It has been ages since I have picked up the Best Eateries for Bookworms series. You can read the last two instalments here –

Best Eateries for Bookworms – I

Best Eateries for Bookworms – II

In the last few years, I have read some brilliant books. I have branched out my interests into fantasy novels (you can blame the unputdownable A Games of Thrones for that) in addition to some modern-day classics of English literature. I am not adding The Wheel of Time and A Song of Ice and Fire here because they are not a complete series yet. So, without much ado, here is a list of some extremely rich, thought-provoking and heart-rending books that I had the privilege to read.

Everything is illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (2002)

This book is the most brilliant flash in the world of literature from the current set of writers. Turn a page and your heart will break into a million pieces and turn a page again and tears of laughter will roll down your eyes. Story of Jonathan who travels to Ukraine to find the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis. He has a very bad local translator, an almost blind driver and a malicious bitch to take him to his destination. Exceptionally hilarious and deeply moving.

Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)

The story of a disoriented and unstuck-in-time Billy Pilgrim who can see past and future events of his life in no order whatsoever. Crammed with memorable characters, the novel explores the illogical nature of humans and the idea of free will. The book revolves around the Dresden bombings during World War II and was subjected to censorship and banning upon its release. Now it is ranked 18th in the greatest English language novels of the 20th century.

Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987)

The Pulitzer winner of 1988, this novel tells a heart wrenching story of an African-American slave called Sethe who escapes from a plantation where she works. Years later, the ghost of her daughter whom she had killed with her own hands so that she is not enslaved like her mother, comes to haunt her. Written like a dream (and a very bad one) this book will leave you disturbed for a long time.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (2008)

The story of Nobody Owens who is adopted by ghosts in a graveyard after his parents are murdered one night. Nobody is a toddler and he walks into the graveyard that night as the killer search for him everywhere. The ghosts take him under their wing and take care of him as he grows up. Written with an inexplicable freshness, the book is filled with some amazing ghost characters and is quite a magical read.

Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre (2003)

A clever, cynical and the blackest laugh-out-loud book of recent times. You will love the humour which will jump out from every page. The book tells the story of 15 years old Vernon who runs away to Mexico because one of his friends (Jesus Navarro) commits suicide after killing sixteen schoolmates. Vernon lives in a small town in Texas and somehow the police are suspicious of him after the murders.

Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee (1999)

This Booker Prize winning book is the story of David Lurie, a South African professor of English living in the post-Apartheid South Africa. As the balance of power shifts in the country, David’s daughter is raped and he is badly assaulted. He has to come to terms with his changing country at an age when he is too old for it. A classic Coetzee novel with undertones of violence and exploitation and exploring the conflicts within South Africa.

The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson (2010)

Winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2010, the comic novel follows the story of Julian Treslove, a bland BBC radio producer, his Jewish philosopher friend Sam Finkler and their former Czech teacher Libor. Libor and Finkler are recently widowed. They dine together one night and Treslove is attacked while he walks back home which somehow opens him to a lot of introspection. An uproariously funny and equally complicated book. One of the best that has come out in recent years.

Life and times of Michael K by J.M Coetzee (1983)

This Booker winning novel tells the story of Michael K, who is a gardener during the apartheid era in South Africa in 1970s. Michael is a very simple man and lives in Cape Town when riots break out and he decides to leave for his mother’s native place. The novel depicts his journey through the civil war torn South Africa. The novel does not lean on racism and you will not be able to decipher the race to which Michael belongs. It leans more on the value of human life and the passage of time. A heart tugging story.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)

The novel won the Pulitzer in 2007. It is a terrifying story of a father and son walking through the breadth of America. A catastrophe has hit Earth and most of the human civilisation is dead. It is the story of their survival, their coming face to face with other survivors amidst inhuman revelations. It is the story of our possible future if we remain as reckless as we are right now. Terrifying at places, the novel depicts the last desperate bid for survival and the death of humanity.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)

Probably one of the greatest American novels, The Great Gatsby is about the ‘roaring twenties’ before the Wall Street crash. Nick, a young Yale graduate, rents a house next door to the mansion of an eccentric millionaire (Jay Gatsby). Every Saturday, Gatsby throws a party at his mansion and the rich come to his doorsteps to indulge themselves. In his heart, Jay is lonely and trying to get back his love that he lost 5 years back. It is the story of a decade before the downfall.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (1952)

The Pulitzer winning novel and one of the most famous works of Hemingway tells the story of an old fisherman named Santiago who has gone without catching a fish for 84 days. He is losing his respect amongst fellow fishermen. One fine day he gets up and leaves for the sea to catch a fish and to earn his respect back. It is a story of courage, bravery and man’s fight with nature.

Have you read any of these books? Do you find any of these books interesting enough to pick up? If you want to read more about them, please click on the Titles.