Losing yourself in a great book, is one of the most endearing and satisfying joys. Every book has a different style, different attitude, different perspective but every book teaches and leaves you with a different feeling. It is hard to choose a favorite but let’s talk about 5 books that you must read.
- To Kill A Mocking Bird, by Harper Lee- A novel before its time, Harper Lee’s Pulitzer-prize winner addresses issues of race, inequality and segregation with both levity and compassion. While To Kill a Mockingbird could be a favorite book of just about everyone who has read it, it is important to recollect that it continues to be subversive and challenging to the establishment. The story revolves around the cute, lovable kids, Scout and Jem, and undoubtedly one of the most loved character in literature, Atticus Finch. Most of the characters within the book are marginalized by the facility structure of their town — a structure that also exists nearly everywhere — where wealthy white men control the lives of everyone else, and even the members of that group who want to use their status for something honorable, cannot win against the flattening wave of power.
2. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak– Set in Germany during 1939, The Book Thief follows a young girl, Liesel, growing up in Germany amidst World War II. Liesel is living with foster parents, Hans and Rosa. Throughout the story, Liesel steals many books. At first, she doesn’t even know how to read, but she knows that the book is important. Hans notices and teaches her how to make sense of the letters, as she rescues books from the tyranny of Nazi rule. Meanwhile, her family has hidden a Jewish fighter in their basement and death looks down on the family, narrating our tale. Experience bravery that is rarely found in the world, and friendship that is formed in the most unlikely of situations.
3. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger- It only takes one sentence, written in the first person, for Salinger’s Holden Caulfield to announce himself in all his teenage nihilism, sneering at you for wanting to know his biographical details “and all that David Copperfield kind of crap”. The Catcher in the Rye is the quintessential novel of the adolescent experience, captured in deathless prose.
4. The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy-Roy won the 1997 Booker Prize with her debut novel, a powerful inter-generational tale of love that crosses caste lines in southern India, and the appalling consequences for those who break the taboos dictating “who should be loved, and how. And how much.” Sex, death, religion, the ambivalent pull of motherhood: it’s all there in this beautiful and haunting book.
5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood– Atwood’s classic dystopian novel of a terrifying (and terrifyingly plausible) future America has rewarded rereading like no other book; I’ve probably read it 30 times by now. the globe of the narrator, Offred (from “Of Fred” — women not have their names), is chilling, but she could be a magnificent survivor and chronicler, and also the details of everything from a mundane way of life to ritualized sex and violence to her reminiscences of the time before (our contemporary reality, as seen within the ’80s) are realistic. The novel is as relevant today as ever; feminist backlashes still wax and wane, but women’s rights remain within the spotlight. And despite its scenarios of great despair, The Handmaid’s Tale is ultimately a hopeful book — Offred, and others, simply can’t be human without the chance of hope, and therein lies the strength of the resistance. All of Atwood is worth reading, but this book best exemplifies the cultural and psychological impact that a piece of fiction can create.