Before I rattle away a list of must read books for you in 2019, let me tell you a very short story. The year was 1997. The setting- a school classroom filled with Grade-2 students watching as a teacher taught them math. Every pair of eyes was on the teacher. Except for one kid. That was me.
You see, I had discovered the delights of Enid Blyton and her ‘Naughtiest Girl’ collection. And I was not willing to stop reading my book even while class was going on. So what did smart little me do? Of course, hid the book under the desk on my lap and kept reading while the teacher was doing her thing. But grown-ups are not that dumb.
My teacher caught me, took away my book and even gave me the dreaded ‘note in my diary’. So my parents could chide me further at home. Lesson learned and I kept my book-reading to free periods and home. Now I am a journalist and a mom of one. I still push myself to find time to read whenever I can. Because books are the cheapest vacation, a way to travel while planted on your couch. And the only way I can travel nowadays since I have a seven-week-old on my hands!
So if you are like me, or you’ve resolved to read more this New Year, here are some must read books you should definitely get your hands on.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
To be honest, this classic is a book I’ll be rereading because it is just so timeless. Alcott’s tale revolves around a family of four delightful girls and their mother. Each adventure they go on tugs at your heartstrings and brings back fond memories of your childhood. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy each have their quirks. It is wonderful how Alcott uses their adventures and mishaps to teach life lessons.
If you are looking for a timeless classic that will make you feel good and full of love for humanity, you must read Little Women. It will leave you wanting more.
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
I discovered this must read book when I was in school. And I could not put it down until I had read the very last word. The Phantom of the Opera makes you pity a monster!
Yes, you read right, a monster. The time frame is the 1880s. The setting is a magnificent opera house in Paris that is purported to be haunted by a ‘ghost’. The ‘ghost’ is none other than Erik, a physically deformed musical genius, who falls desperately in love with a beautiful, young soprano.
With a face like death, Erik knows he cannot win the soprano’s heart. Leroux paints such a sad picture of the monster’s fierce love for the soprano that we are almost willing to forgive the murders he is willing to commit to secure his love!
Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien
I discovered this good read too when I was in school. Although it was more than 1,000 pages long, for the life of me I could not put it down! If you are the type who likes elves, magic, wizards and the sort, this book is gold! You must read this for its sheer wizardry.
To put it short, the story follows a hobbit called Frodo and his journey to rid the world of an evil spirit called Sauron. The tale is actually a trilogy and I recommend buying all three books at once because you’re sure to read the story until the end. If you are wanting a tale that is riveting, magical and powerful, look no further. This is definitely a must read book!
The Martian by Andy Weir
I have always wondered what it would be like to go to outer space and just fall off the spaceship. Or maybe even off the edge of a foreign planet. I’ve imagined myself floating terrified, screaming, through blackness broken by the light of cold stars burning in the distance. I don’t think that’s what would happen if I were to lose my way in outer space. But hey, I never said I was a scientist!
Anyway, The Martian brings my horrible fantasy to life except it is set on Mars. Astronaut Mark Watney has been left to fend for himself on Mars by his team in a freak accident. Surrounded by a merciless environment, with dwindling supplies and no support, Mark decides to make the best of what he’s got and tries to survive. Another classic on my must read list!
Circe by Madeline Miller
I love me some Greek goddess fantasy, which is exactly what this book is. A daughter is born to Helios, god of the sun and the mightiest of the Titans. Only, she is different from the others.
Circe turns to mortals for companionship and discovers her power is witchcraft. This makes the other gods wary of her and earns her immediate deportment from Olympus. The story follows Circe as she battles dangers away from home and meets well-known characters such as the Minotaur. This is a yet another good book you must read! Especially if you love Greek mythology, like me.
Here’s wishing you a happy year and pleasant reading!