For all the non-book readers who would rather see a movie, listen to music, party at the disc or shop at the mall to cut their boredom, and who think book reading is synonymous with a task, here is a list of 10 books which would change your way of viewing a bookstore completely. It will make you to take up book reading as a way to get into another world of your own. But the confusion arise as to which book should be the first one to grab a spot on your shelf. Here’s a helping guide for all those non-book readers out there:
Top 10 Books To Start Your Book Reading Experience:
10. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Hosseini Projects Afghanistan through a love story, but what makes this novel different is the fact that it is love story between a mother and daughter and how their lives changes with the ever changing political scenario of the country. Spanned over a period of 50 years. Ethnical differences, misogyny, wars, political turmoil, death, suppression, love and hope comprises the major themes of this 2007 novel. It presents the readers a complete different image of the Afghan women and leaves them shaken.
9. Ask the Passengers by A.S.King
There are times when you want to talk your heart out, but do you always find the right person to confide to? The answer lies in negative for most of us. A.S.King comes up with Ask the Passenger, the story of Astrid Jones, who wants to confide to someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tells her that they are the last people she can trust. So who does she turn up to- The passengers of airplanes that she watches while lying on her backyard picnic table, for she knows that they are the only people who wouldn’t judge her when she reveals her deepest personal desires to them- as personal as her falling in love with a girl. Surprise comes in for Astrid when she realises that her tiniest connection with these people will affect both them and her. Themes of societal struggle, seeking true love and confinement revolves around this ‘Los Angeles Times Book Prize winning’ novel.
8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Narrated by Death, and set in January 1939, at a period when death has never been more busier and common, The Book Thief is about the book stealing experience of 10 year old Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside the second world war, whose irresistible passion for books makes her steal them, and with the help of her foster father, learns to share them with her neighbours during bombing raids. The story takes an upturn when a Jewish man hides in her home during this period. The novel which has been a New York Times bestseller for seven years is ready for its screen adaptation soon. The novel has also been adapted into a film in 2013, directed by Brian Percival and starring Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Ben Schentzar and Sophie Nelisse in major roles. It won the CommonWealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book in 2006. Courage, suffering, war, criminality, mortality,poverty and identity, all culminates into one in this 2005 epilogue novel.
7. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
One of the most all time controversial young adult novel of all time, it is the most censored book in the United States during 1961-1982. The Catcher in the Rye, with themes of alienation, phoniness of the adult world, painfulness of growing up and teenage angst, is set around 1950s and is narrated by Holden Caulfield. He narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen year old life, just after he has been expelled from prep school for failing in all the subjects but English. It has been an instant hit among teenagers because of its brash and anti-establishment attitude and was listed in New York Times best seller list for thirty weeks and has sold 65 million copies so far. The central character, Caulfield has become an icon for teenager for its portrayal of rebellious and angst persona, who is naïve and at the same time resentful of the adult world. Major themes of the nove l includes innocence, isolation, sexuality, deceitfulness, youthfulness and above all madness.
6. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
A coming of age 2010 novel based on the real life experiences author Ned Vizzini, tells the story of fifteen year old Craig Gilner, a freshman at Executive Pre-Professional High School, a high prestigious school in Manhattan. Craig meets a diverse group of patients, some adults and some teens like himself, after landing in a Brooklyn hospital due to his severe depression and decision to end his life. The story culminates as he is finally able to answer and confront his anxiety, and develops a romantic relationship with Noelle. The novel put forward the message as to how life can be enjoyed by simply living it. It reflects on the fact that how much of our lives have become dependent on peer-pressure and how it transforms us into something which we probably don’t want to be turned into because at the end of the day we have to be who we are. It is an edgy tale of how pathos gets mixed up with humour.
5. Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Centred around Valerie Leftman, the novel chronicles her journey as she completes her senior year in school, which is probably the most difficult task for her due to prior events in her life. Five months ago, her boyfriend, Nick, went on shooting spree in the school cafeteria. Although Valerie saved the life of her class mate and instead herself got shot, she got drowned into the incident because of the fact that she helped her boyfriend create a list- a list of people she hated, a list which Nick used to pick his targets from. Now she is forced to confront the guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. It deals with themes of bullying, family tension, suicide and how our small actions may have a deeper impact on the lives of other people, with some serious damaging and unforgiving consequences. First published in 2009, it won several awards including American Library Association 2010 Best Books for Young Adults.
4. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
Published in 1976, it is the debut novel of Judith Guest and is set in Lake Forest, Illinois in the 1970s. The novel revolves around the Jarrett family’s trial and tribulations to cope with the aftermaths of two traumatic events. It make us the question the quintessential ‘Perfect American Family’ who gives us the impression of a perfect life that everyone longs for- but do something like this really exist? The backdrop the story is served by the death of Buck Jarrett, the elder son of Calvin and Beth Jarrett in a boating accident last summer. Conrad Jarrett, the younger son of the Jarrett’s now finds himself in a mental hospital after a suicide attempt, since he considers himself as the reason for his brother’s death. The novel explores the struggle of Conrad as he tries to get back normal daily life. It shows how all ordinary people are extraordinary in their life and how extraordinary people arises from ordinary people.
3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Kathryn Stockett in her debut novel puts together a heart touching tale of coloured maids in the United States in the period of civil rights movement. The timeline of the plot flows between August 1962 to late 1964. The story is narrated by three women. It tells the story of the hardships of black maids in Jackson, Mississippi and of a 22 year old graduate Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan who wants to write a book which would bring forward the voice of the help. Aibleen, a black maid in her late 40s, serves as the central figure, who is the first person who agrees to let Skeeter write about her story. Themes which play in the novel ar of class, society, race and love. Interestingly, Stockett was rejected 60 times by different literary agents before being finally getting represented by agent Susan Ramer. The novel was adapted into a film in 2011, which was turn directed by Stockett’s childhood friend Tate Taylor. It garnered both commercial and critical success with 4 Oscar nomination and one win.
2. The Hours by Michael Cunningham
In this 2002 novel, Michael Cunningham, portrays he life of three different women in different eras- Virginia Woolf in 1923 as she write her novel ‘Mrs. Dalloway’ while struggling with people who treat her as someone who is suffering from mental illness, Laura Brown in 1949, a troubled housewife suffering an identity crisis and Clarissa Vaughan in 2001, her life in one day as she prepares for a party for her friend. Major themes which flow throughout the novel are of mortality, death, societal roles, sexuality fluidity and permanence of life among others. The three women are brought together by a single novel in this strory -‘Mrs. Dalloway’- Virginia Woolf Writing the novel, Laura Brown Reading it, and Clarissa Vaughan being referred to as ‘Mrs. Dalloway’ by her friend.
1.The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
In 1999, Stephen Chbosky presented youth with this coming-of-age epistolary novel, which became a cult and favourite immediately and has also been adapted into a movie in 2012. The Novel is set in the 1990s and focuses on Charlie as he writes letters to an unnamed friend about his struggles and life as a freshman in his high school. Peer-pressure, bullying, accepting oneself, family and friends is what this novel all about. It leaves you always feeling fresh because it takes back to your own struggles with life and makes you visit your sweetest corner of the past.
Written by: Pranay Das