Books line the pathways of life. Books illuminate the lost arks of the world around us. Books can open your mind, as they can close them to certain things too. Words can teach you things a shrink never could and a picture can illustrate a story so lost in the matrix, it solved the problem you never knew you had. Everyone needs to be able to read, every child should be enlightened, every adult should be humbled. Nothing is better than the joy of reading a story for the first time.
1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Timeless, effortless and infinitely beautiful. There is nothing that we can’t learn from Miss Bennet and her fight for doing what is right by her heart. I would like nothing more than to hug that fictional beauty and thank her for her almost blind feminism and heroism towards her family. All characters love blindly, protect fiercely and eventually overcome what is most damaging to them – literally losing their pride and overcoming prejudice.
2. Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
Heartbreak, loss and shortcomings. This books has it all. At points it is classic Hardy, torturous and sad and everything in between, but somehow it all works out in the end. There is murder, misogyny and downright patriarchal outrage, but it still embodies everything that is true and good in this world – hope. The strong female lead of the higher class with a strong character finally ensnares the stubborn farmer with the loving heart. The ending, however soft for Hardy, makes you melt at the edges, for everyone is finally happy. No catch. Just love.
3. War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy
This book illustrates strong topics that are not airhead issues, these are deep philosophical problems which greatly burden the characters and illuminate parts of their characters that make up one amazing human being. They feel so deeply, so so intensely – be it religion, love or the need to fight for what they believe is right. I love that each character has the ability to love another so wholeheartedly despite any tragedy they are presented with – they are the true embodiment of what we need the world to become. True. Hopeful. Loving and most importantly, not without fault.
4. Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
Oh Heathcliff. You beautifully lost man, how you love and grieve and fight for those who make your heart sing. A tale so tragic can truly illuminate the colours of people around you, fictional or physical – love and heartbreak show your priorities and his was, as it would always remain, to be Cathy. As the passionate tortured romantic hero, his self destruction ricocheted to those surrounding him. Family remains paramount and love reigns superior to all, which is something we could take in hand with the way this world is going.
5. Grimm’s Fairytales – Wilhelm Grimm
All if the stories are true. The good, the bad and the ugly. The fairy tales we know, love and watch, complete with animals and singing short haired beauty were in fact far more gruesome. The Little Mermaid lost to suicide, Little Red went into taxidermy and Sleeping Beauty was defiled an outcast due to infidelity. Turns out Disney did us all a favour – for the dreams we consider as just that are in-fact nightmares. And not the ones before Christmas.