I have challenged myself to read 50 books this year… almost 17 times the amount I read last year! In order to curb my love of buying and collecting books I intend on fully making the use of my library card. A lot of books on my ‘hit-list’ will be classics but I won’t limit myself. If you have any suggestions please leave a comment below! Happy reading
22. The Beasts Confession to the Priest, on Observing How Most Men Mistake Their Own Talents – Jonathan Swift. A funny poem suggesting that animals are smarter, and less foolish, than mankind. It reminded my of the last story he wrote in Gulliver’s travels when he refers Houyhnhnms (Similar to horses) to be more advanced creatures compared to men.
21. Meditation Upon a Broomstick – Jonathan Swift. A very funny short satire piece of Robert Boyle’s Meditations.
20. The Battle of the Books – Jonathan Swift. Possibly the first book I haven’t really liked this year. Maybe I’m not well versed enough amongst some of the authors in this satire to fully appreciate it so it went over my head.
19. The Thirty-Nine Steps – John Buchan. An extremely tense and gripping espionage thriller that will leave you on edge! Hannay, the protagonist was who Ian Flemming based his James Bond character around… pretty cool!
18. Babylon Revisited – F. Scott Fitzgerald. Three short stories that effortlessly flow together with themes of alcoholism relating very much to the authors life. These short stories aren’t masterpieces, however, some of the passages will leave you stunned. I can’t help but read Fitzgerald’s work aloud, his words roll off the tongue so effortlessly!
17. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway. A remarkable tale of the triumph and tribulations over man and mother nature. Superbly written and highly engaging… but very sad!
16. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson. A fantastic, yet chilling tale of a scientist (Jekyll) who finds a serum to transform himself into a hideous, lawless creature (Hyde). A book that explores the current social anxieties of living up to the pressures of Victorian Britain and a classic that will stay within popular culture for a very long time. Robert Louis Stevenson is a fantastic writer who could have perhaps been one of the greatest had he lived long enough to write more stories.
15. The Great Gatsby – F.Scott Fitzgerald. Quite possibly the best prose I have ever read. The opening and closing passages are particularly noteworthy and this is without a doubt one of the greatest American novels ever written.
14. The Railway Children – Edith Nesbit. Such a sweet and innocent children’s tale of three children and their love for the railway when they suddenly have to move into the countryside. Nesbit’s ability to think and write as a child is what makes this book very funny and so hard to put down!
13. For Whom The Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway. Quite possibly the longest book I’ve read this year and one of the most interesting. The inner monologues of Robert Jordan (the protagonist) are probably some of the most beautiful passages I have read. I look forward to reading more of EH’s work.
12. The Art of War – Sun-Tzu. Possibly a little over rated and over quoted in my opinion. There are some passages which make for very useful ‘life philosophies’ and the work is written impeccably well. It has a lot of depth if you want to look deeper in it but I don’t think I will be revisiting this any time soon.
11. The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein. A charming children’s book with a powerful message, with multiple interpretations. I can relate to both the boy and the tree. This will make you smile and cry at the same time. Give it a read, it’ll only take you a few minutes!
10. A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway. I simply couldn’t book this book down. An incredibly stylish account of Hemingway’s life in Paris, 1920. His ability to bring you along with him to Paris is unparalleled; painting a vivid picture of the extravagant lifestyles as well as the turbulent poverty he experienced. I urge everyone to read this – you won’t regret it!
9. Animal Farm – George Orwell. The second Orwellian novel I’ve read this year and I thoroughly enjoyed it. A very witty political satire that anyone can enjoy. Some very sad moments!
8. Medea/Hippolytus/Helen – Euripides. Euripides like Sophocles is one of the greatest Greek writers and these three tragedies did not disappoint. Helen was a particular favourite of mine, possibly because it has a lighter tone over the others; exploring themes such as hope and redemption.
7. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell. A chilling and dark piece that has an ever-increasing relevance in today’s society. A stern reminder to us all on the price of giving up freedom. Absolutely loved this book from start to end.
6. Antigone/Oedipus The King/Electra – Sophocles. Three of the greatest Greek tragedies ever written that teach us not to keep hatred, revenge, fear and deprivation in our hearts for it leads to our own ruin. Antigone was my favourite of the three and is one of my favourites read so far.
5. Idylls – Theocritus. A wonderful set of vignettes of those who live a bucolic life. Even back in Hellenistic times humans desired to seek a more peaceful, simpler lifestyle.
4. Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift. A fascinating tale that still holds relevance to our society today with its subtle digs at the hypocrisy we as humans live by. We’re all just a bunch of Yahoos!
3. The Road – Cormac McCarthy. Similar to The Death of Grass and written so beautifully that it serves us a reminder how much we stand to lose if we continue to pillage this world.
2. The Death of Grass – John Christopher. A chilling thriller of a post-apocalyptic future which perfectly displays mans struggle to uphold moral values when the world is starting to disintegrate. Loved it!
1. Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu. Perfectly depicts how to live in peace with each other and the world we live in.