For my first set of book recommendations, I thought I would start with a couple of my favourite novels that span a range of genres.
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart has been one of my favourite novels for many years. The book introduces a patriarchal, primitive society during the pre and post-colonisation eras of the Ibo in West Africa. The novel follows Okonkwo and his family, as they attempt to adapt to - or resist - the evolving society around them. The personal struggles Okonkwo faces as the world he knows begins falling apart aregripping, and the reader’s opinion of the characters constantly swings back and forth. Achebe’s rich storytelling, with fascinating hooks and characterisation, hooks the reader to the text; Things Fall Apart is a masterpiece which surprises you with every re-read.
The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss
This first-person view novel tells the story of Kvothe, a gifted young child as he grows to become one of the most notorious wizards in the land. Rothfuss has infused fantasy with beautiful writing - his poetry and prose breathe magic into every scene. As Kvothe recalls his story to a bard, we become introduced to a vivid, magical world, full of both relatable events and surrealistic beings and tales. It is a page-turning novel, and Kvothe will soon become one of your favourite characters. Finally, as an added bonus, the book is the first of a trilogy, and the second book only reinforces Rothfuss’ place as a master fantasy storyteller.
Neither Here Nor There - Bill Bryson
As far as Bryson’s travel books go, Neither Here Nor There is not always considered one of the best. One of his earlier novels, the humour and plot are often argued to be not as integrated and comprehensive as in his later texts. However, as one of my first introductions to Bryson’s writing, Neither Here Nor There will always be my favourite. In it, Bryson chronicles his trip through Europe, while pulling anecdotes from a similar trip he undertook as a student with his friend Stephen Katz. His stories reflect every young person’s dream of a European roadtrip-type journey, and his ingenious humour and writing truly reflect the difference in each country’s cultures, peoples, and histories.
These books can fit for all, and can easily earn a permanent place on everyone’s bookshelves.