No matter what stage of life you are in, reading is always important. Books and novels convey important stories and messages for readers that help us think about the world we live in, or simply give an escape from everyday life.
These books are recommended by two West Liberty English professors, Peter Staffel and Scott Hanna.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, a historical book that takes place in Nazi Germany during WWII is Staffel’s top pick. “There are a lot of contemporary books that are really interesting and fun, but at the same time I think there will be a lot of those all the time. This is a book that I think has legs. It will be a classic,” said Staffel.
Hanna’s first pick is Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. “That book is near and dear to my heart, but it has so much to do with race relations in America. It’s not only at the time, but when you read it today in the 21st century,” said Hanna. Opening up discussions on the topics of both race and racism, Hanna says, “it’s sort of a snapshot of that time that a lot of us weren’t aware of. On the surface, it’s an adventure story about a kid and a slave, but at the heart of it is a great humanist story about friendship that transcends race.”
Hanna also recommends two Appalachian novels. Trampoline: An Illustrated Novel by Robert Gipe which is about a girl in a town struggling with economic and social influences. The other Appalachian novel is A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash. This powerful novel is about evils that two brothers must face in a small town in North Carolina.
Other honorable mentions, also mentioned by Hanna include The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff, Storming Heaven by Denise Giardina, and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.