“A great book should leave you with many experiences and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading,” said William Styron, the American novelist. This one sentence explains the main reasons why many enjoy reading and why everybody should do so.
Every book, in its uniqueness, opens the doors into a whole new universe and a different mind. If you don’t want to miss your chance to explore them, you should head to the nearest store and get yourself several books to start with. Read on and check out our list of recommended books to read for beginners.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Paulo Coelho is one of the most celebrated living authors today. He was born in Rio De Janeiro and had a rather exciting (and at times challenging) life. Aside from being a novelist, he was an actor, theatre director, and journalist. Simultaneously, he composed lyrics for some of the famous Brazilian singers and bands of that time.
Today, he is most famous for his books, among which is “The Alchemist.” Since it has sold more than 150 million copies, this book is Coelho’s most popular one. It was first published in 1988 and, almost a decade later, reached the audience worldwide.
“The Alchemist” is an allegorical story about a young Andalusian shepherd named Santiago. After experiencing the same dream over and over again, he decides to visit a fortune teller. She tells him to go to Egypt and seek hidden treasure at the pyramids, and his journey begins.
Santiago will encounter many obstacles during his long journey, run into robbers, meet the love of his life, and so on. Also, he will learn many lessons taught by the alchemist he encounters at one point.
But no matter how it sounds, the Alchemist isn’t just an adventure story. It’s an allegorical description of the person’s journey to discovering oneself. The book’s central message can be explained in a single quote: When you really want something to happen, the whole universe will conspire so that your wish comes true.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
If you’re more into controversial books, Lolita by Nabokov seems like a suitable choice. This novel attracted much attention when it was first published in 1955. That comes as no surprise considering the central topic — a sexual, pathological relationship between a young girl, Lolita, and a middle-aged man.
Vladimir Nabokov was a Russian-American novelist and poet. He used to be a professor at several American universities and colleges, including Cornell University. For a long time, he was known only by his pen name Vladimir Sirin. Needless to say, he was a bit paranoid and scared about losing his job when he decided to publish his (in)famous novel.
The book follows the story of Dolores Haze, a young girl born in America, and Humbert, a middle-aged professor of French literature. Their relationship starts when Humbert rants a room at Lolita’s house. Later, he will marry her mother only to get closer to the object of his desire. After her mother dies, Humbert will become Lolita’s guardian and initiate a sexual relationship.
As you can see, the novel has a pretty controversial topic — pedophilia and the sexual exploitation of a young girl. As a result, it was often described as disgusting and repellent. However, “Lolita” has the status of an all-time classic, and for many reasons. Hence, if you think you can manage it, you should give it a try.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Everyone knows the exciting story of a young girl Alice who accidentally enters Wonderland and experiences many adventures in this imaginary world. Most of us have at least watched Tim Burton’s movie of the same title. However, many people never read the original books.
“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” is an all-time classic written by Lewis Carroll. He was an English teacher, novelist, mathematician, and philosopher. Despite taking an interest in maths, Carroll was known for children’s fiction novels. He used to play with logic in many of his books and create fantasy worlds, like the one we’ll see in his most popular novel.
The story begins with Alice sitting next to her sister on the riverbank. When she sees the strange rabbit wearing clothes and carrying a pocket watch, she runs after him. Soon later, she’ll fall down the rabbit hole and find herself in an unfamiliar place.
As the story continues, Alice enters Wonderland and encounters many strange creators, mainly anthropomorphic ones. She will experience many adventures, make some friendships, and hear many interesting stories.
So, if you’re a fan of fantasy, you can start by reading the original “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” book. It’s an interesting and exciting story perfect for creating a reading habit.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
If you’ve seen “The Great Gatsby” movie starring Leonardo di Caprio and liked it, you can also give the book a try. This novel is also an ideal choice for fans of the Jazz Age in America. After all, it’s a classic written by the most famous American writer of the 20th century. So, you won’t make a mistake with choosing it.
The story takes place in a village located in Long Island and follows several different characters. The main ones are Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby, an American multi-millionaire. What’s unusual about Gatsby is that he regularly hosts parties on his luxury estate but doesn’t participate in them. Nick, who has just rented the bungalow next to Gatsby’s estate, notices it and becomes curious.
Since the story starts several years after World War I, it tells us how the war transformed American society. Simultaneously, the author deals with several intriguing and omnipresent issues and topics — social classes, the matter of race, human sexuality, and so on.
Reading this book will make you think about various problems this world’s been dealing with. At the same time, it will reveal the aspects of an entirely different period when the idea of the American Dream was much more alive.
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
J.D. Salinger is an American novelist known mostly for his masterpiece — “The Catcher in the Rye.” In many of his books and stories, Salinger tells us stories about young people struggling during their path to becoming functional adults.
So, like many other Salinger’s books, “Catcher in the Rye” describes the thoughts, doubts, and depressive state of mind of a young boy called Holden Caulfield. The story begins in an institution of some sort in California, where Holden’s waiting to get discharged. At that point, he has a plan about what to do next and where to go.
Later, his journey will get a bit complicated as he continually makes impulsive decisions, followed by random outcomes and situations. He’ll have many strange conversations with various people and try to deal with his general disappointment in life in any way he can.
“The Catcher in the Rye” is an excellent story many people can relate to. It’s an ideal choice for those who are familiar with the feelings of hopelessness and disappointment. And even if you’re not, you may enter Holden’s mind and learn that you should never judge the book by its cover!