I absolutely adore reading; there is nothing better than curling up under a blanket with a hot cup of coco whilst it’s raining outside and reading a new book that has you begging for more. So, I thought I would share my top 10 books to read before the end.
Now, you may think that certain choices aren’t to your taste, but just give the first chapter a read before you make any decisions. Always have the old saying in the back of your head; don’t judge a book by its cover! You would be surprised how one little book can change your life completely; either for better or worse. Many a time a great book has changed my outlook on life or made me adjust my behaviour.
As I study English at university I have an extensive collection of novels, and I’ve chosen books that aren’t very obvious. For example, on almost everyone’s top books list, Jane Eyre appears somewhere. And they are right to do so; it is an excellent book. But I wanted to create a list that isn’t so cliché.
So, without further adieu, let’s begin!
1) Anything written by J. R. R. Tolkien
Now, this is probably a little biased of me, and anyone who knows me is probably rolling their eyes at this. But believe me when I say they are my favourite books for a reason. Did you know, The Lord of the Rings is the worlds top sold series?! That’s pretty impressive. Tolkien tends to give you some wise words and lessons within his texts alongside the classic adventure theme most people crave for their own lifsie as well as in their novels. I would recommend starting off with The Hobbit, then moving onto The Lord of the Rings, The Children of Hurin, then The Silmarillion, but be patient with it! And then top it off with Unfinished Tales. There are other snippets of writing and short stories, so be sure to check them out if you become as Tolkien mad as myself. The thing I love most about a continuous series is recognising a character from another book, and it happens a lot within Tolkien! I honestly think the characters just walk from book to book when I’m not looking!
2) The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
This really is a novel which makes you think about your own choices and behaviour in life. I assume many people around the globe would love to by youthfully immortal, but this novel will make you see things differently! When it was first published, it really was a book that kept people guessing to the end. Nowadays, people from around the globe are aware of its disastrous ending and its wider message. But, I won’t spoil any more for you. Go give it a read!
3) Esther Waters by George Moore
Not going to lie, this is a tear jerker. This bildungsroman novel truly makes you feel like you are in the shoes of the titular character Esther herself, and that you are experiencing her hardships first hand. It is an extremely emotional novel that deals with many issues surrounding rape in the 1800’s. Make sure you have a few tissues to hand and an unbiased friend or partner that will put up with your rants, because believe me, you will have a lot to say!
4) A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
A fairly recent novel which centres around two protagonists; the girl who wrote a diary and the woman who found it. The former is a Japanese high school girl called Nao, and the latter is Ruth, a woman who lives on the east cost of Canada with her husband. Ruth discovers the diary in a Hello Kitty lunchbox that washes up on the beach she frequently visits and she becomes obsessed with finding out who this Nao really is. I absolutely adored this book and always had to read just one more page before putting it down for the night. If you are like me and love this novel, I recommend reading some of Ozeki’s other works.
5) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
A dystopian book written by a feminist for the feminist movement. This book portrays a westerns civilisation on the cusp of social destruction, where women are now property of men and have specific roles in life. Each of these roles are represented by a colour; blue, red and green. Blue is worn by the Commander’s wives (men of high status), red is representative of the breeders (women whose role in society is to mate with the Commanders and supply them with children), and green is worn by the Marthas, a collection of women whose job it is to ensure the cooking and cleaning has been done. This novel will have you gripping the cover at every turn of the page. But believe me when I say, it is not for the faint of heart! There will be a lot of tears to shed.
6) Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
A little bit of a classic here, but isn’t necessarily everyone’s first choice. When I read this book for the first time, I couldn’t really understand how it was considered one of the greatest romance novels of all time. But, I compared it to my relationship with Paul; would I act like Heathcliff if Paul decided to leave me? Probably. It is very angsty, full of drama, and caused a tear of two to shed. If you are looking for a tragic romance to relate to, this is your book!
7) Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Onto another dystopian novel now. Have you ever wondered what it would be like if African American and Caucasian racial history was switched? Malorie Blackman certainly has put a lot of thought into it! This contemporary Romeo and Juliet style novel does push the boundaries on racial prejudice. If you are after a controversial love story with plenty of drama and plot twists, this is your book!
8) Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Another classic here that a lot of people have yet to read. As you probably know, the story is told from the point of the protagonist; a horse named Black Beauty. BB goes through a lot of hardships in his life and, like many novels published in the 1800’s, it centres around the theme of animal cruelty in order to change certain laws that were in place. Literature published during the 1800’s was a major reason for the change in animal cruelty laws, and the RSPCA was actually formed in the UK during this century. (A little history lesson for you!) If you adore animals, drama and a bit of tears, this is your new favourite book.
9) Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Like the idea of fairy tales, but think they are too childish? If so, these are the tales for you, my friend! All the loveable style and form of a classic tale, but the very gory originals. I must stress, these are not tales to tell your children before they go to bed. These are fairy tales for adults who like to spice up their life with a little horror, action and thrills! You will never look at Disney the same way again…
10) Dr Faustus by Christopher Marlow
Moving away from novels and into plays. Christopher Marlow is the predecessor to Shakespeare and wrote some fantastic plays. In this particular work, Dr Faustus falls prey to his own hubris as he tries to summon a devil to do his bidding. Well, I’m sure you can imagine how it ends already!
Well, that’s my top 10. I hope I have inspired some to take a chance on any of these great stories, and have changed some lives in the process.
Thanks for visiting!