Todays’s Top Ten Tuesday meme, hosted by Broke and the Bookish, is a freebie. I need to come clean from the start and say that I am not the best with open themes. There are so many options one could go for! In the end, though, I settled for ten books I think everyone should read.
Mind you, this is not a “ten favourites” list. Even though I like all of these books, they’re not necessarily favourites of mine. The majority isn’t. Nonetheless, these are very much “everyone should read” books. These are stories that help understand others and oneself. In an increasingly globalized world, we need these books to understand other cultures, other thought processes, other ways of life, and, most importantly of all, how we are all human.
Before I get philosophical, without further ado, here they are:
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1), J.K. Rowling
No books have taught me as much about life as Potter. And it wasn’t just me either. Look at the other thousands of Potterheads or at the studies showing Potter fans to generally be more understanding. These books are changing the world.
The Last Leaves Falling, Sarah Benwell
This is a story about a Japanese teenage boy with ALS that will let you step into his shoes, and have a real glimpse at what it means to have a physical disability. It’s a book that defies how western society treats the disabled.
Beauty Queens, Libba Bray
A satire to defy sexism. A cast to laugh at homophobia. A story to break down beauty standards and expectations. A novel to empower teenage girls and women. A must-read book for all genders alike.
Life of Pi,Yann Martel
When I hear anti-[insert a religion here] opinions, all I want is to throw this book at whoever’s expressing said opinion. Life of Pi argues that all religions can live hand-in-hand, and it does so flawlessly.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman
A book about memory and childhood, it’s also a book that helps you see that, in the end, everyone is broken in their own way, that nostalgia never lets go of anyone, and that the past and future are of our own making.
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
Sometimes the enemy isn’t exactly what you expect it to be. Sometimes the enemy is suffering as much as you. Sometimes the enemy wants it all to be over too. Sometimes the enemy is actually your friend.
The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1), Lemony Snicket
The recurring theme of this book that life is not nice but has spots of sunlight along the way is one of the most honest ones I’ve ever seen in fiction. Most stories romanticise or deny a life of suffering. This one calls it what it is: a series of unfortunate events.
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I’m not sure what to say here. Everything about Le Petit Prince has been said before. So I’ll simply say: read it. This is a story for absolutely everyone. And if you’ve read it, read it again. You’ll see its meaning changed. It always does and always will.
All My Puny Sorrows, Miriam Toews
Depression, mental disease in general, is still a taboo in western society. Those who suffer from it are ashamed. Their families don’t know what to do or are ashamed themselves. This is a book for both “sides” of the story.
Les Miserábles, Victor Hugo
In Hugo’s words, “So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation which, in the midst of civilization, artificially creates a hell on earth, and complicates with human fatality a destiny that is divine; so long as the three problems of the century – the degradation of man by the exploitation of his labour, the ruin of women by starvation and the atrophy of childhood by physical and spiritual night are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words and from a still broader point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, there should be a need for books such as this.”
How about you?
Which books do you believe can help change the world?