The Booket List
We’ve all heard of the bucket list – the list of things to do before you die – but I’m about to pitch a different kind of list. Ladies and gents, I give you the BOOKet list: the inventory of realities and universes in which you must submerge and immerse yourself before you die, in the form of a list of books to read. Every novel presents to its readers a universe in which the characters and the events exist. They all (well, the good ones anyway) paint the picture of an entire world for you to see and feel as the pages turn in your hands. Some are classic and timeless like Jane Austen’s, some are popular trends like Harry Potter, but what they all share in common is the way they pull us into their realities and away from our own. Rather than just a list of must-read classics, I hope to provide you with a few you haven’t heard of, and a different book for every mood.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins illustrates a world filled with violence and poverty, set in a time far beyond our reckoning. The misery and pain to which it subjects its readers somehow keeps you wanting more, even while you’re reaching for the tissues.
Veronica Roth’s Divergent is the latest addition to this trend of war and famish and the first film in this series hits theatres in just a few weeks. My recommendation is to get your hands on the first book before you head off the movie because as we all know, there’s no way that 300+ pages will fit into a 90 minute film. Warning: these books are a little on the down side, so follow up with something lighter.
A timeless classic bound to offer you help with your English classes, as well as talking points with tutors is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I say timeless simply because these are issues we face even today. We may no longer wear bonnets or ride horseback around town, but our society and our values really haven’t changed all that much.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is another of these timeless books, encapsulating human nature in the simplest of ways. We all have a green light at the end of the dock that we aspire to. Check out the latest film version as well, if you haven’t already, for an extravagant imagining of the infamous Gatsby parties and for the gorgeous Leonardo Dicaprio who portrays the timeless character so well.
For all of us hopeless romantics, Danielle Steel is always a great go-to. My personal favourite would have to be The Promise. One of her earlier novels, chronicling the unyielding love between wealthy heir Michael Hillyard and beautiful artist Nancy McAllister, it will take you on a rollercoaster of emotion before its final pages. Warning: Don’t blame your boyfriends when they don’t match up to Michael – the reason he’s so perfect is that a woman created him.
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket are for your inner child. Both are incredibly well written and great for when you want something a little lighter and more comical. While Snicket’s series is infused with dark humour, Juster’s novel is inspiring and fantastical, and both will keep you turning those pages for hours.
While we’re talking about fantasy, Amish Tripathi’s incredible new twist on Hindu Mythology, the Shiva Trilogy, deserves a mention. The book kills two birds with one stone, not only teaching you a few things about the Hindu Gods and Goddesses but also providing you with a breathtaking setting in which to view them.
Lastly, a few to impress those tutors and professors: with all these exciting and fun new books to read, its only right we add a few to erase the guilt about reading for pleasure when you have so much work to get through. Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey will be mentioned in almost every English subject, and I’m sure you’ve already encountered them. Put Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales in the mix and you’ve pretty much stockpiled enough material to fudge your way through at least half the English essays you will ever write. All found at your local university library, they may not be the most exciting on the list, but they’ll definitely help with your grades.
There you have it: some pages to make you laugh, some to make you cry, some to help your grades, and some to broaden your own fantasies and fascinations. Join me and fill up your bookshelves, then draw up designs for your future mansion with its amazing library of wall-to-wall books, a fireplace with a comfy rug, and of course a secret passageway that opens up when you pull out the Sherlock Holmes book on the fifth shelf of the Eastern wall... No? Just me? Like I said, they all present incredible worlds that pull us from our own. I can’t help but want to bring pieces of those worlds back with me.
By Drishti Nanwani