I’m definitely being too presumptuous when I call myself a bookworm–the truly hardcore bookworms somehow find the time to read at least 20 books a year, even in the midst of all their busy schedules, yet I’m sadly capped at 10. Maximum. Oh the shame. But I do have a lot of passion for books in my spare time, so let me unleash my happy favorites upon you. Expecto Patronum!
The Giver is a masterpiece, but I guess it’s a bit of cliche to start off my list. It’s really a well-known book, but it was simply too amazing not to give it a mention.
Besides, I feel some people patronize it as simply being a “children’s book,” but it classifies as a form of legitimate literature, even for adults! it is absolutely beautiful in its thoroughly thoughtful and emotional simplicity, and I honestly don’t think there’s another book quite like it. It induced many bittersweet tears and heartaches for me, and I read it even in my twenties.
One Flew Over the Cuckoos’s Nest is a book that I carelessly picked up last year and walked away feeling VERY satisfied with my choice. I mean, what a hilarious read. I was constantly breaking out into peals of laughter while reading this book. But there are darker implications throughout the book that make you realize that this is much more than just fun and games. And the ending–aaarrgh.
Some have found this book to be sexist and/or racist in the dichotomy of the wholly white male patient ward (protagonists), and the wholly white female/black staff (the villains), but I personally think that the author was simply trying to overturn stereotypes for once. By suggesting that white healthy males could also suffer prejudice at the hands of others when they’re considered mentally disturbed, the author is highlighting the fact that mental patients stood at the bottom of the food chain, and I appreciate that distinction! Even in today’s society, there are still not nearly enough voices for the support of the mentally disabled.
The Chosen by Chaim Potok is truly one of the few books that touch me deeply each time I read it. I’d go so far as to even say that it is my FAVORITE BOOK EVER. The story revolves around two boys whose beliefs lie in very different perspectives of Judaism, but their friendship overcome these religious differences. The book also deeply explores the differential ways of parenting a child to become empathetic and kind, and it’s something that was a really mind-blowing aspect of the book for me. Wow.
This book is beautifully written, emotionally packed, and very engaging, warm, inspiring, and thoughtful, not to mention extremely relateable. And I DO recommend it even if you are not religious. The book does by no means attempt to convince you that you should embrace or even believe in religion. Rather, it focuses on the notion that there are different ways of living, and as long as you remain empathetic, there’s no reason why one should look to religion for morality. A VERY fair takeaway:)
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West follows the entirety of Elphaba’s life as she evolves from a skinny green schoolgirl, to a fully-blown anti-government activist, and finally into the notoriously misunderstood Wicked Witch of the West.
I have to say, I was completely sold from Chapter One, mind and soul. The writing is just so satisfyingly plush in detail and imagery that the setting and characters just explode in your mind. And what makes this book all the more rich is the total comprehensive coverage of economic, social, political, and religious issues that translate from the pages of the book into our own world. Everything about it is just relevant, while raising some extremely radical questions about cultural value and morality. That in itself was a roller coaster ride–to see characters acting on moral standards that were so different from our own was disturbing and compelling at the same time.
Now this may be one of those love-or-hate books–it’s highly nihilistic in nature, and a lot of people hate it. However, I’m inclined to suspect that such people went into this book with false expectations from having watched the Broadway musical. BAD IDEA. The musical skews the plot of the book to cater to a commercial audience, so do NOT expect a “happily ever after” from this book. But also don’t be put off! Because in my opinion, this book is one of the best fantasies I’ve read in a long, long while.
The Bartimaeus Triology is comprised of the following three titles: Amulet of Samarkand, Golem’s Eye, and Gate of Ptolemy, which revolve around a young orphan called Nathaniel, who becomes pulled into the politics of the British government. This government is dominated by a horde of magicians who use their power to repress commoners, and over the years, the imminent war between the two sides escalates. And as Nathaniel’s matures, Bartimaeus (his djinn servant) is there throughout the ride to serve as a snarky reminder to Nathaniel of his humble beginnings.
This series has long been one of my favorite joy reads since middle school. It’s not an overly serious or political sort of read for sure; in fact Bartimaeus’ flippant narration (in addition to his inappropriate comments in the footnotes) will have you clutching your stomach in peals of laughter. So highly recommended! I won’t say that it’s the most well-written series of all time, but as a middle school read, it’s SOOOOO very good. The ending especially….sighs…I can’t even. It’s amazing. The details, humor, and moral questions that this series raises are all more than enough to make it a life-long favorite of mine.
The Great Gatsby is definitely another standout in American literature, and rightfully so. It definitely is not an overrated book as some people say. Through this book, we through Nick’s eyes glean insight into the decadent glamor of the roaring 20’s and into the life of a man who desperately is pursuing his American dream, only to find that perhaps not all dreams are attainable. Oh that flashing, seductive green light. If any Harry Potter fanatic has read this book, I’m sure they will agree with me when I say that the green light in The Great Gatsby is the equivalent of the Mirror of Erised in Harry Potter. My heart shattered again and agian for Gatsby at the end, and if you’re looking for a tearjerker, you’ve definitely got it.
Thus ends my list for Part 1, but these are only just a few favorites from my vast collection of books, so keep an eye for Part 2! Toodles!