This article was inspired by the Let’s Talk Bookish topic hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion and this week (August 20, 2021) comes from Mikaela @ Mikaela Reads, which is:
What is one book everyone MUST read?
Prompts: There are some books that are just required…or at least you personally think they are! Maybe it’s a book that changed your view on everything, or maybe it’s just the BEST vampire book ever written. What book do you try to get everyone in your life to read, even the non-readers?
These are my personal opinions. I do not expect anyone to agree with anything here, and in fact, I’m certain that many will disagree and/or even hate many of the things I’ve written below. Sorry about that, but you are always welcome to express your own opinions – be they contrary or comparable – in the comments section. So, with that out of the way… let the controversy begin!
What made me think about this topic?
As noted above, this topic is from Mikaela @ Mikaela Reads, for Let’s Talk Bookish for the week starting August 20, 2021.
I really don’t believe that there is ONE book that everyone MUST read. Sure there are lots of books out there that I think are significant novels, because their message is one that is evergreen and important. But one that “everyone must” read? I’m not sure if I could say that there really is any single book out there that fits that bill.
When I saw this topic, it occurred to me that different people from different backgrounds would find vastly different books that they think are “must read” novels, and I just don’t see how everyone would, could, or even should agree on just one. Someone who has political leanings in one direction might suggest a book that backs their viewpoint, while someone else who has very differing political leanings would totally disagree with their choice. For example, one person might suggest Anne Frank’s “A Diary of a Young Girl” while someone who denies the Holocaust would balk at that idea. Another person might suggest a book by Ayn Rand, but many people find her books philosophically offensive to them (aside from their being very poorly written, and SO boring – in my opinion). Politics aside, let’s not forget that we all have different tastes, and if one person thinks “Lord of the Rings” is a must read, they’ll have lost me totally, just like I would probably lose them by suggesting “The English Patient” by Michael Ondaatje (which might be my first choice, since it is my all-time, #1 favorite book in the world).
That said, if we don’t read outside our own comfort zones from time to time, we can’t see what is going on outside our own bubbles. However, on the political side, I worry that someone reading a book that has a particular philosophy might not “get” what the author is trying to say with the novel they’ve written. Margaret Atwood is famous for saying about her book, “The Handmaid’s Tale” that she wishes some of today’s politicians would understand that her book is “not a blueprint”! She means by this is that she wishes that some men in power today wouldn’t look at her book and think “hey, what a great idea!” instead of being appalled at the idea of removing total autonomy from women.
On the other hand, if we don’t occasionally try something different, like a genre we don’t usually read, we might be missing out. For example, I know that Greer Macallister‘s next novel isn’t going to be her usual historical fiction, but rather fantasy. Now, my regular readers know that I’m not into fantasy, but you know what? If anyone could get me to enjoy a fantasy novel, Greer can. Similarly, I also don’t usually enjoy psychological thrillers, but I’m hooked on the St. Oswald’s books by Joanne Harris.
So I’m sorry… even though my first instinct was to suggest any number of truly beloved novels that I recommend constantly to anyone and everyone, I don’t think that there exists just ONE book that everyone MUST read (in my oh, so very, humble opinion).
There you have it!
So… what about you?
Do you think there is one book that everyone MUST read?
This post is my 10th entry in the 2021 Discussion Challenge, hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight!