9 Stephen King Stories That Should Be Adapted Into Film

I know. It’s hard to imagine that there are any left that haven’t been.

Stephen King/Photo © DDay Gen Adult 2017

With the record-shattering adaptation of It – not to mention critically-acclaimed takes on Gerald’s Game, Mr. Mercedes, and 1922 – we are currently experiencing a Stephen King cinematic renaissance. Given all of the recent success, odds are that Hollywood will dig deeper into the master storyteller’s massive catalog.

Stephen King is nothing if not an incredibly productive writer, and there is plenty of adaptation fodder waiting in the ranks of all of those bestsellers. Here are a few of our favorite stories, primed for the move to screens large and small. Some have remained untouched by the hands of Hollywood, while others have been languished in the pits of developmental hell, but all of them are ready to make their cinematic debut.

The cover of the book The Long WalkThe Long Walk

Stephen King

The Long Walk is probably the best known of Stephen King’s “Bachman” books – books he wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. It’s a dystopian thriller set in an alternate timeline where the Germans appear to have won World War II. In the novel, teenage boys are forced to participate in a grueling walking marathon where the winner is the last person left alive and standing. It’s a taut and emotional thriller that would require a deft touch, but one that we’d still love to see adapted.

 

The cover of the book The Man in the Black SuitThe Man in the Black Suit

Stephen King

This O. Henry award-winner originally appeared in the New Yorker before being included in Everything’s Eventual. King cited Nathaniel Hawthorne as an inspiration for the story, which centers on an elderly man recalling an encounter he had as a boy with an enigmatic figure, who may have been the devil. It’s a slow-burn, haunting story with plenty of room to be expanded upon on the screen.

 

The cover of the book InsomniaInsomnia

Stephen King

Insomnia is about as close any King novel can be to a cult classic among the author’s fans. The novel is an unsettling mix of sci-fi and horror, and features an elderly suffering from insomnia who begins to see otherworldy phenomena. At just shy of 800 pages, it could be tough to adapt to the big screen, but a mini-series would give the characters and the story plenty of room to breathe.

 

The cover of the book The Girl Who Loved Tom GordonThe Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

Stephen King

This is one of Stephen King’s better psychological thrillers. The story is built around nine-year-old Trisha McFarland who wanders away from her family during a hike along the Appalachian Trail. Lost, subjected to the elements, and fearful of a monster that could be real or imagined, Trisha turns to her admiration of Red Sox relief pitcher Tom Gordon for comfort.

 

The cover of the book 'Salem's Lot‘Salem’s Lot

Stephen King

While it’s true that Salem’s Lot has already been adapted twice – a well-regarded 1979 TV film and a forgettable 2004 version – the success of “It” 2017 proved there’s always room for another look at King’s works. This is one book that could really benefit from a mini-series adaptation. Despite its scant (at least for Stephen King) page count, the novel spends a fair amount of time fleshing out the town and occupants of Jerusalem’s Lot.

 

The cover of the book Night ShiftNight Shift

Stephen King

This Stephen King deep cut was originally published in Cavalier magazine – home to quite a few King stories – before eventually appearing in Night Shift, Stephen King’s first short story collection. The Boogeyman centers on a family falling prey to a titular sinister creature. While certainly on the shorter end in terms of length, there’s quite a bit of content that a skillful writer or director could flesh out on the screen. In the right hands, The Boogeyman has the potential to be a truly terrifying exercise in suspense and horror.

 

The cover of the book Rose MadderRose Madder

Stephen King

Domestic violence is a fairly common theme in much of Stephen King’s work. But in Rose Madder, King gives his writing a fascinating symbolic and mythological twist. The novel centers on a woman who escapes an abusive relationship and eventually finds herself caught in a bizarre fantasy world after purchasing a painting. With the right director at the helm, it could be a visual treat on the screen.

 

The cover of the book Just After SunsetJust After Sunset

Stephen King

Stephen King’s short stories are some of his best work. The Gingerbread Girl is of my personal favorites, which appears in Just After Sunset. It begins with a fairly normal pedestrian woman dealing with the aftermath of a trauma, but when Stephen King throws a dangerous serial killer into the mix, it becomes a tightly written cat-and-mouse survival story.

