A brief historical context on book reading and its importance
From historical times till today, book reading has been regarded as one of the most highlighted, profound and encouraged passions and hobbies. It has been a common virtue of most of the great minds that you have heard of.
The importance of book reading in historical context can be judged from the fact that in ancient times even before the invention of paper, philosophical, literal and intellectually rich people knew the importance of writing their thoughts and knowledge on other materials so that young and inspiring learners could read them and quench their thirst for knowledge.
Whereas we live in an era where we are fortunate enough to buy any book we want and get it delivered at our doorstep within just a few days’ time, or simply download an ebook on our smartphone or tablet and carry it anywhere for convenient reading, things have not been the same even for people just a few decades back.
There have been times when many people have been known to cover great distances to reach far off lands, just to read and learn from the best available resources of knowledge of their time.
Why is book reading still important?
The activity of book reading activates our cognition to enhance quite a few things in our brain. It helps us in improving vocabulary, concentration levels, thinking process, reading and writing skills. It helps us develop our perception of how we see the outer world and how we can relate our inner world with it.
Either fact or fiction, books can be a great way to learn many things relating to other people’s experience. They provide us with ample amounts of entertainment, fun, enjoyment, knowledge and information.
They also make us look smart and kind of a know-it-all person who can be a perfect example to showcase the proverb that knowledge is power during any conversation with other people.
15 Best books that you should consider buying, reading and gifting to others
While there is a huge variety of books based on their type and genres like fiction, non-fiction, novel, autobiographies, biographies, how-to or do-it-yourself (DIY) guides, academic and research works, literature and poetry etc.; we have here listed our selection of the 15 best books from diversified backgrounds that we think you and anyone else should invest in for owning, reading and gifting.
So let’s begin rolling.
Published in the year 1984 and authored by Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist is a magical story of a teen shepherd who has an intense desire to travel in search of worldly materialistic treasures that anyone has not found before.
Starting from his home town in Spain to his way to the Tangier markets and on to the Egyptian deserts, The Alchemist is a story telling about how our fears are bigger than our challenges and that the first challenge is to overcome fear and how one should not stop from following his intuition to achieve his dreams.
Benjamin Franklin is considered as one of the few persons that played a leading role in the initial years of the American history. Born in the year 1706 and died in 1790, Benjamin Franklin is known for being an author and a publisher, a statesman and a diplomat, a scientist and an inventor.
His book ‘The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin’ is an unfinished book that Benjamin Franklin himself wrote for the years of his life from 1771 to 1790. The book which Benjamin Franklin himself called as his Memoirs, covers vast areas of his achievements, principles and ideas related to wealth and how each person should play his role in the civic development of the society.
Out of the seven books in one of the best-selling and most popular fiction novel series of Harry Potter by the author J.K. Rowling, one of the titles named ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ has by few estimates sold over an approximate number of 120 million copies worldwide, making it not only the most sold book in the Harry Potter series but also marking its place among the best performing fictional character books of all time.
While we can only say that this title covers another of the many expeditions of the series leading character Harry Potter and his friends at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, reading this title alone would not be enough. For complete fun, add reading all seven books in the series in your to-do-list.
First published in the year 1975 and written by an all famous children’s novel writer Roald Dahl, ‘Danny the Champion of the World’ is a story of a family comprising of a father and his son Danny who are very poor, run a mechanic shop with a small filling station and live in a small gypsy caravan.
This story also includes a rich and greedy person who owns a Pheasant farm not far away from them and how the father and son duo plan on a poaching expedition in that farm to rob off its greedy and rude owner.
The novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was authored by Jane Austen and published in the year 1813.
Based much on how the society at that time perceived a couple’s romantic relationship and what restrictions it imposed on such relationships, the story revolves around the main characters of Elizabeth Bennet, a daughter of a country men, and Fitzwilliam Darcy, a wealthy landowner, and their confusing relationship in which Elizabeth is seen as judging Fitzwilliam too early without knowing him properly, and Fitzwilliam who think of himself as being superior to others.
‘The Cold Millions’ is quite a recent novel by a not so old author Jess Walter. The story of the novel is set in the early years of the twentieth century where two orphan brothers begin a journey through cargo trains in search of making up a living which ends in Washington. In Washington, they get involved in a labor rights movement and their story takes the path of dealing with issues like brotherhood, compromise, love and betrayal that one could imagine in those days.
‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ is a novel by Mark Twain and was published in December of 1884.
The novel is known for being banned soon after its first publication on the opinion of the concerned authorities that believed this novel to contain elements of racism, rubbish and inelegant facts, inaccurate events and unsound mindedness.
The actual plot of the novel is the story of a young boy who escapes his home in search of adventure and freedom. The novel also highlights issues like giving unequal rights to black people, treating them as slaves and white supremacy.
‘Alice Adventures in Wonderland’ or ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is perhaps one of the most famous classical novels of all time that has been published as an illustrative book for children story time, and also filmed as cartoons and movies.
Originally published in 1865 and written by the English author Lewis Carroll, it is a story of a young girl named Alice who somehow ends up in a wonderland where normal things turn into strange adventures.
Published in 1982 and written by Alice Walker, the novel ‘The Color Purple’ is well known for achieving multiple literary awards like Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction in 1983.
The novel discusses feminism topics and how an uneducated and harassed African American woman stands firm in her struggle to achieve empowerment and bring an end to anything that suppresses feminism.
‘A Tale of Two Cities’ is undoubtedly one of the most acclaimed and historical works by one of the most accomplished novel writers of English language, Charles Dickens.
Originally published in the year 1859, the novel is set in the cities of London and Paris discussing events occurring before and during the American and French Revolution. Its basic theme revolves around the idea of how the worst conditions in the economic and political scenarios can give rise to revolutionary movements.
11. The Kite Runner
‘The Kite Runner’ is also one famous but not so old novel just published in the year 2003 and written by an Afghan-American author Khaled Hossaini.
The book encompasses a sad and mesmerizing story of a friendship between the son of the servant of a wealthy person and the son of the wealthy person himself.
Set out in the most painful period of Afghan history where it is being damaged in multiple ways, the story of ‘The Kite Runner’ explains how situations like betrayal, love, sacrifice and family can affect many things in someone’s life.
12. Life of Pi
‘Life of Pi’ is a novel by Yann Martel, published in the year 2001. Aside from being a novel, the story has also been made into a movie.
The story of the novel begins when a couple sells their zoo in India and plan on to move to Canada with all their animals. But on their way, they meet a fatal storm which sinks their ship and everything onboard. Luckily, their teenage son Pi and a fierce Bengal tiger are able to make it to a lifeboat.
The main theme of the story encircles on how sometimes in life people need to make hard adjustments in order to survive with each other.
13. All About Love
‘All About Love’ is a book by the famous activist on social and feminism issues, Bell Hooks. It was published in December of 1999.
The book actually shares the author’s personal and emphatic account of her thoughts on love. She says that while many of us believe that love happens on its own naturally, it is not true always. According to her, it is our motivation and acts which help us in making a choice about love and its importance in our lives. With clear explanatory examples, she has tried to educate her readers on how our society and surroundings alters the definition of love.
14. Sherlock Holmes
‘Sherlock Holmes’ is a series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that comprises 56 short stories and 4 novels.
Sherlock Holmes is itself the main character of the entire series that plays the role of a fictional private detective or consulting detective as he calls himself to be.
Sherlock Holmes has the unmatched talent of solving the most critical and mysterious nature crimes with his keen and in-depth observation skills, his knowledge of practically applying forensic science and his ability to deploy rationality over emotional distractions.
The series of Sherlock Holmes is considered by many experts as one of the best written works of fictional story-telling with regards to mysterious crime solving that involves detective work. Sherlock Holmes has also been made into movies and TV series.
‘The Grapes of Wrath’ is a story that narrates the harsh and sad reality that migrants and poor people in America go-through. Especially focusing on how landowners pay poor wages while also using their power to influence the demand and supply principles of balance for any commodity.
The novel was written by John Steinbeck and published in 1939. While the novel has won awards like Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award, as well as the author himself being awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962, the novel ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ has also faced criticism from unions like ‘The Associated Farmers of California’ which caused the novel to be banned for some time.
While we have mentioned on the historical context of book reading and how in modern times it stills benefits its readers in the opening lines of this article, we are sure that our selection of the 15 best books that everyone should at least read once in their life will help you to begin a new commitment of acquiring knowledge through book reading in your life.