What We Read: A Web Producer's Best Books

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You are what you read. In that spirit, AOL Jobs will feature books recommended by our staff and contributors each day for the next week or so. As the year winds down, consider one of these reads to savor in your down time or give to a reader in your life.

Books have always been an important part of my life; removing them would take away parts of my identity. My first book was some volume of The Berenstain Bears. I distinctly remember the joy of struggling through it because I knew a whole new universe would open up to me once I would get the hang of it. I wasn't wrong.

The following are three books I consider enlightening, humorous and great gifts.

Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology
By Caroline Paul

This story is about more than just a lost cat. After surviving a small plane crash, Caroline Paul has to wait out her recovery at home with just painkillers and her two cats, Tibia and Fibula, to accompany her. When the first cat, long a shy homebody, begins disappearing for long stretches of time that seem to infuse new life into the feline, Paul and her partner want to know why. They strap the kitty with all manners of tracking technology and embark on a digital adventure that tells them as much about themselves as their spirited pet. It is a quick read and is beautifully illustrated.

Candide
By Voltaire

This best-known work of Voltaire is a satire that guts the accepted philosophies of his time – such as that all things happen for good reason and that we live in the best of all possible worlds – with thought-provoking hilarity. It is still very much a relevant read because it takes on questions that human beings are still asking today. Chock full of distressing scenarios of human atrocities cast in a comical light, it's dark but wholly rewarding. I remember taking on the world with a noticeably altered perspective – a more critical, yet appreciative one – after reading this as a teenager.

Fifty Shades of Chicken
By F.L. Fowler

I firmly believe that all meat eaters should know how to cook some good chicken. I also believe it should only be a torturous process if you want it to be. For those times when you have a burning desire to make a delectable dinner, Fifty Shades of Chicken offers step-by-step guidance. It is deliciously saucy, with passages that would be very NSFW if they were about anything other than chicken. It's probably the most practical gag gift in existence.

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