When I was in high school, I was constantly bombarded with wonderful literature in my English classes: To Kill a Mockingbird as a freshman, The Martian Chronicles as a sophomore, The Great Gatsby as a junior, Tess of the D'Urberville's and One Hundred Years of Solitude as a senior. It seemed like in every direction I turned, I was faced with another stunning work of fiction.

The tradition continued in college where I read The Lovely Bones, Possession (work of art), and Cat's Cradle. As a history major, I didn't get to read as much fiction as I would have liked, but it always remained a peaceful outlet for me when my history texts became too taxing.

Since I graduated from college a year ago however, my well of good fiction has seemed to run dry. I don't know if it's me or if it's the books, but I can't seem to find any fiction that just pulls me in and shakes me. I've read a few novels that I really admire, like Lolita and The Old Man and the Sea, but I have yet to recreate that euphoric feeling I got when I finished Mockingbird and Gatsby. This was the kind of feeling that made me want to run through the streets and pass out copies of these books to perfect strangers. It's the kind of feeling that made me want to shake their shoulders and yell: "You've got to read this!"

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that there is a dearth of good fiction in the world---because there is plenty. I'm only saying that it's been a really long time since I've read a novel that has held me from cover to cover and has left me feeling breathless. I need to read a book that makes me feel, that makes me think, and that is written like a masterful tapestry.

Luckily, the rains have come again and the drought has ceased!


The Things They Carried. Written by Tim O'Brien.