 

The cover of the book Duma KeyDuma Key

Stephen King

Duma Key is one of the better novels to come out of the latter part of King’s career. The 2008 novel is an intricately plotted exploration of grief, secrets, and obsession. Like a lot of Stephen King novels, there is a touch of the autobiographical as the story’s protagonist is an artist recuperating from a near-fatal accident. Thankfully, Stephen King tends to be at his best when he injects a little of himself into the narrative.

By KEITH RICE, December 15, 2017, first appearing on Signature Reads
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Literary holidays to celebrate all year long (and the books to read during them)

Each year, our calendars are loaded with days earmarked for celebrating birthdays, national holidays, and anniversaries. These are all wonderful, of course, but we prefer our holidays to have a bit of a literary twist. There are countless literary holidays you can choose to celebrate at the library but to make this a manageable list, we’re going to highlight our favorites here along with some books and collections you can use to celebrate. Time to set some calendar reminders!

literary holidaysJanuary 18: Winnie the Pooh Day

Everybody’s favorite tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff has been around for ninety years and we celebrate Winnie, Tigger and the whole gang each January 18th, author A.A. Milne’s birthday. Find a collection of stories from the Hundred Acre Wood and a nice tree to read under.

 

February 1: Harry Potter Book Night

The Boy Who Lived is always popular with readers but who doesn’t love a Hogwarts party? If you visit this website from Bloomsbury, you’ll find a downloadable event kit and lots of ideas perfect for decking out your place in the various house colors. Readers old and young alike will love getting lost in the magic of J.K. Rowling’s world.

 

February 3: Take Your Child to the Library Day

Naturally we want you to consider libraries your home away from home. There is so much goodness going on at libraries daily, and Take Your Child to the Library Day is a great time to see all those wonderful programs available.

 

March 2: Read Across America (Dr. Seuss’s Birthday)

Oh, The places you’ll go! We couldn’t make a list of literary holidays and leave out the good doctor. Schools and libraries near and far celebrate the classic books by Dr. Seuss on this day (and all year). You can do the same!

 

April 9-15: National Library Week

This is a week that’s well known in the library world but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t highlight it! This full week of celebrations feature days specifically for discussing the most frequently challenged books of last year (Monday), National Library Workers (Tuesday), and even Bookmobiles (Wednesday)! Pick a book that includes librarians or takes place in the library as a fun/informative read.

 

April 30: El Dia de los Ninos (Children’s Book Day)

El Dia de los Ninos kicks off Children’s Book Week and we can think of no better way than highlighting some of the amazing bilingual works of Pat Mora who has won countless awards for her children’s literature.

 

May 4: Star Wars Day

May the fourth be with you! The Star Wars universe continues to expand and capture the imaginations of fans around the world. Checking out the books is a perfect way to for fans, young and old, to connect with their inner Jedi.

 

June is LGBTQ+ Book Month and Audiobook Appreciation Month

The full month of June offers the opportunity to pick up some of the incredible LGBTQ+ titles out there. Plus, it also happens to be Audiobook Appreciation Month! The choices in June are nearly limitless.

 

June 19: Garfield the Cat Day

Yep, everyone’s favorite lasagna loving cat has his own holiday. Pick up a collection of the comic strip and prevent a case of the Mondays.

 

July 18-23: Hemingway Days

Ernest Hemingway loved Key West and every July, you’ll find a week-long party there in his honor. They host readings, book signings, look-alike contests and much more. You may not be able to make it to Key West, but you can still be a part of the celebration by checking out his books.

 

August 9: Book Lovers day

Technically this is every day for us but still a day worth pointing out.

 

September 18: Read an eBook Day

Join us in celebrating this special day of the year and check OMNI (Online Media of Northern Illinois), one of our largest collections of e-materials, through OverDrive.

 

October 6: Mad Hatter Day

A very mary un-birthday to you! Throw a tea party and indulge in a little nonsense. We may never know why a raven is like a writing desk, but that doesn’t make the riddle any less magical.

 

October: 9-15 Teen Read Week

Young adult novels are loved by readers in their teens and those well beyond. Spend a week celebrating your favorite heroines, trilogies, love triangles and dystopian worlds. Odds are in your favor that you’ll find an old favorite or a new obsession.

 

November: National Novel Writing Month

NANOWRIMO is the time of year when professional and aspiring authors do their best to write a full novel in one month. It’s become a way for writers to bond and test themselves and it has spawned many bestselling novels including Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Pick up some of these books or write one of your own!

