Must Read Books
The Grapes Of Wrath
Written by John Steinbeck and regarded as one of his finest works, this book is an absolute classic of American fiction. The story is based on the Joad family from Oklahoma who are fleeing the dust bowl that has engulfed their farm. They are journeying to California, lured by the prospects of plentiful work but life becomes a lot tougher then they could ever have imagined. What makes this book so brilliant is Steinbeck’s crafting of all the characters and their interactions with each other, from the sturdy leadership provided by Pa Joad and a preacher, Jim Casey. The book is a great story full of Steinbeck’s classic imagery techniques, but it is also a great insight into the harsh realities of hopes and dreams in depression struck America.
The Great Gatsby
While both The Great Gatsby and “The Grapes of Wrath” focus on similar time periods, the books could not be more different- “The Great Gatsby”, written by F Scott Fitzgerald focuses on New York high society in the roaring 1920’s. The narrator of the story is Nick Carraway who has returned to New York to learn the bond business, but he lives near a fabulously wealthy neighbour named Jay Gatsby, who throws lavish parties. However he socialises with his cousin Daisy and her husband Tom- however Tom is having an affair and Daisy and Gatsby know each other from long ago. A tragic romance ensues and Nick is left to pick up the pieces.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The adventures of Tom Sawyer were written by Mark Twain, and are regarded as a classic piece of American literature, but they also make great leisure reading. The story is set in the 1840’s along the Mississippi River in the town of St Petersburg. Tom is a mischievous boy who meets Huckleberry Finn or “Huck”, the son of the town drunk. However they both have adventurous spirits and embark on a series of adventures together, including searching for buried treasure, going off to become pirates and even saving an innocent man who is accused of murder.
While all of the books in the list so far have been written by American Authors, 1984 was written by Eric Blair under the pseudonym George Orwell. The story is set in a futuristic world, in which the inhabitants of “Airstrip One” previously England are subjected to stringent levels of surveillance and control. However Winston Smith is smarter than most of the population and seeks to overthrow the government, but will he succeed?
I hope you enjoy these texts as much as I did – I really believe they are some of the best books to read out there.