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BK Blog Post
Should is one of those words that most people naturally shy away from. Don’t tell me what to do! At the same time, there are things we should all do. We should try to be happy. We should try to find meaning. And we should find things to do that interest us.
One thing that has always interested me is books. I love books in all shapes, sizes and forms. I don’t care if they’re paper or electronic, fiction or factual. It’s all good to me. Hopefully, the fact that you’re here shows that you share at least some of that passion.
So, here are some of the best ideas that you can try out in the days ahead. And, of course you don’t really need to read them, but I think you won’t be disappointed if you do. So here goes. You ready?
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austin really knew what she was doing when she wrote Pride and Prejudice. That’s probably why it’s still one of the absolutely most famous books of all time. It’s even been adapted for the screen something like 13 times.
Of course, adapted for the screen is nice, but if you’ve got a vivid imagination, then the book will always be better. Besides, who doesn’t want to practice their mind’s eye? It’s most important eye of them all, after all.
So You really should join Jane Austin in finding out why first impressions aren’t always the correct ones, that everybody needs a second chance and that love conquers all – even pride and prejudice. Now those are important lessons for any woman (and any man, for that matter) to learn, don’t you think?
Ronald Dahl’s Matilda has to be one of my favorite books. I mean, it’s about a girl who loves books! Not only that, she’s so smart and so frustrated that she ends up developing super powers because of it that she uses to turn the world right! What’s not to love?
Dahl has this irreverent style that really caries you away and though this might have been a kid’s book, that doesn’t change that it’s equally enjoyable for adults. For we all – deep down – want to be kids again, even if for just a moment (well, honestly, only for a moment, but hey let’s not get into the semantics).
To Kill A Mockingbird
This is such a potent book. Harper Lee really managed to move me with it when she wrote it. Even ten years after reading it, it still moves me. The protagonist might only be six years old, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is a fantastically adult book. For sometimes a child can see more clearly than an adult can.
The book deals with feminism, racism, meaning, love and anger. And in the process makes you reconsider all those questions in the light of the ideas proposed. For though we sometimes might pretend these ideas are easy, in truth they are incredibly complicated and to dismiss any of them or the things people are trying to say about them is to sell the other person and yourself short.
And that’s the great thing about this book. It really drives that point home once again – it has done ever since it was written.
I know why the caged bird sings
Another important book, Maya Angelou has to be one of my biggest heroes. She was a poet, an author and a civil rights activist. Even if she would have been only one of those things, she would already have been amazing. Instead, she was all three.
In ‘I know why the caged bird sings’ she recounts a great deal of what she went through in her life up to the age of 17 (yes, it is autobiographic) and she does so in language that is so moving that it really will make you work your way through at least a tissue box.
But heck – instead of me praising her to the heavens, just listen to her poem at Bill Clinton’s inauguration and let her words do it for you. Because why try to imitate greatness when greatness is already at hand?
I read this one after a breakup a long time ago and when I recently picked it up again I thought it wouldn’t hold up. How wrong I was. It was fantastic when I was in my twenties and it’s fantastic today. I think it’s because she’s so funny and poignant at the same time. She really knows how to capture what you’re going through (how do authors do that?).
I think this book helped me survive the heartbreak I was going through when I was 20 and helped me see some of what was going on in my life back then today. That’s a lot for a book to do, I admit, but that doesn’t change that this book succeeded.
So make sure you check out heartburn by Nora Ephron. She did something for me not even the translators and writers over at The Word Point managed to do.
The Fortress of Solitude
A lot of people think that books can only be good if they’re fantastic, wildly imaginative and talk about things that don’t really happen to anybody (Beautiful pirate captains whisking you away). The Fortress of Solitude shows you quite the opposite.
It’s all set in a single neighborhood in Brooklyn and talks about such things as the wonderful freedom of playing on a city block after dinner. Old men sitting on milk crates. The inner city wonder and what it was like to grow up there.
And in that moment I realized that world of the past was as much a fantasy world as the worlds we imagine. In fact, in some ways they’re more powerful as they allow us to embrace such emotions as nostalgia – in a way that fantasy and all that comes with it rarely can.
The Great Gatsby
While we’re on the topic of history, let’s go back to the roaring 20s, where the Great Gatsby is set. It’s such a fascinating book, this one. It discusses opulence, excess and remaking yourself as you wish. It talks about infatuation and excitement by the upper class – and what a lie that is.
It also shows us how much care you can lavish on a book if you only have a mind to. Because, really, F. Scott Fitzgerald must have agonized over every word in this book. So much so, that Hunter S. Thompson reputedly retyped the book in order to know what it felt like to write an actually great novel.
That’s dedication. Therefore, if you’re dedicated to great literature, make sure that you pick up this bad boy (girl?).
Sex and the City
Yes, that’s right. It was a book first. And though the series might have got all the attention, the book is equally good. And it’s, you know, more Sex and the City, so that can’t be bad, right? I loved the dark humor and the timelessness of the piece. I also thought it was a very good guide as to what kind of men you’re going to meet – not just in New York, but everywhere that’s a little bit more ‘sophisticated’. I mean, it could just as easily be about London.
Remember, the Sex and the City series changed television. The book could have easily done the same for literature. Check it out.
Books are journeys. They take you away into the past, the future or somebody’s imagination. There they can let you experience things and be things that you otherwise couldn’t. That’s why it’s so important that we try out new books and new ideas.
That’s how we get to widen our horizon. This selection of books will hopefully show you a little bit of what’s possible out there in the literary field. So don’t just pick up something that directly fits in with what you normally read. Instead you should (there’s that word again) try something a little bit more left field. If you don’t like it you can always say you tried. And if you do, then you might just discover and entire new genre.