These are just a few of the great literary holidays we’ll be celebrating. What are some of your favorites?

By Adam Sockel, January 4, 2018, first appearing on OverDrive Blogs

These 13 YA Books Should Be on Every Adult’s Reading List

Who says Young Adult novels are just for kids? Reading YA offers adults a world they don’t often find in more grown-up novels. Characters can feel more innocent, the settings can be more fantastical, and the emotions can feel downright nostalgic. Whatever your reason for diving in, here are some YA reads that can easily be appreciated by an older audience.

If You Want Something Relatable:

The cover of the book Turtles All the Way DownTurtles All the Way Down

John Green

In reality, this entire list could be dedicated to John Green books. From An Abundance of Katherines to Looking for Alaska, Green writes in a way that is completely delightful to read as an adult, and his latest piece is no different. The story of a sixteen-year-old who gets swept up in her own investigation of a mysterious billionaire fugitive, Turtles All the Way Down explores how we balance our own pursuits and tendency to get sucked into our own thoughts, while still trying to be decent to everyone around us.

 

The cover of the book What to Say NextWhat to Say Next

Julie Buxbaum

High school is a harsh place. Perhaps more than any other social sphere, it’s all about playing the game, and being “in” with the right people. So when popular gal Kit and relative unknown David make a connection over his bluntness about her father’s recent death, everyone is more than a little surprised. When tragedy strikes, the way you see the world can shift, and sometimes that’s the best way to find new people to get you through. Not just your average “teen rom-com” read, this book deals with a number of darker themes that raise it above others in its genre.

 

The cover of the book The Hate U GiveThe Hate U Give

Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter exists in two worlds: the wealthy neighborhood where she attends private school, and the poor neighborhood where she lives. Starr silently accepts the imbalance in opportunity, appreciation, and privilege that she witnesses on a daily basis, but when her best friend from home is shot and killed by a police officer, she struggles to stay quiet, even though speaking up could come with a high price – her well-being and possibly, her life.

 

The cover of the book Dear MartinDear Martin

Nic Stone

This timely and compelling debut tackles the issue of race relations in  the U.S. with heart-stopping accuracy – it’s no wonder it became an instant New York Times bestseller. The main character, Justyce McAllister, is a top-performing student that left a rough neighborhood in hopes of pursuing his dream of attending an Ivy League. Everything comes crashing down when Justyce and his best friend, Manny, experience the wrath of a white off-duty cop. Why? Because they were playing their music too loud. Shots are fired, and when the smoke clears, it’s Justyce who faces hate from the media.

 

The cover of the book FangirlFangirl

Rainbow Rowell

It can be hard to find a YA novel set in the first year of college, because so many books focus on the high school years, and the assumption is college-aged students have moved into older fiction. What’s wonderful about Rowell’s Fangirl is its youthful tone, which feels genuinely appropriate to an 18-year-old girl just starting out at being away from home. Not quite as emotional as Eleanor and Park (another Rowell book you should definitely have on your list), Fangirl explores the topic of a young woman discovering her own talents and learning to embrace her own identity. The book includes a fun fan-fiction series, which you can fully embrace afterwards with Rowell’s novel about the same characters, Carry On.

 

If You Want to Feel the Power of Art:

The cover of the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie

Inspired by Alexie’s own story, Absolutely True Diary is about Junior, a young Native American boy who leaves his school on the reservation to start at a wealthy, all-white high school. Junior uses art to help himself deal with the issues present in his life (from racial prejudice and bullying, to economic difficulties and parental alcoholism.) Alexie tells the story with such humor and heart that the book will stay with you long after you close it.

 

The cover of the book SpeakSpeak

Laurie Halse Anderson

Fighting the culture of victim ostracizing has always been important, and Anderson’s 1999 novel continues to feel significant – if not even more so given today’s social climate – now. High school student Melinda finds no one is interested in hearing her out during the school year after she breaks up a summer party, and her only outlet is art class where she can slowly reveal what actually happened to her that night. The voice of Anderson’s character is so well developed and real, it is all the more poignant that it is being silenced with the pages of the story.

 

If You Want to Start a New Series:

The cover of the book The Book of Dust:  La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust, Volume 1)The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust, Volume 1)

Philip Pullman

The author of the Golden Compass series has done it again. Set in a spin-off world from Compass, Pullman has created a new series so immersive you may start to imagine demons around you when you look up from the page. If you’ve been hoping for a way to go back to Lyra’s story, this is what you’ve been waiting for.

