Finding time to read is one of life’s little challenges as we constantly battle to fit more into our day to day lives. But it is also one of life’s little pleasures and for me it is quite an important one.
Finding time to read was something I was struggling with myself and why I decided to do the 2015 Reading Challenge, something that forced me to put reading on my to-do list and helped me rediscover a passion for books.
By doing this challenge, I realised that I could easily prioritise it instead of other time consuming activities such as watching television after dinner. I also challenged myself to try and read at least one chapter a day. Often I would read more but by committing to reading just a few pages I found I was getting through the books faster than I ever had before without it having a real impact on my day to day life.
What this challenge taught me was the importance of reading and how much of a positive impact it can have in my life. Reading transports me to another world and teaches me about places and people that I would otherwise have never sought to explore.
The books on this list have impressed me, they have challenged the way I think, and I feel they have contributed to my overall views of the world in which we live. It’s a pretty big call I know, but I believe they have inspired my continued love of literature.
So if you’re looking for ‘that book’ to spark your passion for reading again, then go ahead and pick up one of these, just be careful as you may not put it down!
1. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
A story of life and death as Eddie encounters 5 people on his journey through the different stages of heaven that had significant impact on his life and discovers that life is not just a series of random events but that everyone is connected in some way.
2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
One of the most enduring works of literature to date, Austen’s exploration of the human character through life, its unfairness, its realities and its beauty, is the reason you will find this book on just about every ‘must read’ list.
3. The Martian by Andy Weir
The story of Mark Watney, an astronaut stranded on Mars and left to survive with nothing but his engineering and botany skills. This book reads like a memoir; except for the fact he is on Mars, I would have sworn it was a true story. Everything that is impossible is explained in such great detail you believe it to be true. Don’t just watch the movie, read this book!
4. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
A memoir recounting Albom’s time spent with his professor with whom he has not been in contact with for 16 years. Albom outlines the life of Morrie Schwartz who is dying from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and explores the themes of love, happiness, life and death. This is one of the most inspiring and moving stories I have ever read.
5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Told from the perspective of a 6 year old, this award winning novel provides a brutally honest account of the racial inequality, and injustice faced by African Americans in the South, making it a modern literary classic.
6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This book centres around the life of Liesel Meminger, an orphan living in Germany during World War II. The story is narrated by Death and is captivating from start to finish as the ending is almost told to you throughout the story and you are given little hits and encouraged to put all the pieces into context. This book explores the horrific history of Nazi Germany but thrives on the beauty of humanity and the power of the smallest gesture.
7. Looking for Alaska by John Green
The way John Green is able to tell a story and manipulate words is a true gift, which is reason enough to pick up this book. This story follows a young boy at boarding school and his fascination with a troubled girl, Alaska. Exploring powerful friendships and lessons learnt in life as Green dives into the unknown and uncovers raw emotions.
8. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
Blurring the line between fiction and nonfiction, O’Brien reflects on his time as a soldier in Vietnam and engages in an emotive political debate exploring the feelings of shame, of guilt and the challenges that veterans faced upon returning home to America after the war.
9. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Tells the story of two migrant field workers in California during the Great Depression who share a strong friendship and hold onto the dream of one day owning their own piece of land. This is a beautifully written story but powerful, intense and heartbreaking.
10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Set in America’s roaring twenties surrounding the mysterious life of millionaire Jay Gatsby, this novel explores themes of idealism, decadence, passion and excess while exposing the American social system and divisions of class. This is a classic in American literature and the way Fitzgerald writes makes you just want more.
11. 1984 by George Orwell
The beginning of Big Brother, this dystopian novel provides accurate depictions of what the future could hold. It’s terrifying and brilliant at the same time as a totalitarian government takes over and individualism is punished. It is literary political fiction and dystopian science-fiction at its finest.
How many of these have you read? What is the most incredible book you have read?