Five books everyone should read


Northern Star File Photo

DeKalb resident Hershel Thrower through books at the DeKalb Public Library.

Madelaine Vikse , Lifestyle Editor

I absolutely loved to read while growing up. My grandma was a librarian and my mom is currently a librarian, which is one of the many reasons I enjoy a good book. In fact, I vividly remember one day in seventh grade where I got in trouble for reading during class.

Here are five books that I think everyone should read, whether it be for enjoyment, valuable knowledge or both.

Book #1: Frank Martela – ‘A Wonderful Life: Insights on Finding a Meaningful Existence’

Frank Martela is a Finnish philosopher and writer. In his novel “A Wonderful Life: Insights on Finding a Meaningful Existence,” Martela explores the “meaning of life” and how it varies for everyone. While the questions being asked and the topics discussed are serious and philosophical, Martela provides some humor as well, adding more enjoyment for the reader. Martela states that when people feel as if they have a purpose, they tend to live a longer life. This leads to the idea of finding one’s meaning in life, how to change perspectives to improve one’s life and why so many people always feel as if something is missing.This book is a good read for all because every individual has questioned or will inevitably question what their purpose is and what the meaning of life is. 

Book #2: Virginia Woolf – ‘To the Lighthouse’

“To the Lighthouse” is simply a masterpiece. The story follows a family and focuses on the different relationships they have with each other. The lighthouse in the novel is a real lighthouse located  where Woolf would go with her family to their summer vacation home. “To the Lighthouse” has many other similarities to Woolf’s personal life as well, which makes this an even more interesting read. The lighthouse represents what each character desires most in life, and throughout the story, the family repeatedly tries to plan a trip to the lighthouse. Woolf has created a captivating story open to interpretation dealing with issues women must face, family life, conflict, desire, loss and disappointment. It’s quite an easy read, and the ending leaves much for the reader to think about.

Book #3: Paulo Coelho – ‘The Alchemist’

Paulo Coelho has created one of the best fantasy adventure fiction novels to date with “The Alchemist.” The story follows Santiago, who is a shepherd in Spain. Santiago has a dream one night that changes the rest of his life and eventually leads him on an incredibly fascinating adventure. Coelho writes about decision-making in a way that makes it easy for the reader to relate different aspects of the story to their own lives. This novel can change a person’s outlook on life while giving them a compelling story that will not be forgotten. 

Book #4: Rutger Bregman – ‘Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There’

Dutch author and historian Rutger Bregman brings bold ideas on how we can build a better society for all in “Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There.” This book is not a part of the usual debate between two political parties; instead, Bregman writes an interesting plan to read and think about, while allowing the reader to form their own opinion on the proposed ideas. Bregman’s main ideas are: one basic universal income, limiting working weeks to 15-hour work weeks and having open borders everywhere. The issue of poverty is discussed, offering the basic universal income as a solution. While these ideas may sound far-fetched to some, Bregman introduces them in a very matter-of-fact way and challenges the reader to critically think about how we as a society could improve the societal structure and lives of all.

Book #5: Iris Murdoch – ‘The Sea, The Sea’

“The Sea, The Sea” by philosopher and novelist Iris Murdoch is a psychological fiction gem. Do not expect a fast-paced novel with lots of action, though. The story follows Charles Arrowby and his intriguing and complicated past, present and future relationships with four women. The story moves at a very slow pace, but the plot quickly becomes complicated as the central characters’ motives become clear to the reader. The conclusion will shock readers, seeing as how most of the story is a slow and easy read.