 

The cover of the book An Ember in the AshesAn Ember in the Ashes

Sabaa Tahir

Y.A. novels may be “easier” reads, but that doesn’t mean they don’t explore very difficult topics. Tahir’s series is an exploration of freedom and humanity – big things Tahir deals with by creating her own world inspired by the Roman empire. You’ll find correlations with real history and mythology while turning these pages, and the changing perspectives from chapter to chapter will allow you to really invest in and connect to the brave and inspired lead characters.

 

If You Want to Think Outside the Box:

The cover of the book Tiger LilyTiger Lily

Jodi Lynn Anderson

Be forewarned, this is an emotional read. If you grew up loving Peter Pan in any form, Anderson’s new interpretation of usually relatively underdeveloped character Tiger Lily’s backstory is awe-inspiring. Touching on subjects like insecurity, abuse and what it feels like to have the love of your life stolen away, this book is a beautiful must-read.

 

The cover of the book Jane, UnlimitedJane, Unlimited

Kristin Cashore

When Jane loses her beloved aunt, she feels like she’s lost herself as well; until a visit to a mysterious mansion offers her a number of possibilities, each one with its own consequences. Feeling directionless is a common theme for young people, especially in novels written for them, but Cashore takes it one step further by incorporating what can only be described as a type of “choose your own adventure” style into her novel. A mesmerizing read, you’ll be just as taken in by each option as Jane.

 

The cover of the book The Perks of Being a WallflowerThe Perks of Being a Wallflower

Stephen Chbosky

A short book from the late ‘90s, a lot of today’s YA readers may not have even realized this book existed until it was made into a film starring Emma Watson. A story about the quiet underdog, Perks also lives a little on the fringes, as the novel most “outsiders” picked up and related to before the film made it more available and well-known. Told through the letters of high-schooler Charlie, author Chbosky takes his readers through a world of music, new friends, and the honest struggle of trying to engage with your own life, especially when a darker secret is holding you back.

 

The cover of the book OtherworldOtherworld

Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Author Kirsten Miller and the ‘How I Met Your Mother’ actor/author Jason Segel have teamed up again, this time to write a work of sci-fi. Otherworld is the first book in their new series set in a world entirely immersed in technology that you don’t only see and hear, but can also taste, smell, and touch. But it’s not a game—it’s the future. This book is the perfect YA read for adult sci-fi lovers.

12 Chilling Reads for Hot Summer Days

The United States in the grips of a heat wave, and now is as good a time as any to stay in and read one of these great summertime horror and suspense titles.

The cover of the book JawsJaws

PETER BENCHLEY

Let’s go ahead and kick off our list with summer’s ultimate anti-beach read: Jaws. A big city cop accepts a job in a sleepy coastal town, only to arrive in time for an unprecedented string of shark attacks. The book and movie are different in a number of different ways. There’s an organized crime subplot, a little adultery, an unexpected death or two … It’s a great, pulpy read. Trust me: You won’t want to get into the water after you finish this thing.

 

The cover of the book The GirlsThe Girls

EMMA CLINE

Summer is a great time to get together with the family for a little fun — so long as that family is Charlie Manson’s. California teenager Evie Boyd joins what she thinks is a group of fun-loving hippies that turn out to be the acolytes of a charismatic criminal mastermind.

 

The cover of the book The Little StrangerThe Little Stranger

SARAH WATERS

How about a not-so-nice trip into the countryside? During the sweltering summer of 1948, a doctor is summoned for a house call at Hundreds Hall: a rambling Georgian mansion slipping into disrepair. The home’s occupants have a dark and tragic history — one hinted at by what might be a restless spirit roaming its halls.

 

The cover of the book Dark TalesDark Tales

SHIRLEY JACKSON

Summer vacation can be nice — just watch out for the locals. In Shirley Jackson’s story “The Summer People,” a couple vacationing at a lakeside cottage learns that lesson the hard way when they try to extend their stay past Labor Day. Nobody has ever lingered that long, and the locals are determined to see that it never happens.

 

The cover of the book The RuinsThe Ruins

SCOTT SMITH

A group of college kids partying away their summer in Mexico take a trip into the countryside to see some authentic Mesoamerican ruins. Their visit awakens an ancient menace — a very hungry one. Talk about a tourist trap!

