1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

I’m really trying to appear impartial within this book review, and present an unbiased, non hysterical stance towards this novel, but I simply can’t. It’s every bookworm’s holy grail. This novel teaches you about the alchemy of life. It’s the kind of book that you absent mindedly quote from, and specific lines start becoming your motto. It’s the kind of book you can’t put down, so you walk into poles kind of book. You might even find yourself getting parts of the novel tattooed to your body. I ain’t kidding. The knowledge inside of it is enough to motivate you to get out of bed, and get your ‘eggs in order’. It’s enough to stop you from moping and start conquering again.  It’s everything to strengthen who you are and prepare you for the life ahead. It will not disappoint you. Uh uh.

2. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“Racism should never have happened and, so you don’t get a cookie for reducing it.”

This is an incredibly thoughtful piece, an exploration of societal disparities, gender roles, oppressive structures and the idea of ‘home’. Chimamanda is unapologetic, if anything her words are power. Read this novel, to challenge your perceptions and engage with the ever present issue of being an ‘other’. If this hasn’t swayed you…Beyonce likes Chimamanda enough to have placed an excerpt of her TEDX speech in her music. That should tell you enough.

3. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

“I can be a regular bitch. Just try me.”

Read the novel, before you see the movie. And if that’s truly a painful suggestion, then watch the Swedish version first. Author, Stieg Larsson outdid himself on this one. This is a brilliant novel, that gives you subtle insights into venal, brutally macabre minds. Fearsomely intelligent and emotionally stranded Lisbeth, an angry punk hacker, will become your new anti- hero. Note: Specific paragraphs will haunt you forever. Also, this is a labyrinth of a thriller, so get ready for a mind f*@k.

4. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

“If you don’t like my story,write your own”

Pull out a warm blankie, a tub of Häagen-Dazs or its equivalent and sit in front of a fireplace/ heater. If unable to do so, draw a picture of a fireplace and sit in front of it.  This is a melancholic, utterly absorbing novel. To quote Reviewer,  Mark Thwaite, “Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is a beautiful novel – as an extended metaphor for African despoliation, life and politics it works wonderfully…”

This novel is the first part of a trilogy, and if you’re all about looking well read, then remember this piece of info:  This was one of the first African novels to gain worldwide recognition. Years later it still remains one of the greatest novels about the colonial era.

5. Ulysses by James Joyce

Think you’re escaping and run into yourself.”

Finally, Ulysses. This novel is great to show off with. The minute that you declare that you have read this to any English Major student, they will either offer you a cigarette as a token of respect or will consider the activity of ‘naps’ should they find you mildly do-able. I know this sounds offensive, but I’m trying to convey the gravity of such a feat. To actually open, and willingly read through the entire novel of Ulysses is blooming commendable. The Novel is honestly just one hell of a nightmare to comprehend, but once accomplished you can place yourself amongst the ranks of bookish snobs that look down upon  the ‘unenlightened’ few who they presume can’t pronounce the Joycean title… So there, read the novel. Be a snob.

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