I’m not the biggest reader of all time, but I have read some good books…here’s my top 10 list books I’ve read in no particular order:
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Fantasy book series by J.K.Rowling
This is a pretty long book (768 pages to be precise), but it’s definitely worth it. I have to admit that I watched the film before reading the book, so knew the rough plot but will say that the book offers so much more detail and background information, particularly about Voldemort and his family. This has to be my favourite of all the Harry Potters (films and books) because it’s so much more laid-back (despite the fact that Voldemort is on the rise again!) with funny parts but I will try not to give too much away.
“We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.”
The Hunger Games Series
Dystopian trilogy book series by Suzanne Collins
Read this series a while ago but really love the way Suzanne Collins writes the narrative for this books. All three have a real sense of emotion and this makes you feel as though you are actually there, feeling all these emotions and experiences. I love how the first book is revolved around Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games but as the series progress, the books show how she is dragged into the bigger picture of the Capital and the uprising. Very different from anything I’ve read before and makes you think about the control of leaders.
“May the odds be ever in your favour.”
The Book Thief
Historical Fiction by Markus Zusak
This book, set in Nazi Germany during the Second World War, follows the life of a young orphan girl called Leisel, and her life stealing books and learning to read as well as her foster-family’s Jewish friend who is hidden in their basement. I really enjoyed reading this book as often when you learn about World War 2, you only learn about it from a certain perspective (in my case the British side), but I think it’s important to get the story from more than one side to fully understand and empathise with other people’s situations.
“When life robs you, sometimes you have to rob it back.”
The Secret Life of Bees
Drama by Sue Monk Kidd
This book follows the story of Lily Owens in South Carolina during the 1960s who is haunted by the death of her mother. She ends up running away from home with her black nanny and living with 3 bee-keeping sisters. The book explores the racial tensions in the country at the time as well as the journey of discovery for Lily who slowly finds out the truth about her mother’s death.
“Most people don’t have any idea about all the complicated life going on inside a hive. Bees have a secret life we don’t know nothing about.”
Autobiography written in diary form
This book follows the life of Anne Frank, a Jewish teenage girl, who, along with her family, is hiding in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in the Second World War. They hid for 2 years and the book follows their life in hiding and the struggles of it, including not being able to move for hours on end for fear of being heard. This book is excellently written, considering it is written by a young teenager, and is very interesting as it shows the first-hand lengths people went to to avoid being discovered.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
Fantasy book by J.R.R.Tolkien
This novel, set in the fantasy world of Middle Earth, follows the journey of a ‘Hobbit’ called Bilbo Baggins and 13 dwarves to the mountain where a great dragon, Smaug, is guarding a huge pile of treasure. Along their journey, they have to fight off giants, huge spiders, wood-elves and many more creatures. If you enjoy this book, ‘The Lord of the Rings’, a trilogy, is the sequel to ‘The Hobbit’.
“True courage is about knowing not when to take a life but when to spare one.”
Crime Fiction by Agatha Christie
Here’s the synopsis from the Agatha Christie website :
“An elderly spinster has been poisoned in her country home. Everyone blamed Emily’s accident on a rubber ball left on the stairs by her frisky terrier. But the more she thought about her fall, the more convinced she became that one of her relatives was trying to kill her. On April 17th she wrote her suspicions in a letter to Hercule Poirot. Mysteriously he didn’t receive the letter until June 28th… by which time Emily was already dead.”
Christie is by far my favourite crime writer and this book stars my favourite detective, Hercule Poirot. A very good read which leaves you unsure on the culprit until the very end.
A political satire book by George Orwell
This relatively short novella (of 112 pages) with a hidden meaning, was written by Orwell (real name Eric Arthur Blair) and published in 1945. I studied this in English and this appealed to me because it’s fairly simple language but complicated hidden meaning but Orwell had evidently thought out meticulously. It is told in a fable-type fashion and is set on Manor Farm which is owned by Mr Jones. The animals overthrow Mr Jones and create a ‘free land’ which each and every animal owns, but in fact, it is where the pigs are in charge. The book mirrors the lead up to the Russian Revolution (1917) and then onto the time of the Soviet Union. Very interesting book to analyse and a must-read classic.
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
Gothic Mystery Fiction by Daphne du Maurier
Whilst working as a companion to a rich American woman, the unnamed narrator who is in her 20s, meets Max de Winter, a wealthy man who has recently lost his wife. After knowing the narrator for a few weeks, he promptly proposes to marry her. She accepts and they go back Manderley, his grand house. Here there is an overhanging shadow of the recently deceased Mrs Rebecca de Winter, who was perfect in the eyes of the house keeper, Mrs Danvers. The narrator feels a constant comparison is drawn between herself and the late Mrs de Winter. As the book goes on, we discover the true nature of the death of Rebecca and it is not as pleasant as it seems… I really enjoyed not only reading but analysing this book as it has some very detailed descriptive passages and I enjoy mystery and crime novels.
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…”
To Kill a Mockingbird
Southern Gothic novel by Harper Lee
Published in 1960, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is now a classic American novel showing the racial injustice in America during this time. It follows the Finch family – Scout (6 year-old girl), Jem (older brother of Scout) and Atticus Finch ( their father and lawyer) – and their experiences of racial tension and difference in their small, fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. When their father, Atticus, has to defend a black man, Scout and Jem have to choose whether to support him and his views of equality and justness for black people, or to go with the many people in their town who disagree with Mr Finch. This book explores these racial struggles and the innocence of the two children. Again, I read this for school and enjoyed analysing it.
“You never understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”