31. A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson
Bryson’s nonfiction volume tackles the history of nearly everything in an accessible manner that often manages to infuse humour in what would otherwise be a dry subject. Bryson’s talent of writing with verisimilitude makes reading his work a pleasure and though it’s been a while since I read the book, I still remember certain things from it.
32. Einstein’s Dreams – Alan Lightman
I remember when I was around 19 years old, I had a crush on an older guy and we’d talk on the phone and he’d often read to me from this book. The crush faded and disappeared but the memory of the book and the wonder if contains remained. It’s a beautiful book full of vignettes about Einstein’s fictional dreams.
33. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead – Tom Stoppard
I came across this book in a class I took in one of my undergrad classes and the professor was so passionate about this play. I also remember him saying that Stoppard’s first language is not English and as such the way he uses it has slightly more flavour to it than someone whose mother tongue is English. This play is so beautiful and contains such gems that I cannot help but go back once and again just to read it.
34. Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
I came across this book when I was in Form 5, that’s grade 10, in Fiji. At that point, I little appreciated the beauty of this tome but as I grew, my appreciation for the message contained within it grew and I began to see it for the wonderful literary work it is. I will always associate this book with wooden desks and hunger as English class was just before lunch but on it’s own, it really is something that should be read by more people.
35. Skip Beat manga series – Yoshiki Nakamura
I am constantly surprised by this manga. It’s still ongoing and I still cannot predict the direction which the mangaka will take the story in and that’s saying something. Her storytelling aside, her foresight and plotting always leaves me breathless as she doesn’t waste a single panel. I recommend this one.
36. The Songs of Pellinor – Alison Croggon
I love this series because, for me, it truly encapsules what “high fantasy” is all about in a YA setting. Croggon does not sacrifice story, language or complexity just to make things easier for her readers. On the contrary, she demands that her readers pay attention and connect the dots. I do so love authors who treat their readers as smart individuals instead of mindless minions to squee over Team so and so.
37. The Abarat series – Clive Barker
This book series was insanely popular a few years back but due to the length of time between releases, interest started petering off. Which is a shame because this book really deserves all the accolades out there. Barker does the art first and then writes the story and what a story it is. I recommend this one thoroughly.
38. Gakuen Alice – Tachibana Higuchi
Think Harry Potter but instead of wizards and witches, you have elementary school students who each have a special power called Alice. The protagonist has no idea if she has an Alice or not. All she knows is that her best friend, the person she loves most in the world, is admitted in the school and therefore she must go there too. The complexity of this series is amazing. I’m constantly surprised by how serious the themes discussed in the manga series are but how, at the same time, they have been shaped to completely fit the age and maturation level of the characters.
39. The Hunger Games trilogy – Suzanne Collins
I really don’t have anything to say about this that you haven’t already read.
40. Shades of Grey – Jasper Fforde
This novel is an adult dystopian about a world where people are separated by the colours they are able to comprehend with red being the most powerful and greys beings the least. It’s a fascinating world and Fforde’s creativity always leaves me floored.