Reading gives us the opportunity to travel to places that we might never be able to reach and experience sights we might never be able to see with our own eyes. Reading a book has the power to connect cultures and change the way we think or feel about a certain subject. Whether you are spending a rainy day at home or 30,000 feet in the air crossing the Atlantic, turn off that screen in front of you and pick up one of these books we think you should read in your lifetime.
1. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
This book dissects one soldier’s experience during the Vietnam War. Throughout this novel, O’Brien catalogs the things that he and his fellow soldiers carried – tangible things like matches and morphine – but focuses more on the intangible ones like regret and fear. Readers will learn about each soldier, what he was like before the war and how each individual deals with the stress of it. The tales told in The Things They Carried far exceed the realms of war and can be applied to one’s own life. Learning to live with mistakes that you’ve made and mourn the loss of those closest to you is no easy task, but O’Brien somehow makes readers feel less alone in these feats.
2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
If you are or ever have been a teenager who didn’t feel like they agreed with their elders or even their peers, this book is for you. Yes, today The Catcher in the Rye is a hipster staple, but the reason why it is so popular among millennials is because it is just… so good. Many people read this book and feel as if Salinger was writing directly to them. Something that the readers of today find so interesting is that they can completely relate to a book written in 1951, that the frustration of youth is simply timeless. This book will make you laugh and cry, leaving you looking for a Holden Caulfield of your own.
3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
It is rare to come by a book that can equally make you laugh and also teach you some important lessons about life and the way we choose to live it. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy does a great job of making fun of basically every science fiction trope we see time and time again in stories of the genre, while keeping its readers on their feet. Experience a story about aliens trying to destroy the Earth that will make you think about the way you choose to spend your time on our planet.
4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
If there were ever a time to read this novel, it is now. Many readers have credited this story with allowing them to learn about the Middle East without the bias of the media. It is not often that we hear the humanizing story of a family on the other side of the world, those of a religion that is being targeted by many Americans today. Readers of The Kite Runner are taken into the worlds of a boy from Afghanistan and a Muslim man living in America living post-September 11th. If anything is to be taken away from this book, it is that people at the end of the day, no matter their geographical location, are simply people.