexpensive is a bonus.

In the following recommendations, I’ve chosen books that had an especially unique voice that pulled me closer to the protagonist or multiple subjects. To me, voice is critical for a likable character and difficult to craft effectively. These items I’ll be recommending have impeccable humanist qualities and strong voice – I hope that they offer a satisfying gift idea for the someone in your life that makes you feel positive.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

by Stephen Chbosky

A must read for anyone tweening or already in their teenage years.

Charlie is the only character we really can identify with, since the whole book is uniquely designed in the form of his letters addressed to an unknown “friend”. Each letter recounts in exceptional details the events and struggles Charlie has faced during the previous week at high school, at home and with his friends.

I finished this book in two days; the more delved in I was, the more I needed to reach out to Charlie. I think most fans of this book can complete relate to the characters problems participating in social realms, or feeling overly apologetic around girls. I think you’ll be devastated at times reading about Charlie’s ill fate, but uplifted at his oddly mature philosophy on relationships.

This is the documented life of most high school freshman thrust into the world of dating, sex, drugs, responsibility, pastimes and tragedies. A truly memorable book that I thought accomplished more in style than plot. Because of it’s simple structure, it’s a great book to give to younger siblings or friends, but certainly thoughtful enough for older audiences.


by Sapphire

Kind of a strange recommendation to follow “Perks”, but equal in unique style and voice. This is a novel I read for class whilst discussing literacy in oppressing environments, and since has remained a top 5 favorite of mine.

“Push” is on the edge as far as how much abuse I can put up with; that being said, I am also grateful for its valuable theme of survival through passion. For the central character, Precious Jones, the only passion she is shown is damaging to her body, her mind and spirit. Piercing through a cloud of oppression put there by several sources, Precious pours courage and humility and pain into her education that begins with basic literacy at age 17.

Filed in fiction sections but clearly rooted in biography, Sapphire’s book about this Harlem girl is a fascinating example of a fresh voice and clear theme. Sometimes the pain is what brings Precious closer to her goals. I would not recommend this novel for younger audiences. If imagery by Palahniuk doesn’t phase you in the slight, you may be ready for “Push.”

“Post Secret”

compiled by Frank Warren

Probably the most known of the three recommended gift ideas, but it’s got a lot of bases covered: humanist spices of laughter and tears, uncommon format, great art. This compilation of post card secrets is an ultimate cultural study project on the desires and deceits of members in our community.

Simply put, it’s over 270 pages of personal art and even more personal secrets shared for the first time to the world. Frank Warren asked thousands of random people to send him a nagging secret that has never been told before sent to his house anonymously on a postcard. The response was tidal. Until reading this book, I had no idea what desires regular people had, what incredibly claustrophobic situations can become and how suffocating one little secret can be.

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