Top Ten Books To Read in 2017
Hello and welcome back to The Young Reader's Review! Here we are, 2017 is finally upon us! I realized that Top Ten Books To Read In 2016 was very popular last year, so to celebrate a new beginning, I have decided to write the 2017 version of this as you can infer by the title. This year, I have mainly read classics which is the reason why most of the books below aren’t “Young Adult Books”. But, these books can of course be read by “Young Adults” and I have read all of these in 2016. So, enjoy!
1.The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (Notre-Dame de Paris) by Victor Hugo
We have all heard of this book that has truly made its mark in French literature and culture, but most of us are intimidated by its daunting seven hundred pages and its “long and tedious” descriptions. If you do think this, you are greatly mistaken. Do not worry, I thought this too! The detailed descriptions flow ever so smoothly with the writing and the story will leave you gripping onto your seat! Also, I find the way Hugo mixes history, philosophy and fiction interesting in this story. Breathtaking book.
2.Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
This comic series will change from your everyday comic book. This autobiography follows the life of Marjane as a child who undergoes the injustices of dictatorship in Teheran, Iran. The bold drawings are perfectly executed, and the way Satrapi uses the innocence and incomprehension of a child makes the horrors of the brutal changes in Iran in the 1980s pop out. Very original and touching comic book.
3.The Metamorphosis (Die Verwandlung) by Franz Kafka
Well, it is true that Franz Kafka’s “gloom” stands out in his books. But, strangely this reflected sadness is interesting and even enjoyable to a certain point. In this short story that can easily be read in a day, Gregor, a man with an “ordinary” life, wakes up as a cockroach. This might seem absurd, but there is so much more to this book than the plot. It is also magnificently well written. It’s a must-read.
“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”. This play is much more than great. I believe that there are no words to really describe Shakespeare’s works in general. Anyway, I had to at least have one of his works on this list, the Shakespearean nerd I am. Twelfth Night changes from all of the Shakespeare’s tragedies: it’s a comedy and even in the modern world we live in today, he can make me laugh. In this play, we follow Viola, who in a shipwreck loses her twin brother. Viola decides to pretend to be a man at the service of the duke of Orsino while trying to find her twin. A-m-a-z-i-n-g (and many other synonymic adjectives).
5.Endymion by John Keats
If you love Romanticism and poems then you will love the early 19th century poet, John Keats. His poems, written with the famous Keats odes rhyme scheme (ABABCDECDE), are powerful, sentimental and so much more than just beautiful. My personal favorite of his is “Ode to a Nightingale” which is a regular ode (an ode that is divided into sections each having a strophe and an antistrophe and an epode of contrasting form –The Merriam Webster Dictionary) where Keats expresses how he feels when, in a secondary state, he listens to a nightingale (a small, brown bird that sings). Touching genius.
6.The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
What a book. An original writing style and an original “bildungsroman” (coming-of-age book) that tells the story of an adolescent subconsciously fighting against adulthood. The plot is interesting, the writing style is simple yet amazing and represents the vocabulary of an adolescent of the time, and we follow Holden Caulfield and his moral and psychological growth. Being a teenager myself, I can especially relate to this book and I believe that other adolescents would too. This is a powerful book full of symbols and allegories that you must read at least once in your life.
7.Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Flaubert mocks Romanticism with a cutting satire mixed with Realism. Apparently, he used to spend four to five days to write one page of this book and I can tell you that it was completely worth it. The descriptions are, yes long, but just like Victor Hugo, flow very well with the story (except Victor Hugo, contrarily to Flaubert, was much more into recounting the historical background). In Madame Bovary, Emma Bovary is bored by her “ordinary” life devoid of any excitement really. Therefore, she daydreams about the life of characters in books and she decides to change her life, leading to a shocking ending. This book, creating what the French call “bovarysme” (It denotes a tendency toward escapist daydreaming in which the dreamer imagines himself or herself to be a hero or heroine in a romance, whilst ignoring the everyday realities of the situation. – Wikipedia) has been a game-changer for French literature.
8.The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Steinbeck has a simple, yet bold writing style that I absolutely adore. Tom Joad, an Oklahoman, is paroled from prison and returns to his home after having been imprisoned for homicide. Once he gets to his home, where his family cultivated cotton, nobody is in sight: they have left, preparing to go to paradise: California. This powerful book deals with The Great Depression in an amusing and approachable way but still conveys the gravity of the situation. Simple, yet beautiful.
9.Middlemarch, A Study of Provincial Life by George Eliot
If you liked Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice or Wuthering Heights, then the hefty nine-hundred pages this book binds will be devoured in a matter of days. The story contains four parallel main characters who all end up living in the fictitious Midlands town, Middlemarch in England: the story of Dorothea Brooke, a wise and humble young woman who marries an old, boring ecclesiastic, Tertius Lydgate, an ambitious young doctor and Mary Garth and Fred Vincy. In the end, their lives collide. The role of women of the time is a very dominant subject in this book (By the way, George Eliot is a pseudonym for Mary Anne Evans!). All in all, this book is a captivating and interesting product of Realism and also satire (as you can tell from the second title and from the depiction of secondary characters).
10.Promise at Dawn (La Promesse de l’Aube) by Romain Gary
This is probably the book that tore my heart apart the most this year. This story is Gary’s autobiography, who grew up in Poland alone with his mother. His mother lived only for her child exerting him to become a genius of some sort. So she made him sing, play the violin, paint and play ping-pong, all of this resulting in nothing. But one day, he starts writing, day and night, and he has a true talent ending with two Prix Goncourt (A renowned French literary prize) later on in his life. This story is amazingly well written, truly transmitting the consequences of the pressure, but at the same time the overflow of love of his mother in his later life. A charming and very underrated book in non-francophone countries.
That is it for today! I hope that you will read one of these books this year and that you will absolutely adore it. Don’t forget to follow my Google + account (I only post book-related and “nerdy” posts) and to go check out my poetry blog (click on it in the side bar). Have a great day and start of this new year! ☜(⌒▽⌒)☞