10 Must-Read BooksBy Heidi A, for Erbilia Online Magzine December 24, 2014 — Updated 15:00 GMT+2
1- Illusions – The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach (1977)
This time the author of the best seller Jonathan Livingston Seagull flies his biplane somewhere in the Midwest when he meets a modern-day Messiah, an advanced soul, who knows all about the illusion of this world and the reality behind it. Find out all the life lessons this Messiah teaches Richard and how we attract into our lives what our thoughts generate.
2- The Stand by Stephen King (Original Edition 1978/ Complete and Uncut Edition 1990)
With the Ebola scare looming over our heads, this Stephen King novel is more topical than ever. The story shows the worst-case scenario of a pandemic that kills more than 99% of the Earth’s population after a strain of a deadly virus escapes a secret government laboratory. As two groups of survivors try to re-establish new societies, the eternal battle between good and evil appears once more. Readers will love the character of Mother Abagail, a 108 year-old woman – who is the leader of the “good” society that has to fight Randall Flagg’s evil plans.
3- De Profundis by Oscar Wilde (1897)
A masterpiece of classic literature, De Profundis is a 50,000-word letter written by Oscar Wilde to his lover Lord Alfred Douglas. The letter was written when Wilde was in prison in Reading in 1897 and in it the writer expresses all aspects of human emotions, from utter bitterness and frustration to tenderness and unconditional love. As Wilde went through the hardships in prison he embraces his mistakes and gets over them, while at the same time he lets his soul feel redeemed in order to reach self-realization. Even if you have not read any of Wilde’s work, you will definitely fall in love with Wilde after reading De Profundis.
4- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)
Since its publication in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird is considered to be one of the best stories that deal with racial discrimination, inequality and injustice against the blacks. Since Harper Lee was born and raised in Alabama herself, the story has several autobiographical elements regarding the way black people were treated in the South back then, but it also has several similarities with members of her family. The book is taught in American schools as a lesson against prejudice and as praise to personal attributes, such as integrity, courage and tolerance. You will love the character of six-year-old Scout and her brother Jem who both support their lawyer father Atticus during a trial against a black man who was falsely accused of raping and murdering a young white woman.
5- Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (1961)
This is a great book for children and adults who love dogs and stories from the years when life was much simpler than today. Read about the childhood years of Billy Coleman, his two faithful Redbone Coonhounds (Old Dan and Little Ann) and their adventures in the forests. You will also get moved to tears by the old Indian legend of the red fern. The book was made into a film in 1974 and in 2003.
6- Animal Farm by George Orwell (1945)
A novel of allegory that severely criticizes the Russian Revolution and the Stalin regime in the Soviet Union, Animal Farm was written between 1943 and 1944, but was published almost 2 years later because it encountered publishers’ refusal to publish it. However, the book became a huge commercial success and the Time magazine has included it in the 100 best English novels of the 20th century. Orwell thought of the communist regime as a totalitarian propaganda that wanted to control the life, thoughts and beliefs of the people in order to cover the corruption of the leadership. Candide was banned by the Roman Catholic Church, but it remained the most widely read of Voltaire’s books.
7- Candide by Voltaire (1759)
Candide is the story of a young man whose mentor has indoctrinated him with the idea of optimism, the idea that the world he lives in is the best possible, and that everything that happens is for the best. However, Candide’s life soon changes dramatically and he has to face unimaginable hardships. Voltaire used all his wit to write this parody of an adventure and romantic story in which he also criticizes organized religion and the political system in many European countries.
8- The Secret History by Donna Tartt (1992)
The secret history is a murder-mystery story that will hold your attention right up to the final page with its intricate plot and the identities of its characters. The story is about an elite group of college students who hide a terrible secret. Richard, a boy of working-class background is eventually accepted into the elite group and when he becomes aware of the group’s secret, his life will change forever. You won’t be able to put it down!
9- Living Loving Learning by Leo Buscaglia (1985)
Leo Buscaglia, who was also known as Dr. Love, was a professor at the Southern California where he held a class called “Love A1”. This book contains his talks which became extremely popular in the 1980s. This New York Time Best Seller will remind you how important it is to work towards loving yourself and others. A great read for teenagers!
10- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)
This is the fascinating story of the five Bennet sisters, who live in England at the beginning of the 19th century, and their attempts to find a good husband. You will enjoy how pride and prejudice can ruin the potentially successful relationship of the protagonists Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy and find out about the English customs of that time. The book has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide and is one of the most popular novels ever.