Very few things can ever be ‘must-buy’ products. I’m one of those people that needs to own a tactile copy of the things that I love dearly, and this normally applies to books and CDs/records. When it comes to books, I will buy a book that I’ve already read just so I can own it and always have it nearby to thumb through on boring afternoons. For me, there are certain books that I’m keenly looking out for or already own because they left such a huge impact on me when I first read them. The books that I would recommend everyone grabs, or at least borrows from the library, are (in no particular order):
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery – A kids’ tale that applies to absolutely everyone, no matter what your circumstances. I think I read this book around three years ago, and it’s still something I recommend as soon as I have the opportunity to do so. It’s basically a simple allegorical and philosophical tale, of a little boy’s adventures across the universe simply to find some answers. Along the way, he encounters a stranded pilot in the middle of the Saharan Desert, and they become the most unlikely of friends. For a little insight into the life and works of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the writer of this book, look here.
- 1984 by George Orwell – If there’s one classic you’re willing to tackle, this is it. Many people are put off reading classics, fearing that they’ll be dense and demanding to get through. This book, however, questions all the confusing and hidden elements of government and control, painting a picture of a dystopia. Orwell’s 1948 vision of 1984 is convincing and gripping, almost prophetic in its identification of modern problems. This is a book which I’m keen to revisit since every time, I pick up a new parallel between Orwell’s vision and today’s happenings.
- Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl – Possibly one of the greatest short story writers of all time, in this collection Dahl masters the art of haunting, simple stories with messages that resonate with all ages. Since the book is a compilation of short stories, it’s easy to revisit time and time again, especially when it comes to seeking inspiration for how to write your own short stories with great twists and turns.
- Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton – This book is quite different from all the others on the list in the fact that it is a non-fiction book. ‘Consolations’ tackles five major topics, Unpopularity (through the experiences of Socrates), Not Having Enough Money (from Epicurus’ lifestyle), Frustration (seen through Seneca’s philosophies), Inadequacy (through Montaigne’s wit), having a Broken Heart (Schopenhauer’s wisdom) and finally, Difficulties (from Nietzsche, who certainly knew a lot about this topic). All these issues are things that keep cropping up in your life, no matter how prepared you see yourself, which is why I feel it’s useful to always have a copy of it around your house somewhere.