Prepare for some #controversy…
The first book you absolutely need to read in your lifetime isn’t even technically an “adult” book.
A friend gave it to me once, as a gift. I’d barely unwrapped it before she said; “Don’t judge it by the cover. It will change your life.”
I didn’t believe her. Until I picked up Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr Suess, and I read it.
Its message is simple. Its delivery is perfect. It transcends age, race, gender and class. It should be drummed into our brains, written into our anthem, memorised and re-read, over and over.
Then I asked friends, colleagues, neighbours, and family: what’s next on the list? What other books can change my life? In no particular order…
1. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson.
The brilliant story of 99 year old who climbs out of the window at his retirement home to avoid his 100th birthday party.
2. Looking for Alibrandi- Melina Marchetta.
One girl’s story of her final year at school, a year she sets herself free. We were all Josephine Alibrandi.
3. Life of Pi – Yann Martel.
This novel tells the story of a 16-year-old Indian boy who is shipwrecked in the Pacific and survives 227 days at sea in the company of a Bengal tiger. The big reveal at the end leaves you with SO many questions.
4. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen.
It’s a classic novel of manners, upbringing, morality and marriage. The language is bloody hard to get into but worth it.
5. Cloudstreet – Tim Winton.
The funny, sprawling saga is an epic novel of love and acceptance. And it won the Miles Franklin award so you can’t go wrong.
6. Possum Magic – Mem Fox.
This classic Aussie kids book about the adventures Hush and Grandma Poss is a must read no matter what your age.
7. The Great Gatsby – F.Scott Fitzgerald.
You’ve probably seen the movie so now it’s time to read the book. It’s all about decadence, idealism, social upheaval and excess in the Roaring Twenties.
8. The Light Between Oceans – M.L Stedman.
A heart-wrenching work that is sure to stay with you weeks after finishing it.
9. Jasper Jones – Craig Silvey.
This Australian coming-of-age novel is thoughtful, funny, heartbreaking and brilliantly written.
10. Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides.
This Pulitzer Prize winner is considered the next Great American Novel.
11. Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris.
A collection of essays that are weird and wonderfully funny.
12. Bossypants – Tina Fey.
This book is a feisty blend of humour, introspection, and power thinking for a new generation of women.
13. My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult.
This sob-fest of a book examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, and a good person.
14. We Need To Talk about Kevin – Lionel Shriver.
Written from the perspective of mother Eva, it documents her attempt to come to terms with her evil son Kevin.
15. The Bronze Horseman- Paullina Simons.
A romance novel that was so good I excused myself in the middle of a dinner party to read it in the toilet.
16. On The Road – Jack Kerouac.
This tale of the ultimate road trip is considered a defining work of post-war America.
17. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Steig Larsson.
This gripping crime novel had the world captivated for a very good reason.