 

The cover of the book ShadowlandShadowland

PETER STRAUB

Summers can be magical, but that’s not always a good thing. Two boys eager to learn magic decide to spend their summer with a relative who is a master of the art. Unbeknownst to them, he is a master of authentic black magic, and only one of them will live to see summer’s end.

 

The cover of the book Meddling KidsMeddling Kids

EDGAR CANTERO

Summer is for sleuthing, or at least it was until this group of mystery-loving teens had a run-in with real supernatural evil. Decades later, they’re still scarred by the experience, and the last thing they want to do is return to where it all started. Unfortunately, they’ve got no choice.

 

The cover of the book In the Dark of the NightIn the Dark of the Night

JOHN SAUL

It’s always nice to have a place to get away — as long as you have a way to get out. A Chicago family buying what they think is a nice summer home learns that they’re not the only occupants. Something evil lurks within its walls, and it has been waiting for them.

 

The cover of the book We Were LiarsWe Were Liars

E. LOCKHART

Who wouldn’t want their own private island: a place where you can enjoy your summer without worrying about what other people think … or whether they can see all the horrible things you’re  doing to the people who love and trust you? Shhhh!

 

The cover of the book Summer of Night Summer of Night

DAN SIMMONS

Good news: School is out, and it’s time for summer vacation. Bad news: Monsters are out there, and they want you dead. A group of school boys on the trail of a mystery learn that it leads to the doorstep of a supernatural horror in Summer of Night.

 

The cover of the book Summer, Fireworks, and My CorpseSummer, Fireworks, and My Corpse

OTSUICHI

This could be a summer to die for, if you’re not careful. Otsuichi’s “Summer” is the story of a young girl’s murder and her killers’ attempts to hide the body, as told from the perspective of the corpse. Nice and cheerful, right? Read it and two other tales of terror in this single volume.

 

The cover of the book Disappearance at Devil’s RockDisappearance at Devil’s Rock

PAUL TREMBLAY

Three boys having a summer sleepover slip out for a nighttime trip into a nearby national park. Only two of them return. Ghostly visions and frightening folklore add a hint of the supernatural to this already gripping tale of suspense.

Feed Your Soul and Mind: 8 Books on Eating for Smart People

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Cookbooks and books about food can all tend to look and feel the same, which means we all wind up with dozens we never end up using or reading. But approaching cooking literature does not have to be this way; If you’re looking for a more intellectual way in, here are some great cookbooks and reads that will surely leave you inspired, and feed both your soul and your mind.

The cover of the book The Devil in the Kitchen: Sex, Pain, Madness and the Making of a Great ChefThe Devil in the Kitchen: Sex, Pain, Madness and the Making of a Great Chef

Marco Pierre White

If I have learned nothing else from watching every season of “Top Chef” multiple times, it’s that chefs are rock stars. And if you’ve ever wondered who was the original badass of the culinary world, here is your answer. White, and his infamous temperament, pack every page of this book with a punch; in no other food book will you so closely link passion, cuisine, and insane genius. If you’re game to go back for more, grab his classic cookbook, White Heat, which features incredible recipes, photographs and stories.

 

The cover of the book Generation ChefGeneration Chef

Karen Stabiner

People always say the first year of marriage is the hardest. But most of them probably haven’t tried opening a restaurant. Now that is a hard first year. Food journalist Karen Stabiner follows up-and-coming chef Jonah Miller during the opening year of his restaurant. It’s a story full of turmoil, luck, ambition and suspense, and it will make you appreciate every successful restaurant you walk into.

 

The cover of the book The Case Against SugarThe Case Against Sugar

Gary Taubes

It can be hard to keep track of what is bad for you and why, especially foods and ingredients we’ve accepted as part of American diets for so long. Taubes’ book about the dangers of sugar is both understandable and scientific. It’s very helpful in presenting not just the scary list of “do not eats” but the history, information, and yes, misconceptions about our relationship to sugar. With a product so present in the diets of both adults and children, this is both an engaging and important read.

 

The cover of the book Coming to My SensesComing to My Senses

Alice Waters

This gorgeous memoir is the personal account of how Waters (the first woman to win the James Beard Outstanding Chef Award) became the creator of one of the most significant restaurants in America – all at the age of 27. This book has everything, from politics to bohemian culture, photography to, of course, recipes. If you aren’t familiar with Waters’ story, it’s probably time to introduce yourself: you may not realize just how much your taste buds owe her.

