Every now and then I read one of “the classics”, partly because of the saying that to become a better writer one needs to be a better reader. There’s always a reason why a classic has become a classic and it’s worth reading. But where to begin?
If I need inspiration I look at the BBC’s Big Read list. With the help of viewers, the BBC compiled a list of the nation’s 200 best-loved novels of all time. The list was compiled ten years ago, but it’s still a great source for inspiration:
I discovered some jewels thanks to the list – books I might otherwise never have read, such as:
Noughts And Crosses by Malorie Blackman
It’s a modern Romeo and Juliette story with a twist. It takes place in a world where the power lies with natives of Africa (Crosses) and European descendants (Noughts) who are suppressed. While reading you are constantly confronted with your own prejudices.
Atonement by Ian McEwan
The main character inspires to be a writer, an element that always draws me to a character. One day Briony makes a terrible mistake that has life-changing effects for some of the most important people in her life. She lives seeking atonement—which leads to an exploration on the nature of writing. The novel became better known after the book was adapted into a movie in 2007, staring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
The author summed up this story as: “Die Hard with fairies”. I have to say that of the seven books in the series (eighth coming out later this year), I stopped reading after the third book. But the first one is worth everyone’s while to read. It’s about a twelve-year-old criminal mastermind who kidnaps a fairy for a large ransom of gold. After the Harry Potter series, it’s so refreshing to read a story where the main character is unlikeable and greatly flawed.
I check off the books on the list as I read them. And I’m very strict. There are many stories that I know through film adaptations, but I only check it off the list when I’ve actually read the book. At the moment I’ve almost read half the books on the list. It’s such a shame that there are so many good books, but so little time.