WHEN WE PICK up a book the one thing we want is to reach the last page and be left with thoughts and feelings beyond those in the text, and yet of the text, to feel different somehow, to see the world in a different light. Below are five of my all time favourite books for impact and the fact they live long in my memory.
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling. Aimed at children, the book is about as magical and imaginative as any book I have known before or after, with wonderful illustrations as well. Largely focused around animal characters, there are all kinds of morals to be grappled with and it will make you more human by the time you finish it. Equally amazing read as an adult, the ‘origin stories’ looks into how many phenomena came to be, with story titles like: How the Leopard Got His Spots and How the Alphabet Was Made.
Rashomon by Ryunosuke Akutagawa. Rashomon and seventeen other stories is an amazing read. The stories are so well told, so rich in imagery and pure story telling I have yet to read anything of it’s equal. Akuatagawa is known as the father of the Japanese short story. In a Bamboo Grove is one of my favourite short works ever, that deduces what really happened in one place through multiple view points to try to find out the truth. What made this even more magical, was I watched the film Ghost Dog where Rashomon is read by one of the characters, inspiring me to buy it.
1984 by George Orwell. It’s an undisputed classic for a reason, and one of the first books I read that sucked me into the story, memorable for life, that seems more and more relevant as technology and governments tighten their strangehold on our existence.
Expect the Unexpected by Roald Dahl. An undoubted master at writing childrens fiction, Dahl’s adult fiction is equally spectacular. The short stories he weaves are so clever, often nuanced with plentiful helpings of the bizarre and the very dark side of his imagination. Royal Jelly is perhaps the most famous, but every one in this book is highly readable and memorable; no filler.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The only book I read at school I truly enjoyed. A timeless classic and sadly as relevant as ever with racial tensions still high in the south of America. Ethically immaculate, engaging storyline and great dialogue. If you haven’t read it, add it to your to-read-list.