Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Seven books you should have already read

I'm a keen reader. Like a lot of people, I tend to read mostly in summer on my time off, because during the year I'm just too busy, particularly as I tend to be studying most of the time. I love to lie in the garden in the hot weather with a good book.

I have read a lot of books. Going into charity shops, there's usually a few I can pick out that I've read. However, there are some that, for some reason or another, have left a last impression on me. I'd like to share them with you. I've narrowed it down to seven.

1. The Bear Nobody Wanted - Janet and Allan Alhberg

I know what you're thinking. A kid's book? This was my favourite book growing up, and still remains one of my favourites now. It's a proper story, and has elements of real sadness. I still remember precise details from the story and it had a lasting impression on me. If you have a child over the age of 7, or even if you want an easy read, this is definitely a good choice. Find it.

2. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

You may have seen the film, but the book for this is wonderful. It is the story of a young girl who leaves home to become a Geisha. It is informative and interesting and each word seems to count. You will find a theme to this list is that each novel has elements of sadness, but this story shows a female inner strength too. Find it.


3. After You'd Gone - Maggie O'Farrell

Continuing the theme of sad novels, this one is exhaustingly sad. It's about a woman whose husband dies suddenly, and is written in a fragmented way. I remember reading it while we had workmen in to extend the kitchen, and every time they saw me I had tears down my face. If you do read it, have tissues at the ready. Find it.

Maggie O'Farrell

4. The Beach - Alex Garland

This may be my favourite book of all time. Don't judge it on the film, because it's completely different. The thing I like about this book is the insight into his mind and all the funny little things the narrator divulges. At one point it goes into detail about a game he is playing to keep himself occupied whilst walking a long way, which is the kind of thing I do. I've never known a book to capture that internal dialogue before. It also makes me want to travel as the scenery described is wonderful. Heads up, I tried reading his other books, not so great. Find it.

Alex Garland

5. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

I read this at A level, and I liked it. I read it again after A level, and I loved it! Every word is thought through and the characters are unusual but intriguing. The narrator is both repelled and fascinated by the world he finds himself in and this is captured by Fitzgerald and makes this more than just a descriptive novel. It's also takes a look at American society, prohibition, substance abuse, relationships and the way we are all being watched. I strongly recommend it. Find it.

F Scott Fitzgerald

6. Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen

Really I could put any Jane Austen novel in here, but Pride and Prejudice seems to sum up all her ideas but also provides some debate. She has a strong female lead who turns down an offer of marriage from her cousin because she doesn't love him, but then seems to warm to Darcy mostly because of his amazing house and his ability to look after her. It is the classic rom-com plot, girl and boy meet, hate each other, boy falls in love and then wins girl over through a grand romantic statement. Maybe that's why we've loved it for so long. Find it.

Jane Austen

7. A Clockwork Orange - Stanley Kubrick

This novel stands out as a true original. It's all written in the first person, and in an unusual style. The narrator uses a language of his own and the book almost requires some translation at first, until you become used to the way he speaks. The narrator is eloquent and educated, and yet performs horrific acts of torture. The book looks at conditioning and its effect on people, and whether behaviour can be changed. The film is also very good and true to the novel. Find it.

Stanley Kubrick

There are a tonne of other books I could recommend, particularly modern classics, but I think these should be enough to get you going. Leave a comment if you have any recommendations for me. I'd love to hear your views or about your favourite book. Ok, now get reading people. There will be a test.

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