Must Read Books for this Weekend

Munira Fidai takes one very wonderful thing about literature is its ever-evolving nature. The style of writing, according to the context, is so pertinent to the era that a good novel from the early 90s may actually make you dream in black and white and sepia. Munira takes a trip down each era for some must reads of that time.

 

To Kill a MockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird: Set in the 1930s, in the time of The Great Depression, when racism was at its peak and rights for people of colour was more of an idea than anything else, this book by Harper Lee was an anomaly of its time. The charismatic Atticus Finch who became the epitome of morality for all time, the innocence of Jem and Scout Finch and the conflict between right and wrong in the face of deadly discrimination all make for a compelling, thought-provoking tale of sheer grit and a basic acceptance of people as they are. It’s a book of plot twists and so much subtext that one can get something new out of it each time they read it!
Available on e-books.


Valley of the DollsValley of the Dolls: Written by Jacqueline Susann, Valley of the Dolls addresses the problem of substance abuse among women of the socially elite class. The plot centers around 3 women and their gradual rise to powerful positions. Each one of these women has untold horrors in her past that they choose to suppress in the form of “little red dolls” a euphemism for anti-depressants and artificial stimulant pills. The pills are symbolic of the sort of comfort children find in dolls. Groove Press calls this book “An All-Time Pop Culture Classic.”
Available on e-books.


CarrieCarrie: Are you fond of nightmares? Stephen King’s first ever, fairly graphic novel Carrie, both pleased and upset readers in turns. It was often on the list of banned books for its truly horrific and vengeful content. Carrieta or Carrie, the antagonist, was a tormented soul, both at home and in school. However, she possessed telekinetic abilities that she honed in secret, but had never thought to use- all until her high school prom night when a prank goes horribly wrong and pushes her over the edge. A story of suppression and exacting revenge, Carrie is a powerfully gripping novel with various movie renditions to its name.
Available at BoiBichitra and on e-books.


Love StoryLove Story: Not your regular romance novel, Erich Segal’s Love Story is a mix of humor, romance and tragedy. Set in the 70s, a romance blooms between two unlikely souls, Jennifer and Olliver. Without parental approval, the couple sever ties with their families and start on a journey of struggle and strife. The story depicts the early life of the couple and interweaves love and romance in the most mundane parts of their lives. Tragedy strikes in the form of leukemia for Jennifer who teaches Ollie a lot about love and life through her illness and journey towards death. Be sure to buy only one copy, because as legend goes, there should only be one Love Story in your life!
Available on e-books.


The AlchemistThe Alchemist: Published in 1988, The Alchemist is a jewel on Brazilian writer Paolo Coelho’s crown. Set in Andalusia, the story centers around a shepherd called Santiago who dreams of hidden treasures recurrently and decides to embark upon a search for it. He chances to meet guides along his quest and learns valuable life lessons in the process. An allegorical tale packed with philosophical eye openers, this book is all about taking chances and listening to your heart. Warning- You may question everything in your life for a while and that may not be a bad thing at all!
Available at BoiBichitra and on e-books.


The BFGThe BFG: Written by Roald Dahl, The BFG is a children’s story book that gained a lot of popularity in the 1980s. A fun, light read, the book revolves around two central characters, The Big Friendly Giant or The BFG and Sophie. They become friends, go on adventures and overcome hurdles together. The story ends with the BFG and Sophie managing to lock the bad giants up with the help of the Queen of England! While in turns being funny and sweet, the book is filled with illustrations making it one of the classics of Roald Dahl.
Available at Boi Bichitra and on e-books.


The Harry Potter SeriesThe Harry Potter Series: If you don’t have an addiction yet, take the bait. The seven-book series by JK Rowling inspired one of the biggest fandom groups in the world, alongside the likes of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings worshipers. The Harry Potter series revolves around Harry Potter and his journey to beat the most evil wizard in the world. Orphaned when he was a baby, Harry faces tough choices between what’s easy and what’s right, learns the significance of lasting love and the undeniable value of good friends. With staunch supporters at his side, Harry not only wins the hearts of millions around the wizarding world, but also has us Muggles (non-magic people) craving for just one letter to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!
Available at Boi Bichitra and on e-books.


The God of Small ThingsThe God of Small Things: Written by Indian author, Arundhati Roy, God of Small Things is a somewhat heavy read. Set in Kerala, the book delves into taboo and near taboo subjects like extramarital affairs and the ever-controversial caste system in India. Estha and Rahel, fraternal twins share a turbulent past, one where Estha sees estrangement from his own father, both twins witness an extramarital affair between their mother and a man from a lower caste, their cousin’s death and a whole lot of guilt. They are separated in the later years of their lives and their reunion takes a sexual form. The book is pregnant with issues from India’s most forbidden subjects but proves a thought provoking novel.
Available at Boi Bichitra and on e-books.


Brick LaneBrick Lane: A Bangali author Monica Ali created some ripples in the literature scene of the early 2000s when she wrote Brick Lane, a novel describing the life of the Bangladeshi-Sylheti community in East London, England. The central character is a young woman by the name of Nazneen who goes to London to get married to an older man, Chanu. It describes the struggles faced by a girl unaccustomed to the socio-cultural weather of the West and her journey forward. The accurate, pinpoint depictions of her struggles adjusting to life, through her letters to her sister Hasina back in Bangladesh, brings to light, the very real struggles of the Bangali community there. A good read, the book contains a lot of subtext that you may want to chew on, before watching the movie.
Available on e-books. 


The Book ThiefThe Book Thief: Set in the turbulent times of World War II, the story revolves around a little girl, Liesel Meminger and her world of very basic pleasures. She has a set of foster parents, a friend and an insatiable thirst for books. The story involves losing and meeting loved ones along the way as Liesel uncannily cheats death more than once throughout her life. The savior of her sanity in times of such turmoil is her ability to read, and she selflessly shares the same pleasure with others to distract them from almost inevitable death. A fair warning- this one is more than a tear jerker, it’s a soul crusher.
Available on e-books.

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