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Top 7 Book Recommendations by TILISMA

As they fairly say, Albert Camus is the best writer among philosophers and the best philosopher among writers. His literary cannon is quite short but has a significant weight and importance. Camus is one of the most influential authors of the 20th century.

His novel, “The Plague” was published in 1947. It raises a number of questions, related to the nature of destiny and the human condition. Regardless, the novel is an allusion. It echoes the time and is relevant to the epoch it was written in, as well as reflects modern days. Today’s world is a good example of it, as during the CoronaVirus pandemic and panic, “The Plague” turns out to be a new bestseller in Europe.

Camus was a French-Algerian author and tells the story of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. After the virus spreads and the city gets locked down, the new reality completely changes its rhythm. It alters the attitude towards life, people, future. However, it is not the main point of this book. In fact, it is an allusion to the nazism, as one of the deadliest “viruses” in the history of humankind. It is obvious, the plague backs up in the end of the novel and the city gets opened, just like the world was “cured” from Nazism. However, the protagonist doctor knows that bacillus has not disappeared, and the plague can always return like the evil.

Since the day it was published, “The Catcher in the Rye” has been one of the most influential and favorite books for the adults, especially for those with the rebellious spirit. It’s hard to explain its magic, yet, after reading it, the story of the “catcher” never leaves us and compels us to return to this amazing story over and over. As in the end of the novel the narrator states, we will always miss all the characters, even the secondary ones.

The book follows teenage protagonist, Holden Caulfield as he recounts the events of his Christmas break. Holden is a very special boy, he is not an ordinary character, he doesn’t need a reason to rebel, he is tired of ignorance and phoniness of the adult world. His nature is so pure, the phoniness never goes unnoticed for him. The reader relates to Holden’s struggle to live in harmony with the world with its own rules. Holden represents the attempt to shelter kids from growing up, and on a more personal level, he portrays his desire to avoid the harshness of adult life. As a result, he has become an icon of the teenage rebellion.

His path from high school back to his home is one of the biggest “Odysseys” ever written.

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” – this is the slogan that shook the whole world to its core and awakened it.

“Animal Farm”, by far the best piece by George Orwell, is an allegorical novella about the Russian Revolution of 1917 and further, about the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union. The book tells the story of a group of farm animals who rebel against their human farmer, hoping to create a society where the animals can be equal, free, and content.

“Animal Farm” is an important and interesting story for children, as they read a strange fairy tale about domestic animals in the farm. It is also fascinating for grown-ups, as they see themselves in those animals while understanding that under totalitarian system, “all men are equal, but some men are more equal than others”,

For those who ever lived in the Soviet Union, fabrication of the history comes as no surprise – declaring the hero as a traitor and vice versa, replacing the truth by the lies, and experiencing constant violence and intimidation.

Orwell, a democratic socialist, was a critic of Joseph Stalin and hostile to Moscow-directed Stalinism. It is worth mentioning that the book was written in the period of World War II when Orwell’s homeland, the UK was fighting alongside the Soviet Union against Fascist Germany. So, it was a brave and unpopular move by English author to criticize Stalin’s regime while almost all the world’s critics were against Hitler’s Nazi regime. But apparently, Orwell turned out to be right.

The book was published in 1945, a few months after the end of the great war, while Stalin was admired for cooperating in the defeat of Nazism. That was the reason why some publishing houses refused to print Animal Farm. But thereafter, during the cold war, when the reality was changed and time was altered, the novel became the bestseller. George Orwell’s text was appreciated for its worth, as it was supposed to initially.

Mark Twain is famous for his sense of humor and children’s books, but once we get familiar with his work, we come to realize, children’s writer is the last thing he is. One of his most famous novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is often the first book we read as children. It would be thoughtful to continue this tradition, as its content is simply genius and should never be neglected. Mark Twain created two fictional boys, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, who still seem more real than most of the people we know. Maybe they are one of the most memorable duos in the history of literature. Their story never gets old and neither does it ever leave a reader’s heart.

“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” is not merely a literary classic. It is part of the American imagination. It established America’s vision of childhood more than any other work. It is the story about the boy, Tom Sawyer who is growing up along the Mississippi River in the USA during the first half of the 19th century, and whose daily life is full of some awesome adventures. The novel has elements of humor, satire and social criticism – features that later made Mark Twain one of the most important authors of all time worldwide. The story contains the elements of friendship, love, kindness, sincerity, naivety, competitive spirit and hope.    

