To the Lighthouse is available free online here.
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
The closest I have ever come to a religious conversion experience as a reader. Really. With the possible exception of Shakespeare, Woolf is the only writer I know who can so completely immerse a reader in a character’s mind, and do so with such brilliant and devastating humor. I could have listed a half-dozen Woolf novels, but this was the first that blew my mind.
Blindness by José Saramago
This novel about a city beset by a plague of white blindness is one of the most terrifying and heartbreaking I’ve ever read. Not even the lame sequel Saramago published this year (it’s called Seeing, and I’d recommend staying far away from it) mitigates my love for this book. Plus, it contains two of my all-time favorite characters, one of them human.
Journey of the Pink Dolphins by Sy Montgomery
Other writers surveying the natural world may do so with more scientific rigor. But I don’t know who else conveys a love for nature with as much passion and humor as Montgomery does in this voyage to the Amazon in search of the magical, titular creatures.
José Saramago won the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature; click here to read his Nobel lecture.
To read an excerpt from Journey of the Pink Dolphins, click here.
Click here to read Adam Langer's biography.