Books, I love ’em! I won’t lie, I’m not a massive book worm. I’m that kind of reader who gets through a book within a couple of weeks maximum, but then goes a couple of months without picking up another book. That comes down to time and motivation really. Also, thanks to studying English Literature for a bit it did mean I was pretty much always reading a book, even if I didn’t choose it out myself, and I even grew to love some. So here are a list of my favourite books that I think everyone needs to read at least once.
1) The Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling
I had to put these as a series because you simply can’t read one of the books without reading the others, and if I were to put them all separately then this list would be massive! But in all seriousness if you haven’t read these books,
where have you been? you really do need to give them a go! I started reading these books with I was a child, and at that time it was simply the magic that drew me in, but now I’ve grown up it’s the human relationships between the character that has kept me interested. While they were predominantly supposed to be children’s books, I do believe that there is actually something in there for all ages (actually these books were a great bonding point for me and my nan). Even if you’ve watched the films and think you know everything, read the books. There’s some great scenes in them that never made it to the screen. Like the “have a biscuit, potter” scene from Order of the Phoenix.
2) The Last Song – Nicholas Sparks
I first read this book when I was 12, and I think it was the first book that I read that reduced me to a blubbering mess. Probably because some of the subjects touched hit to close to home, even more now over this past year than back then. But it really is a beautiful book. While most commonly seen is a love story first and foremost, there are also relationships between in the main character and her little brother, and estranged (by her doing) father that are given equal depth and was what actually brought me into the book. Totally worth the read, but please, make sure you have tissues… you simply don’t know when it’s going to hit you!
3) Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
Okay, so this is technically a play and not a book. But it’s still a literary classic and one of my favourites. You may even have it as a set text at school at one point. That was how I was introduced to the play, it was the main text for my GCSE English Literature coursework. At the time I was a 15/16 year old who had never touched a Shakespeare play in my life, because of that age old excuse that I wouldn’t be able to understand the old English that Shakespeare wrote in. Okay at the beginning it was true… but the more and more you read it, the more and more you find yourself understanding it. It is like any other language though, if you’re not exposed to it frequently, you will find yourself understanding it less. But this play was what made me actually enjoy Shakespeare and therefore get an A in my GCSE coursework, and a B in my A-level coursework. A beautiful love story, and a beautiful tragedy at the same time. Watch the film adaptation after reading it if you like Leonardo Dicaprio to treat yourself!
4) Looking for Alaska – John Green
The first of three John Green books that will be mentioned in this post. This was the second book of his that I read, but it’s my number one favourite! I just totally fell in love with Alaska as a character, and the bromance between Pudge and the Colonel also kept my hooked! I think I read this book with in a day because I just couldn’t put it down (the *insert number of days* before marking the start of each chapter doesn’t help). Make sure you have tissues though! Like The Last Song Song you probably won’t know when it’s going to hit you!
5) Confessions of a Sociopath – M.E. Thomas
A work of non-fiction for those of you who enjoy a bit of psychology (whether you study it or not) from time to time. M.E. Thomas, a pen name she uses to disguise her identity so people who know her can not judge her from what she wrote in this book or on her blog, is not a psychologist but is actually a sociopath herself. Reading up on theories of published psychologists on sociopaths, Thomas then compares these theories to her personal experience as a sociopath, as well as integrating comments from other sociopaths from her blog. It’s certainly an interesting read, and hopefully gives some good understanding to a disorder that isn’t very well understood and generally negatively seen, or even misbranding as psychopathy… Although as Thomas does say herself, there is sometimes I fine line between the two.
6) To Kill A Mocking Bird – Harper Lee
Another one of my set texts for my GCSE English Lit course, though after some rumours last summer I’m not too sure whether it’s on the syllabus any more or not, which would be a shame is it wasn’t. Published in the 1960’s, and set in the 1930’s during the Great Depression, Harper Lee manages wonderfully to add warmth and humour to the novel while still dealing with rather serious issues like rape, and racial inequality which was rife at the time the book was set and while the book was published. Also there is a court case which is bound it keep you on the edge of your seat! Until this year this was the only book Harper Lee had ever published, but now there is a sequel, or earlier draft called “Go Set A Watchmen” available. However I haven’t put that on the list simply because I haven’t got about to reading it yet, but I definitely will!
7) The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
The second John Green in this book, and most likely the most known one out of the lot. This was the first one I read, hearing about it when the trailer of the film came out I was intrigued and went and brought it instantly. Again tissues are a must because John Green really knows how to do his plot twists! It’s one of the few books I’ve actually bothered to read again and again and trust me, it leaves me a blubbering mess every time.
8) Much Ado About Nothing – William Shakespeare
Yes another Shakespeare play! Again, once you find yourself being able to understand the language (which if you’re like me doesn’t take too long) you’ll find yourself loving this romantic comedy. Benedick and Beatrice honestly just made me laugh way too much. The banter, the hatred, and unwillingly falling in love. Of course there’s also a little scandal in there to make things a bit juicier as well! And again, if you want to treat yourself, watch the adaptation with David Tennant and Catherine Tate.
9) Grimms Fairy Tales – The Grimm Brothers
You know all those stories you were told as a child? Well now go check out how they were originally told. A lot less sugar coated than what your used to, there may be some shocking twists. But nothing I would personally say would give you nightmares… not that we’re all grown up now, anyway. Honestly, most of the time I found it funny how extreme some of the characters reacted to the smallest of things. But it’s still really interesting to read all the bits that all the people who retold the stories like Disney decided to leave out to make them more child friendly.
10) The Strange Angels Series – Lili St. Crow
I found the first instalment in this series through a magazine, which was giving it as a free gift. A whole book as a free gift? Weird, I know, but I’m not complaining! Because aside from getting a free book to keep, which is always a bonus, I also found a new series that I enjoyed to become invested with. Yes, it’s a supernatural series, with vampires and half vampires, werewolves and so on… and in the way there is a bit of a love triangle. But in my opinion it’s the best series of it’s kind out there, surpassing the two popular series Twilight and The Vampire Diaries (I never got into Twilight really, and as for TVD well I stopped reading the books once I heard they ditched L.J Smith and got a ghost writer. And since it’s about the books I won’t start to rant about the TV adaptation). So I beg you, if you have any pre-judgement to books of the vampire genre to at least try and give these a go. They will not disappoint!
11) Paper Towns – John Green
Okay, this is the last John Green book on this list, I promise! — This was the book that successfully managed to teach me the long needed lesson that not everything can be resolved, and sometimes you’re just not going to get the happy ending that you wanted so much. And that it’s completely okay for it to be that way, and that just because you didn’t get that happy ending, or that things didn’t get resolved like you wanted, doesn’t mean you can’t be happy in the future. Also John Green seems to have a talent for making female characters that I absolutely love and admire. Hazel Grace, Alaska Young, and now Margo Roth Spiegelman. All 3 are in my list of fictional girl crushes.
12) The Martian – Andy Weir
I literally only started reading this book on Wednesday after buying it the weekend before. My friend went and brought the book after seeing the film in the cinemas and said I would love it so I went out and brought it too, thank God I did since I needed something to keep me preoccupied on my 2 hour journey to Southampton… and the 2 hour journey back home. And my friend was not wrong. I’ve absolutely loved reading it! So much so I finished it in under a week! It has got some very confusing sciency bits in it… but in a way, Weir made me understand then a lot more better than I think anyone else could have. Packed with a great mix of suspense and humour… it is literally everything I want in a book!
What are your favourite books? Maybe there are some that you love that I haven’t included in this list. Let me know about them! I need some good recommendation to buy to keep me entertained on the long journey I have to Wales in a few weeks!