 

The cover of the book The Art of FlavorThe Art of Flavor

Daniel Patterson and Mandy Aftel

Besides the fact that the experience of both food and perfume often begin with your nose, what else do these two things have in common? The artistry of blending ingredients. The Art of Flavor brings together a chef (Patterson) and a perfumer (Aftel) to help home cooks understand not just how to make a great meal, but how to get the most from their flavors working together. Rather than just present you with a step-by-step recipe, Patterson and Aftel’s book is an intellectual look at why things work the way they do: allowing you, the cook, to not just create, but also tell a story with your food. Think of it like the best chemistry class you’ve ever taken – you get to eat the results.

 

The cover of the book I Hear She's a Real BitchI Hear She’s a Real Bitch

Jen Agg

Being a woman in a career that has been declared a “man’s world” is a specific type of challenge, and that shouldn’t be news to anyone, but Agg’s humorous, genuine insights into the culinary industry supply a fresh voice to the narrative. The memoir details Aggs own journey making her way through an already tough business, all the while calling-out the small insights she’s gleaned from playing in what is still, in many respects, thought of as a boy’s game.

 

The cover of the book Out of Line: A Life Playing With FireOut of Line: A Life Playing With Fire

Barbara Lynch

“Feisty” is a word that has been used to describe Chef Barbara Lynch and her memoir about growing up in South Boston. A wild child in many ways, Lynch offers a story free from any restraints: her voice comes sailing off the pages as she details personal hardships and showcases the self-determination needed to become the award-winning chef she is today. Lynch’s book is arguably less refined than some of the others you’ll find on this list, but it makes reading it an all the more authentic experience.

 

The cover of the book Feed the Resistance: Recipes + Ideas for Getting InvolvedFeed the Resistance: Recipes + Ideas for Getting Involved

Julia Turshen

Food can communicate so many things. In it lives history, emotions, and even politics. Understanding that more people than ever are looking for ways to show their activism, Turshen has created an instructive book full of recipes, resources, and ideas for how you can use food to engage with your community and express yourself.

What Is the Perfect Beach Read Anyway?

A beach read is, on the surface, a fairly easy thing to understand. It’s a book you read at the beach…right? Or perhaps it’s a book you’d like to read at the beach. Maybe it’s just a book that takes place near an ocean?

There is no definitive answer. Like beauty, a beach read is in the eye of the beholder. We asked you on Facebook and Twitter to tell us what you think the term means. We’ve got your top responses below, along with some recommendations we think you’ll love!

Books That Draw You In

“I think of a beach read as anything that deeply engrosses me—I can’t put it down. I read Gone Girl while enjoying the beach…and I am thrilled to say I did not know the big twist. I remember when I finished that part of the novel, I put it down and just stared at the ocean for several minutes because I was so stunned,” says Mary.

Gone Girl The Killing Floor Final Girls One of Us Is Lying

Books with Short Chapters

“Something with very short chapters. Nice places to stop and easily restart when distracted,” says Rebecca.

Cat's Cradle The Art of Racing in the Rain Never Let Me Go The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

Books That Make Your Heart Race

“My favorite beach reads are paperback gothic romances, the ones with the frightened young woman running away from the scary house on a cliff. I don’t know why, but I have been addicted to these books since I was a kid,” says Beverly.

Wuthering Heights Nine Coaches Waiting Rebecca House of Shadows

Books with Sunny Settings

“A plot associated with sunny weather: beach, water sports, sun, eating,” says Marren.

Barefoot Barbarian Days Along for the Ride The Food Explorer

Books That Make You Laugh

“Something easy and funny so that you can lift your eyes here and there to look at the beauty in front of you,” says Beatrix.

Good Omens The Rosie Project My Man Jeeves Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Books That Transport You

“A light-hearted book full of awesome adventure,” says Romi.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Crocodile on the Sandbank The Princess Bride Treasure Island

 

By Hayley, June 28, 2018, first appearing on Goodreads Blog

11 Books About Syria to Make Sense of the Civil War

A civil war has been raging within Syria since 2011, gradually taking on a more international scope as it has overlapped with other regional conflicts and drawn attention from global powers. Reading about it can be a wrenching experience, with numerous stories of death and displacement, along with atrocities, extremism, and the legacy of authoritarianism all present.

