Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The final reveal: this satire of an American air squadron in the Second World War tops my list of Best Books. I do need to re-read it. I haven’t read it in at least three years, and this makes me feel a little guilty about naming it my favourite book of all time (tied with Neil Gaiman and, who else, Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens). But there have been very few books that have kept me so entertained, made me question principles, caused me to laugh out loud and also had me almost in tears all in a few pages. The characters are all well drawn, Major Major being my favourite (I think, because there’s so many that I treasure). I have to revisit this book to make sure, but I’m pretty sure that it tops my all time best books list.
Thank you for staying with me, and sorry to those who prefer film and travel related content – it’s coming now, no fear. I’ve had a lot of fun with this challenge, though I definitely felt more confident with some prompts than others. If you decide have a go yourself let me know so I can follow it. Cheers guys.
Just and Unjust Wars by Michael Walzer
This was a book hated by my Ethics of War class – a core textbook, everyone had to read it. List a book as compulsory, and it suddenly becomes the most boring book ever written. However, I really enjoyed it. Looking into the ethics of war practices,JaUW confronts moral dilemmas and tries to find a moral acceptable solution. This may sound boring, and to some it is, but Walzer is a eloquent writer, and the subject matter is engaging if you actively confront the ideas and solutions he poses rather than just assuming what he says is correct.
So I recommend this book (as I did when I mentioned it in Day 1). Definitely give it a read if you think ethical puzzles are what your mind is after. For politics students, feel free to ignore it and hope it goes away. I always found this to be a good strategy.
Image credit: Amazon
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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I never did To Kill a Mockingbird at GCSE (I did Silas Marner instead – one guess as to which one I’d have rather studied), so I haven’t dissected this title to death. For me it holds an elusive appeal. It’s so simple, and says everything and nothing about the plot of this incredible book. You know the quote, you know that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird, but is that really what the book is about? Or is it about the redemption of those who could not protect their mockingbird. Is it the slaughtered mockingbird the literally deceased Tom Robinson, or the reclusive Boo Radley, figuratively killed by society’s expectations of both who he is and who he should be?
Am I delving too deep into this? Maybe. Have I completely missed the point? Probably. But it has been a title that has long intrigued me like no other has, resulting in it becoming my favourite.
Image credit: Wikipedia
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
I know it’s a children’s book, but I have never been more surprised by a plot twist than was the case with PoA. Seriously, after all that build up, the book changed into something else and it all made sense. Even now I’m older I have trouble finding the plot holes. If there is one book I wished I didn’t know the ending so I could go back and read afresh, it’s this one.
Sidenote 1: I feel as if I have been defending my love for Harry Potter needlessly. I love Harry Potter, to me it is near flawless, and I don’t care who knows!
Sidenote 2: And seeing as I’m in America at the moment – Happy Independence Day everyone!
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I’m not sure that Margaret Atwood’s acclaimed novel changed my opinions on anything, but I think it challenged them. Or rather, discussing the book with my friends made me challenge myself in what I read into the book. Less cryptically, I’m talking about the end: after all that has gone on before in the dystopian world, we reach the epilogue, and it seems everything is back to normal. However, and this is where the discussions changed my thinking: the world only seems normal because it is similar to the one we live in now. If you look closely at the ending, you still see sexism, still can recognise attitudes that have travelled from the dystopian state to the seemingly ‘corrected’ future. Maybe this sounds a bit deep, but this is a book that really made me question not only what I’d read, but the way we lived now. It was a pretty important book for me, I guess.
Image credit: Kelly Garbato
Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I am not claiming to be Lizzy Bennet. In fact, I’m probably more similar to Mary, as depressing as that is. But her frustration with the world, and her love for behaving the way she wants to behave is something a lot of women can relate to. I think a lot of women would like to be as smart and funny as her, obeying some of societies rules and then disregarding those they felt were ridiculous. I wouldn’t mind having a Mr. Darcy either, but that is something else entirely.
Image credit: Pop Culture is my Life
Moneyball by Michael Lewis
So, so good. I wrote about this book when I was halfway through, also allowing it a quick tweet, and it was good up until the end.
(Please ignore the grammatical error there. My bad.)
Many more people may be familiar with the Oscar-nominated film adaptation, but this is better, baseball fan or not. The problem is, however, that not nearly enough people have read it – I cannot discuss it with anyone apart from my dad (and at some point that grows old). So please fellow book-lovers. Read Moneyball, if only for the sole reason that I have someone to selfishly discuss it with!