I always thought I could be a librarian. Or Kathleen Kelly from You’ve Got Mail. But Life handed me a different deck of cards, but that does not mean I do not adore books. As the title clearly states, here are Five Books I highly recommend to anyone for Five Friday. (I’m trying to keep it as ‘neutral’ as possible because there are books that are targeted to a certain demographic, be it gender or age, so hopefully anyone can look these up and enjoy them)
Also, I have linked Book Depository pages for each title, so it’ll be easier if you want to buy them. They provide free shipping internationally (which is the best thing ever) and reasonable discounts on a lot of books. If you’re Malaysian, try MPHOnline; they may or may not have some of the books in stock but there’s free shipping for purchases over RM50 (plus, you can actually track your parcel!).
1. Boy by Roald Dahl
The first time I read this, I was 8 or 9 years old because it was a compulsory read for my brother’s Form 1 class (yes, he skipped 2 grades because he’s smart and all). I didn’t appreciate it as much as I did when I reread it at 11. I love this book. I want to be able to write a book like this. If you are shockingly unfamiliar with Roald Dahl, he’s a famous children’s book author (he wrote a few adult-ish books, too) with the likes of ‘The Witches’, ‘BFG’ and ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. ‘Boy’ however, is autobiographical in nature and such an adventurous book. There is a difference between reading fiction and non-fiction, but with Roald Dahl, his life story reads like a good novel that he wrote. It’s full of lively characters, rich insight into the mind of a child-to-semi-adult. It’s also filled with pictures of him as a kid, letters he wrote to his mother and really funny illustrations. A definite must-read if you’re a Dahl fan.
2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
If you only know this story based on the movie, you’re probably missing out on a few things. As much as Stephen Chbosky tried to condense his book into a script, the movie did not flesh out the characters to the depth of what they were on the page. I really like the movie, don’t get me wrong, even if Emma Watson’s American accent wasn’t fantastic (she tried her best, points to her for that. And she was very passionate about the book, which I will always admire), but the book was what made me want to watch it in the first place. Perks is about Charlie, and is written is a letter form to the reader. He addresses each chapter with ‘Dear Friend’ and it’s as though he is writing to you, the reader. Charlie is what the title states: a wallflower, but as a person, he has gone through a lot of heavy stuff that most of us are lucky to never have come across. But this book is not solely about him: it deals with eating disorders, sexuality, confusion in being a teenager, mistakes we all make, and depression. I got chills reading certain parts of the book because I felt a connection to what I read. I think this book is one that every teenager/young adult should read because there is so much that you can gain from it. I may be gushing, but this is one of my favourite books.
3. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
If you like mystery novels, this one will be a hit with you. I am a fan of detective stories, Hercule Poirot is my favourite of all time, but this book is not a Poirot tale. The brilliant Agatha Christie weaves a complicated tale that brings strangers to a island, invited by a mysterious person only to have a murder occur. The guests panic and try to figure it out, while a creepy poem haunts them at every turn. (I swear, typing my own version of a summary just gave me chills) I read this book at night: BIG mistake. I freaked out in my own room. And it’s not a scary book, but a definite page turner. The ending is amazing and shocking, which is why this book is known to be her best.
4. Captain Courageous by Rudyard Kipling
This book is one of my favourites from childhood. I think my mom bought it for my brother and I, but I think I favour it more. I can definitely reread this at anytime. This book is about a young, prick of a boy named Harvey Cheyne Jr. who gets thrown overboard on a trip only to be picked up by a fishing boat called “We’re Here”. No one believes his story of being a rich kid and he ends up working on the ship as deckhand under the careful watch of it’s captain, Disko Troop. This is a coming of age story, where a stuck-up brat learns to appreciate what he has and find purpose in the world. I think I learned a lot of names of fishes, proper fishermen’s tales and a good dose of learning to be humble from this book. It has a good ending that will make you smile.
5. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
This book is loved by a lot of people and for good reason. I first read this when I was 18, I think; a little late in the game but I think it was good to read at 18 because I kinda understood Holden Caulfield better. If you don’t know what this book is about, it’s the story of Holden Caulfield, an angst ridden schoolboy who gets kicked out of boarding school, and checks himself into hotel before he returns home. You can imagine what a young boy gets up to, alone and ‘free’ to do whatever he chooses. I found his views of people he met very interesting, and the way he perceived relationships, especially with his own family was relatable in some sense. Holden is not the best role model but reading his story was nonetheless enjoyable.
So, here are my 5 books that I would recommend to anyone. Are there any of yours in these five or do you have five of your own to send back to me? Comment or tweet me. x