At long last, your sleepless nights spent anticipating the arrival of Surf Waco’s Top 5 Books of 2010 are at an end!
5. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
This is a very strange but very enjoyable book. Loaded with symbolism and historical metaphor, 100 Years chronicles the trials and tribulations of the Buendia family in fictional Macondo. The village of Macondo is a metaphor for Colombia, but no knowledge of Colombian history is necessary to enjoy this unique book.
4. Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway’s classic book on bullfighting is as easy to read as one of his novels. As much a reflection on life and death as on bullfighting itself, this is Hemingway at his best. I recommend reading The Sun Also Rises either right before or right after this book.
3. Das Glasperlenspiel (The Glass Bead Game) by Hermann Hesse
Also known by the title Magister Ludi, Das Glasperlenspiel is Hesse’s magnum opus. Whether you have read any other works by Hesse or not, this book is a must read. It starts a bit slow, but is well worth the effort of getting started. It is also one of Hesse’s longer books. Read it anyway.
2. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
This is the first and only Solzhenitsyn book that I have read so far, and I enjoyed it enough to buy another of his books that is 500 pages long with the daunting title of Cancer Ward. One Day is a short book that can easily be read in an evening. It follows Ivan Denisovich through a typical day as a prisoner in a Soviet forced labor camp. Read it in your cozy house and be thankful you aren’t in Siberia laying bricks.
1. The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Perhaps the greatest book of practical philosophy ever written. As Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius was the wealthiest and most powerful man in his world. This book is something like a personal journal chronicling his struggle to stay humble and true to his Stoic values. Generations of great men have praised The Meditations as a golden book of wisdom. This is a book designed to offer everyday guidance, not an esoteric philosophical system. The Enchiridion of Epictetus is a nice companion toThe Meditations (and is only around 40 pages).
Now get off the internet and go read a book!– TCN