The best books for buddies in a bind

Joe Jeney Author Of Ancient: Human Gods Book 2
By Joe Jeney

Who am I?

I write about buddies in a bind having been in a few binds with my buddies over the years. (They’re the best kinds of binds to face, ones faced with your buddies.) I remind myself that every problem has a solution and that solutions to problems we never had before the solution arrived should be avoided. Books I recommend are well imagined and well narrated but are not necessarily well-researched or written by highly qualified writers. Each book I recommend deals with people who face adversity together—it is a theme that I probe in both my reading and my writing. 


I wrote...

Ancient: Human Gods Book 2

By Joe Jeney,

Book cover of Ancient: Human Gods Book 2

What is my book about?

One boy, Anchie Rantree, carries a rare genetic code that has the potential to rejuvenate the stagnant human gene pool, and pull it back from the brink of viral suffocation. But he does not care to save the human race, or himself, not until he meets the deeply flawed, famously successful, and painfully beautiful literary celebrity, Krisiana, who has herself succumbed to deathly viral infection.

Together with his friends Mickey and Chadder, the homesick teens travel to the other side of the world where everything is strange, and nothing is known, except for their friendship, which itself undergoes challenges they could not have expected.

The books I picked & why

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The Body

By Stephen King,

Book cover of The Body

Why this book?

Often when I read a book, I don’t see up front what other people see. There’s plenty of intrigue in The Body. There’s also plenty by way of an examination into the boys’ coming of age. But what I really saw was a bunch of kids hanging in a small town like how I remember my childhood. The Body is no different from many of Stephen King’s works, a clear, lucid window into the strangest of things. But it has a warmth and texture for something lost in time that comes from, I think, how the writer remembered parts of his own childhood. 

The Body

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Body as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Outsiders

By S.E. Hinton,

Book cover of The Outsiders

Why this book?

Confession, I saw the movie first. But I do recall the impact that reading the novel in the mid-eighties (yes, last century) had on me. The simplicity of the language gripped me mostly in how it evoked so much sentiment that resonated with me. That an eighteen-year-old author wrote the novel years before in the sixties blew me away also. I can’t recommend the novel based on the storyline alone (which I forget.)  But I can tell you that in searching for a copy at my library, I had to put a hold on a copy, and I wasn’t at the head of the queue, if you know what I mean. Given that the book was published over fifty years ago, that’s a recommendation in itself. 

The Outsiders

By S.E. Hinton,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Outsiders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

50 years of an iconic classic! This international bestseller and inspiration for a beloved movie is a heroic story of friendship and belonging.

Cover may vary.

No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he's got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers, Darry and Sodapop. And he knows that he can count on his friends-true friends who would do anything for him, like Johnny and Two-Bit. But not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids whose idea of a good time is…

The Lord of the Rings

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Book cover of The Lord of the Rings

Why this book?

Not a fantasy fan as such, and having read the three volumes as a single paperback tome, I’m pleased I got through it. My private struggle aside, what remains with me of the story is how people from all walks of life, some people naive, some experienced with the bad in life, came together and cohesively tackled the end of the world, no less, even with different personal aims and ambitions. What I found truly worthy about LOR as a work of literature, though, was how easy it was to embed oneself, me the reader, into the author’s style of narrative. Lord of the Rings is a wonderful winter yarn beside the heater—perhaps lasting for two or three winters.

The Lord of the Rings

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Why should I read it?

40 authors picked The Lord of the Rings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of…

On the Road

By Jack Kerouac,

Book cover of On the Road

Why this book?

On the Road is the adult version (mature readers only) of the all the above. However, for me, the book squarely fits my personal category of works where I miss what other people see (what unnerved and even disgusted other people) to instead see what resonated with me, and which has since stuck. And that is the poetry of the work. I genuinely believe Kerouac was a poet in a long since era of prose. So he did what he could, and his inspiration came of a poetical heart. Chiefly, I see the work as one in which working and lower middle-class people take their shot at life’s beatitude, and On the Road is their record of this.

On the Road

By Jack Kerouac,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked On the Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The legendary novel of freedom and the search for authenticity that defined a generation, now in a striking new Pengiun Classics Deluxe Edition

Inspired by Jack Kerouac's adventures with Neal Cassady, On the Road tells the story of two friends whose cross-country road trips are a quest for meaning and true experience. Written with a mixture of sad-eyed naivete and wild ambition and imbued with Kerouac's love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz, On the Road is the quintessential American vision of freedom and hope, a book that changed American literature and changed…


On the Beach

By Nevil Shute,

Book cover of On the Beach

Why this book?

Nevil Shute was one of the last of the colonial writers, which can grate on the reader in this day of post colonialism. But I won’t let my prejudices get in the way of a good read. I’m big and bad enough to make my own reading choices. On the Beach is a great end of the world story. On the Beach depicts people within their own communities dealing with global events. And it is absolutely superlative in the way people (for the most part) retain their humanity in the toughest of times, which makes the story such a counterpoint to hyped up action thrillers. I’ve never seen the film(s). But I can say the book is textured and fantastic.

On the Beach

By Nevil Shute,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked On the Beach as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pearson English Readers bring language learning to life through the joy of reading.



Well-written stories entertain us, make us think, and keep our interest page after page. Pearson English Readers offer teenage and adult learners a huge range of titles, all featuring carefully graded language to make them accessible to learners of all abilities.



Through the imagination of some of the world's greatest authors, the English language comes to life in pages of our Readers. Students have the pleasure and satisfaction of reading these stories in English, and at the same time develop a broader vocabulary, greater comprehension and reading…

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