Books have been with us for hundreds of years. Books have been used to record history, be it good or bad. Books also provide information, entertainment and education for many people. A book can be a medium for people to tell their own stories, either fiction or reality. Books have transported our minds to many places and times. We have met many people because of books; wizards, fairies, generals, soldiers and even mythical gods. We can’t imagine a world without books.
Nothing can compare to holding a book in your hands, the feel of each page when you turn them and the smell of the paper. There is a certain connection between you and a book, especially when you cannot put it down. A tablet or an e-book reader doesn’t evoke these feelings. When you were in school you were taught to read the classics; you may have found it boring, but they were good foundations.
Below is a list of books that you should read before you bite the dust. The list is in no particular order.
1. The Dream Of A Common Language by Adrienne Rich
This book is pivotal to the feminist movement. The poetry of Rich is a collection of three books which Cheryl Strayed brought with her during her trek, now chronicled in her book called “Wild” and the recent film adaptation. The “Power” section of the book will truly inspire every woman to achieve great things.
2. 2666 by Roberto Bolano
The book was completed in 2003 before the author’s death. “2666” is not only a masterpiece, but one of the finest and most important novels of the 21st century. The novel is filled with horror, neglect, depravity, beauty and brilliance, it is an entire world unto itself. The scope ofthe novel is epic, epitomizing the “total novel”. The book fuses different genres and styles, creating a singular and unforgetable work of the present day fiction.
3. The Godfather by Mario Puzo
The film of the same name is one of the best ever produced. In 1969 when “The Godfather” was first published, many critics hailed it as one of the greatest novels of the 21st century. It has since been woven into America’s national culture. It showed us how the Sicilian mafia works, how they deal with things and do business. From Don Vito Corleone to Micheal Corleone, who took his father’s place to fight for his family, the novel is an epic story of family, loyalty and how men of honor live by their word and die by their own laws. Truly a classic.
4. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
If you like big guns, then this book is for you. Every page of this dramatic novel about Theo Decker’s troubled life after surviving an accident that tore his family apart is total brilliance.
5. The Bonfire of The Vanities by Tom Wolfe
A book about social class, greed, racism and politics in New York City in the 80s. The book presents the foundations that led the United States economic collapse during the following 20 years.
6. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Critics considered this book as one of the best non-fiction novels ever published. This 1966 book detailed the brutal murders of a farmer, his wife and two children in rural Kansa in 1959. Capote takes readers into the minds of those who committed the murders and describes the effects of their heinous crimes in the local community.
7. Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan
This Carl Sagan book explains science in layman’s terms. It’s the best introduction to Sagan himself because it details the scientific method and defends skeptical thinking. This is a great step in moving out of the psychobabble most people read.
8. Cosmos by Carl Sagan
Another brilliant book by Pulitzer Prize winner and scientist Carl Sagan. The book contains 13 illustrated chapters that correspond to the 13 TV episodes. Sagan presents 15 billion years of cosmic evolution and the development of civilization and science. The book also covers a broad range of topics that reflect Carl Sagan’s view on anthropology, history, biology and astronomy, from antiquity to contemporary times. Sagan also reiterates his position on extraterrestrial life – that the magnitude and vastness of the universe permits the existence of thousands of civilizations, but no solid evidence exists to demonstrate that such life has ever visited our planet.
9. A Brief History Of Time by Stephen Hawking
A landmark science masterpiece by one of the greatest scientific minds of our time. It’s a readable book given its universal themes; from the big bang theory to what happens when the universe ends. The reader will be forever altered after reading about how true universal creation works and what the concept of time really means.
10. Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
A book that makes every reader struggle to comprehend the concepts of metaphysics presented. The story is about a 17-day motorcycle journey interspersed with wide ranging philosophical discussions that makes every reader wonder what really defines a conscious reality.
11. The Art Of War by Sun Tzu
This is an ancient Chinese military treatise attributed to the high ranking General, tactician and strategist Sun Tzu. The book is composed of 13 chapters, each devoted to one aspect of warfare. The Art Of War was translated into English and is studied by many military and business schools around the world.
12. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
This book has become a classic in its own right because it parodies almost every well-known sci-fi plot device in existence. A hapless hero with a good deal of luck, ill-tempered aliens that are hell-bent on destroying Earth and the important advice, “don’t panic”. Everything is there! Even non sci-fi readers will be engrossed by this hilarious and entertaining book.
13. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
If you thought the movie was great, the book is way better. This is the book that introduced us to Middle Earth, The Shire, Erebor, Gandalf, Bilbo, Thorin and the dragon Smaug. It was originally created as a children’s book in 1937 but it became a wonderful tale that was embraced by people of many ages. A book that contains all the aspects of a great adventure and a prologue to another great Tolkien novel, “The Lord Of The Rings”.
14. The Lord Of The Rings By J.R.R. Tolkien
The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King will forever be loved by many people of all ages. It continues to narrate the fate of Bilbo Baggins and the One Ring that was entrusted to Frodo to be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom. The three books further introduced us to Middle Earth folklore with its own history, races and languages.
15. Lord Of The Flies by William Golding
This story is about a group of British boys whose plane crashes on an island. The boys face many obstacles are they attempt to govern themselves. This is a chilling novel and its controversial ideas earned it a position on the American Library Association’s list of the most frequently challenged books during the 90s.
16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The futuristic themes in this book are still relevant today even though the book was published in 1937. Aldous Huxley sought to give a frightening view of the future. He succeeded in doing it with stunning clarity.
17. Animal Farm by George Orwell
This is a novel with a very heavy message. Published in 1945, Orwell’s allegorical tale about a group of pigs who took control of a farm and attempted to build a new society still creates a chilling comparison to many present day political struggles around the world. It also shows that all politicians are pigs.
What are you waiting for? Go to your nearest bookstore or library and read these wonderful books!