But somehow during its long leaving memory, the novel came up against censorship. Some people found Mr. Sawyer to be a “questionable” protagonist in terms of his moral character, whereas, others thought Twain’s vocabulary and frequent usage of racist terminology could not be acceptable. Of course, it’s wrong to see racism or any other negative values in this book. Instead, its actual worth and value is a representation of the real life of those days. Banning an art or even a book is not acceptable in the modern world. Yet, this discussion tells us how immortal and important Mark Twain’s work and impact is. 

The greatest of all books, “Odyssey” is often referred to as the mother of European literature. If, as they say, all Western philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato, it could also be said that all Western literature is a series of spinoffs from Homer.  Odyssey along with Iliad, casts a long shadow even in the times of Athens’ Golden Age, roughly the 2nd half of the 5th century BC, and their influence is still felt today in poetry, novels, theatre, and films.

As the first Ancient Greek epic poem, it was written by Homer, as a sequel to Iliad. The poem is mythological, not historical. “Odyssey” mainly focuses on the Greek hero Odysseus, the King of Ithaca, and his journey back home after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years to reach Ithaca after a ten-year Trojan War.

His amazing journey could be perceived as a rousing adventure story on the one hand, and as a timeless metaphor for a spiritual quest on the other. That’s the reason why, until this day, a lot of authors try to use its fabula and the idea of returning home after a long absence. The story never gets old, that’s its magic.

It’s not surprising at all that “Odyssey” is equally popular among children, adults and adolescents. Everyone finds what they search for inside of it.

George R.R. Martin’s series of epic fantasy novels “The Song of Ice and Fire” is a game-changer book. It’s true that its popularity mainly comes from TV series called Game of Thrones by HBO, but the critics and lovers of that fantasy know that it’s never reached such a level of fame before. 

The story is full of fantasy-like mystical creatures, characters from mythology, magic, dragons, Prophecy, promised heroes, etc. We can encounter the cities, clothing, weapons, heroes, strongholds, conflicts, and religious practices characterized to the middle ages. 

The atmosphere is fantastic, the storyline is dynamic, the magic is mysterious, the secrets are fascinating, the text is easy to read, but the most captivating is GRR Martin’s never-seen-before character development. He worked so hard on his protagonists, as well as the secondary characters that it makes it almost unbelievable that one person created such a unique world with numerous individuals with their own stories – past, present, motives and future plans.

With this excellent skill, Martin made it possible for nearly all the characters to have their own line of development. Each of their moves is defined by their past and present motives. This is why every reader with different taste has his/her favorite character, sometimes more than one. The story is so sophisticated, dynamic, and changes so dramatically, it is too hard to take your eyes off the page. The book has no main character – someone who is the most important in one chapter, can turn out to be dead in the next one. This is what leaves the readers shocked, since they are used to the traditional development of the plot, when main characters never die, or good wins over the evil. The fact is, there is neither good nor evil in Martin’s books, everyone has one’s own reasons. Each of them act upon their own beliefs, as the kindness and truth, in their minds, are conditional notions.

Promise that Martin has made about the sixth book set to publish until the end of 2020 comes with a sad realization. Considering how much time he takes to write, expectation of the seventh book which is known to be his last of the masterpieces could be too much to bear.

Ernest Hemingway is an amazing and extremely popular author. In his early years, he was working as a journalist. His job impacted his famous economical and understated writing style. Hemingway was truly a productive author. He was a World War I veteran and some of his works were influenced by those years’ experiences. It is true that Hemingway is known for his lengthy novels, and we are aware that he received the Nobel Prize for his work “The Old Man and the Sea”. However, the real bookworms know that his magical writing powers lay among his short stories. 

The writer’s depiction of the human experience, his use of satire, and the everlasting themes of death, friendship, and the purpose of life have contributed to make “The Killers” one of Hemingway’s most famous and frequently anthologized short stories.

It was written in the end of 1920s, when organized crime was at its peak in times of Prohibition. How much Hemingway received for the literary piece is unknown, but some sources state it was $200, which was a huge amount of money for a young author at the time.

The basic plot of the story follows the time in which it develops and involves a pair of criminals who are searching for the third guy. Yet, the plot is not as important as the style of writing and narrative itself. “The Killers” is very short. It only includes short dialogues, hardly any plot, and no character development. It fits Hemingway’s style exactly, which is the reason for its greatness. A reason why his minimalistic approach influenced American writing so much.

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