Earlier this week the world celebrated “Book Lover Day”. Social media was lit up with people sharing their favourite literature works, moments and characters with each other. To be honest, it was a very nice thing to see. While a love of literature is something that will always exist, and will always have passionate people willing to speak to it, it’s the kind of conversation that you don’t hear too often these days. In the world of instant media, fewer and fewer people find the time to sit down and really enjoy a good book, much less discuss it with others. So why not take this opportunity to allow such a conversation.
While the immediate answer to my own question of “what is your favourite book” did not immediately come to me, with a little reflection the answer became obvious. While there are a great many books I’ve like, admired and enjoyed over the years, there are a few that left a long-lasting impression on me. I remember reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for the first time and being blown away by the complexity of a story I had thought I knew. I was similarly engrossed and disturbed by the brilliance of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men, a book that shows me something new each time I revisit it. While I’m not in tune with best-seller lists to stay current with new releases, I did recently read Norm MacDonald’s faux-memoir Based on a True Story and cannot remember ever having laughed so hard while reading a book. And of course, anything by the great Elmore Leonard is a sure-fire winner for me. But there is one book I’ve returned to again and again, never tiring of it, never changing my opinion of it and always just enjoying the time I spend with it. The book is George V. Higgins’ The Friends of Eddie Coyle. The book is a simple crime story told in such an expert way. Like Elmore Leonard’s greatest books, this gem explores the criminal side of law and order, bringing humanity to the crooks we rarely ever see. It’s a story of the blue-collar aspects of crime, taking away all the glamour and showing the guys who are doing it just to make a living.
I can’t really narrow down what I love about this book so much. It has a biting sense of humour despite not being a comedy, finding laughs in how everyday life works. The structure of how the story unfolds is flawless, taking you along for the ride without ever being too predictable. There’s a simplicity to it that makes it endlessly enjoyable to revisit. In fact, just talking about it makes me want to jump back into those pages.
So, now it’s your turn. Tell us about your favourite book and what it means to you? What piece of literature have you gone back to more than any other? What are you reading now?
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