What follows is a look at a number of books that explore aspects of the war in Syria from a host of perspectives. Some come from people who witnessed harrowing events firsthand; others provide a more distanced look at the conflict and its implications. If you’re looking to better understand what’s happening in Syria, from the war itself to its causes to its regional and global effects, these books can help.

The cover of the book Brothers of the GunBrothers of the Gun

Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple

Marwan Hisham has plenty of firsthand experience of the conflict in Syria, beginning with his participation in protests against the regime of Bashar al-Assad and continuing through his work as a journalist. For this richly detailed account of a nation at war, Hisham’s prose is accentuated by the striking, visceral artwork of Molly Crabapple.

 

The cover of the book The Way of the StrangersThe Way of the Strangers

Graeme Wood

Graeme Wood has written extensively about the Middle East and global politics for The Atlantic, among other publications. In his book The Way of the Strangers, he focuses on a narrative that dovetails painfully with the story of the ongoing war in Syria, exploring what has caused people across the region to become associated with the Islamic State’s oppressive regime. Wood’s narrative provides insights into the region’s politics and conflicts.

 

The cover of the book No Turning BackNo Turning Back

Rania Abouzeid

Rania Abouzeid has written extensively about Syria for a host of publications over the years; in her book No Turning Back, she focuses on the human cost of the conflict. In his review of the book for the New York Times, Christopher Dickey noted that the book contained “a tremendous sense of intimacy with the victims and the violence that surrounds them.”

 

The cover of the book Syria BurningSyria Burning

Charles Glass

Few conflicts, global or regional, arise completely spontaneously, and the Syrian War is no exception. In his book Syria Burning, Charles Glass–who’s been writing about the Middle East for decades — delves into the causes of the current war and explores the implications that it might have on the region in the years to come.

 

The cover of the book The Home That Was Our CountryThe Home That Was Our Country

Alia Malek

In her book The Home That Was Our Country, Alia Malek writes about an apartment belonging to her grandmother, which she traveled to Damascus to reclaim when the Arab Spring began. She offers a portrait of the diverse communities in the city around this space, tracing the societal changes in Syria over the years and decades.

 

The cover of the book SyriaSyria

John McHugo

For readers looking at the larger canvas of Syrian history, John McHugo’s comprehensive look at Syria over the course of the last hundred years will be tremendously helpful. In exploring this history, McHugo delves into how colonialism shaped the nation, Syria’s involvement in global wars, and a series of other events leading up to its present conflict.

 

The cover of the book Death Is Hard WorkDeath Is Hard Work

Khaled Khalifa

Not all explorations of a war’s effect on a nation come through memoirs of sprawling histories. In Death Is Hard Work, Khaled Khalifa uses fiction to show how war has affected Syria, blending absurdism and tragedy along the way. In the tale of estranged siblings attempting to bury their father’s body as a war rages around them, Khalifa offers a different window on the war, but one no less memorable.

 

The cover of the book Syrian NotebooksSyrian Notebooks

Jonathan Littell

Jonathan Littell’s Syrian Notebooks provides a firsthand account of the Homs Uprising in 2012, one of the key events in Syria’s civil war. The book that resulted is one that traces the escalation of a conflict, demonstrating how it evolved from a civil conflict to something much more expansive.

 

The cover of the book The Battle for HomeThe Battle for Home

Marwa al-Sabouni

Syrian architect Marwa al-Sabouni offers a unique perspective on both the recent history of Syria and of the implications of the war taking place there. Her exploration of the architecture of Syria ventures into the numerous cultures that have thrived there, while also looking at how architecture might play a part in healing some of the wounds within Syrian society.

 

The cover of the book The Rise of Islamic StateThe Rise of Islamic State

Patrick Cockburn

Patrick Cockburn writes regularly about the Middle East for the Independent, and has written extensively about the region’s geopolitics. In The Rise of Islamic State, Cockburn explores the origins and implications of the extremist group that has played a significant role in the conflict. For readers looking to learn more about how this organization has affected Syria and its neighbors, Cockburn’s book offers a harrowing look.

 

The cover of the book Among the RuinsAmong the Ruins

Christian Sahner

Christian Sahner’s book offers a historical glimpse at Syria, written just as the nation’s civil war was beginning. Sahner offers a historian’s perspective on events, and brings in a sweeping view of the events in the nation’s past that have had a significant influence on the conflict going on there now.