Recommended Reads – Table of Contents

Welcome to Recommended Reads.

These are books that I hold dear to my heart.
Please click on the button right under the header page to get the up-to-date Recommended Reads list. I will continue to update it with books that I have read and enjoyed.
Chase’s All-Time Favourites

Heartbeat by Sharon Creech
This book sounds amazing! It is a verse novel and at first glance it seems like a collection of poems, but it is a novel. It tells a great story about a 12 year old girl who likes to run. It is my favourite book and if you can get a hold of the audio book, do yourself a favour and get that too.

Ender’s Series by Orson Scott Card

This book is a science fiction classic and the follow up Speaker for The Dead is equally amazing. Card has written seven books in this series and they have all been produced as stunning audio books. The audio books have sound effects, music, and full cast narration. He lists those audio books as the definition collection. He believes that they are the best way to enjoy this series, and I totally concur. They are spectacular.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

This book is part autobiography part writing manual. It is an excellent read for anyone who anyone who writes. King shares his story and advice on how to write. He examines many aspects of writing that he finds essential to the craft. I learned a lot from this book and his advice.

Story by Robert McKee

This is a must have for any writer. Read it with a pencil in your hand. Make underlines and notes. Study it, memorize it, and apply it to your works. It is the best book I have ever read on the craft of writing and I know many writers in several different genres that sing its praises. If you don’t already have a copy, you NEED to go get one.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This is a great story and a terrific read. It deals with finding your place in the world and realizing the connections we have with the world itself. This story is very touching and it tells us to follow our hearts. It is a modern classic.

Watchmen by Allan Moore and Dave Gibbons

This is a graphic novel which revolutionized the comics industry. It showed the real human side of superheroes and told a serious story that dealt with mature subject matter. It was the first graphic novel to ever win a Hugo award for fiction. It is a classic.

Chase’s Great Reads

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Set in the early 1900s, the novel focuses on a family that scrapes by the best they can. The main character is the small girl in this poor family. Since the story takes place over several years, we can see the idealistic young girl come to some harsh realities. We effectively get to see her grow up. I like how the author lets us into her life in such a personal way. It’s a moving story and moves along at a good pace.

forget about it by Caprice Crane
A twenty-five year old who doesn’t really like how her life has turned out so far, starts thinking about a do-over. And then, as if the universe heard her request, she gets into a car accident and decides to use it to fake amnesia. This way she can have a fresh start and make some changes in her life.
Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
In this story, the narrator recounts a love affair with music and his wife. It’s a really well told story and is quite compelling.
Michael Chabon’s The Escapists by Brian K, Vaughan

Max Roth loses both of his parents. He discovers that his dad was an avid collector of the merchandise of the comic book character from the 1930’s called The Escapist. Max decides to use his inheritance to buy the rights to the long forgotten character. He hires two friends to help him create new comic adventures of the Escapist.

Animal Farm by George Orwell
A classic in all aspects of the word. Farm animals rise up and take over the ownership of a farm. This story is an allegory that works on so many different levels.

The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau
This book stands alone as a great story but is also part of a four book series. In this first book, the residents of the City of Ember live in a completely dark world. They are running out of resources and are forced to live on smaller and smaller rations every day. The residents don’t really know what to do about these problems and carry on with their day-to-day lives as if nothing is amiss. However, two recent graduates realize that something is terribly wrong with their city and try to do something about it.
We All Fall Down by Eric Walters

Will is a grade nine student who isn’t too excited about spending a day with his father at work. It’s a school assignment that he would rather not do. He’s upset that his dad has a boring job on the eighty-fifth floor of the World Trade Center. His teacher tells him that tomorrow “might be an experience that changes your entire life.” Of course, no one at the time knew how much truth there was in the small statement. Tomorrow is “Take your kid to work day” and it just happens to be September 11, 2001.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin

Ged is a reckless youth who does not know that he will grow up to become the greatest wizard in all of Earthsea. In his thirst for knowledge, he accidentally sets forth a terrible evil upon the world. He learns how to control himself and his powers over the course of this and subsequent novels. This was Harry Potter before Harry Potter.

Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon

The captive animals in the Baghdad Zoo have fantasized about escaping for some time now. Most of the animals don’t seem to trust each other enough to band together and plan a break out. The head lion is well respected and tells wide tales of his life on the outside of the zoo walls. During the Iraq war, the zoo is bombed and people look to him for guidance when they do finally escape.

The Centre of the Universe: Yep, that would be ME by Anita Liberty

Description: Anita tells us the story of her years in high school in her own words. She shares with us her personal journal, poems, charts, words of advice, her witty observations, and even dictionary words as she studies for her SAT.

White Girl by Sylvia Olsen

Fourteen-year-old Josie finds herself living on a First Nations Reserve after her mother marries an aboriginal man. They move in with him and his son. Josie was used to blending in and finds it difficult to be the only white kid in school and to adjust to her new blended family. She moves from feeling like an outsider to experiencing the richness of her new life and community.

Grease Monkey by Tim Eldred
This is a great graphic novel. The story centres around a gorilla mechanic aboard the starship Fist of Earth. Humans and the gorillas work together on the starship but it is obvious that there is a little bit of distrust and fear between the two groups. What really makes this book a winner is the pacing and humour. The story draws you in right away. The characters are believable and real.
Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers created and written by Bill Willingham
Well known fairy tale characters live among us in the modern world, except we don’t know it. This graphic novel series lets us see a new side to the characters we know and love. The characters aren’t one-dimensional like they were often presented in the old stories we know. The series is very well done and worth checking out.

The Best Comic Books

I have compiled a short list of comics that are definitely worth reading. Many of these titles can be found at your public library in the Graphic Novel section. This is how I discovered many of these titles.

2 responses to “Recommended Reads – Table of Contents”

  1. HiChase ..looks an interesting read – thanks for the listing .. The Robert McCree one on Story – looks particularly good – a way to check out various grammatical things even if one doesn't actually want to use the story aspects. Thanks – Hilary

  2. Hi Hiary,

    Story is a MUST read for any author. The tips go well beyond film making. I highly recommend that one for anyone who wants to tell stories in any medium. You should definitely check it out.