I believe reading is not just for information but also for entertainment. The reason I started reading was simply that it was fun! When I was seven I found myself making repeated trips to the local library, not to check out the latest scientific journal, but to devour an anthology of Batman comic books. My mom made the brilliant parenting choice of encouraging me to read . . . even if it was, what many would consider to be, a waste of paper and ink. Those comics began a lifelong love of reading for me.

Sooo, here’s my “fiction” list. The books that entertain, inspire, spark creativity, break my heart, cause me to lose sleep, and on many occasions . . . educate. Most importantly, they remind me why I love to read.

Classic works

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. This is hands down my favorite book of all time. If you’ve seen the musical you have to read the book. If you haven’t seen the musical, read the book anyhow. A compeling story that weaves ethics, intrigue and the highest questions of human values.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. This is my favorite Dickens novel (A very close second would be A Tale Of Two Cities). Great Expectations combines romance, mystery and of course, the tension between the “haves” and “have-nots.”

The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. This is an amazing story of treachery, revenge and the capabilities we humans have to overcome amazing adversity.

Contemporary works

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. An epic tale about young men growing up in brutal circumstances and the adults they become. I enjoyed this one so much that I just picked up Hosseini’s most recent release, A Thousand Splendid Suns.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I read this on my study break last summer. I couldn’t put it down. Since then I’ve given it to a dozen people as a gift. Extremely well written.

The Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. Bridge is a winner of the Newberry Award. Originally written for young teens, this novel has a very meaningful story line that will engage the youth in all of us.

Historical works

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. This one is heart breaking and triumphant. A story birthed in the poverty of Ireland.

The Power Of One by Bryce Courtenay. This one is set in South Africa and all of its political and social unrest. A story of the difference one person can make if they are willing to pay the price.

Follow The River by James Alexander Thom. This book is unbelievable. Based on true events it is the story of a white woman escaping captivity from an Indian nation.

Absolute “burn-through” fun

Sackett by Louis Lamour. Okay, any book by Louis Lamour. Great cowboy novels that will keep you turning the pages.

Holes by Louis Sachar. This one is good for the entire family. Really enjoyable, fun read.

Sleepers by Lorenzo Carcaterra. Very intense. Will make you stay up too late at night to finish it.

The Jester by James Patterson. This is simply a fun read for the flight or for the beach when you arrive.

There are so many more . . . They’ll have to wait for another list. So many books . . . so little time.

How about sharing your favorite fiction?