For those in Perth always looking for a better, faster, cheaper way

Saturday, November 23, 2013

30 Books You Must Read Before 30

I just came across a great article on which shows the best 30 books to read before you are 30. I can say I've probably read about three of them and I've kept this article for one of those days when I am looking for a new book to read as I don't like wasting time reading books I shouldn't bother with. If you think of buying one of these books, check out the link on the right to the cheapest place in the world to get books or click here.

WE all have our favourite books. This list in't supposed to be definitive.
But this list is for you. The fact is, there are some books you have to read while you're young. Miss them then and they'll never have the same effect on you again.
Here's a selection from the team.
Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
You saw it coming.
You saw it coming. Source: Supplied
You knew Catcher would be on this list before you clicked, right? Of course Catcher is on this list. And the reason it's here is because ultimately, it's a story about a young bloke who says and does and thinks the stuff that most people are too gutless to say and do or even think themselves. You can analyse the book on a million other levels, but at its core, it is about rebellion. If you've always been afraid to unlock your inner rebel, consider this your key.
Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture by Douglas Coupland
A guide to understanding the generation that whinges the most about gen Y.
A guide to understanding the generation that whinges the most about gen Y. Source:Supplied
This is the book that spawned the term gen X, and while it's by no means great literature, it's a fine insight into the generation wedged between the wealth-obsessed baby boomers and connectivity-obsessed Gen Ys like you. So what, exactly, defines Gen Xs - apart from endless dumb tech questions to their gen Y colleagues at work? Read this book and find out.
Wild Swans, by Jung Chang
It's touted as the next superpower. Here's your key to figuring the place out.
It's touted as the next superpower. Here's your key to figuring the place out. Source: Supplied
China. Big country. Big history. This book has sold 10 million copies because it's first and foremost a compelling read spanning three generations of Chinese women. It's also one of the few such books written from the female perspective. But ultimately, the reason this book cuts through is that it takes us inside China like no other work. Want to know what makes China tick and learn a bunch of history along the way? Then read it.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers
With a title like that, it had better bloody be good. And it is.
With a title like that, it had better bloody be good. And it is. Source: Supplied
Published in 2000, this soon carved a place as the first great American novel of the millennium and for what it's worth, it's a lot more fun than Jonathan Franzen's much-lauded The Corrections. Fun might sound like an odd adjective for a memoir about a bloke who brings up his brother after his parents die of cancer, but yes, it is fun. If the zippy prose doesn't win you, the detailed maps of the sock-sliding course in the protagonists' hallway will.
Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse
Hesse is a German author who won the Nobel prize for Literature for a bunch of impenetrably dense and difficult books. This is not one of them. This simple fable about a humble Indian man's quest for meaning simply has to be read before you grow too old and too tethered to the world to change your course in life.
Wake in Fright, by Kenneth Cook
Blow up the pokies!
Blow up the pokies! Source: Supplied
Imagine one of those sickly Tom Waterhouse ads. Now read this, an outback Australian tale of gambling-gone-wrong (as it always does). You'll despair, as you watch a clean cut schoolteacher end up eating kangaroo testicles and throwing up on his lover while they'd doing the deed. Civilisation is a veneer people. Beneath the surface, we're all basically animals. Stay nice. And definitely stay off the punt.
Day of the Triffids, by John Wyndham
Yaaaarghhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Source: Supplied
Plants that eat people. On the loose. In a post-apocalyptic world where virtually everyone has gone blind. Oh, and a woman obsessed with sex who hooks up with the main character while trying to escape said hellishness. What's not to love in all that?
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
Might not be everyone's cup of tea - but the Bronte sisters sure touch on something important.
Might not be everyone's cup of tea — but the Bronte sisters sure touch on something important. Source: Supplied
Have you ever belted out Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights at karaoke after downing a few too many tequila shots? Of course you have. Well, now you can find out just who the hell Heathcliff is and what the deal is with Cathy. Warning: wear a heavy jumper. Even reading about those windswept moors will make you cold.
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
As good as the critics say it is.
As good as the critics say it is. Source:Supplied
A generation grew up on this satirical sci-fi farce, in which the ultimate answer to Life, The Universe and Everything is revealed to be … well, you'll have to read it, won't you. There are loads of reasons to love this book (and the four in the series that followed), but one reason is that it was written in a pre-internet era, yet it's a spookily prescient preview of life in the era of smartphones.
True History of the Kelly Gang, by Peter Carey
Don your effin' homemade armour.
Don your effin’ homemade armour. Source:Supplied
This book is effin' bloody brilliant, written as it is in the vernacular of the day. If you've never immersed yourself properly in the whole Ned Kelly story, this is an effin' brilliant entry point and yes, it has the word effin' written about a thousand effin' times.
He Died with a Felafel in His Hand, by John Birmingham
Discover the sordid reality of a sharehouse.
Discover the sordid reality of a sharehouse.Source: Supplied
Are you still shacked up at your parents' place in order to save money for a house you'll never be able to afford anyway? Grab a copy of this Aussie classic and revel in these deliciously sordid tales of group house living. Trust us. You'll never, ever complain abut Mum's meat loaf again.
A Short History Of The World, by Geoffrey Blainey
Overpromises, overdelivers.
Overpromises, overdelivers. Source: Supplied
If you've ever wanted to know pretty much everything about everything without going to school or uni forever, this is your book. Aussie historian Geoffrey Blainey takes 4 million years of stuff and condenses it into 669 pages, or the 492 Very Short version if that's your thing. It's history's ultimate cheat sheet.
Gallipoli, by Les Carlyon
The author writes like a poet, not in a wanky way but in a way which puts heart and soul into the storytelling. Read Carlyon's Gallipoli and you won't be boozing up and playing two-up next Anzac Day. You'll be at a dawn service somewhere, weeping genuine patriotic tears of sadness, armed with a deep and profound understanding of our greatest nation-building moment.
Freakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Lies, damn lies, the critics said. In actual fact, there are a hell of a lot of fascinating stats.
Lies, damn lies, the critics said. In actual fact, there are a hell of a lot of fascinating stats.Source: Supplied
Economics is mostly a baffling and mystifying pile of gobbledygook. Then along come a journalist and an economist, who together make economics not just easy to read, but interesting. No, but really. The chapter in which they argue that legal abortion helps lower crime rates (because you have less unwanted delinquent kids being born) was controversial then and debate still rages on 12 years after the book's publication.
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
Life lessons.
Life lessons. Source: Supplied
In every life, we have to make hard decisions. Sometimes we have to make the hardest decision of all and destroy the very thing we love. Not to give too much away, but that's essentially what this American classic is all about. A heartbreaking read from an American master.
Fox in Socks, by Dr Seuss
Underrated Seuss classic.
Underrated Seuss classic. Source: Supplied
This is basically a book about trolling. And the beautiful part is, the troll gets trolled himself in the end, and the universe is at peace. This book also has the best tongue twisters in the twisted history of tonguetwisterdom. Memorise them now, so you'll be in great form when you need to read it to your kids in a few years.
Where I'm Calling From, by Raymond Carver
Did you see Jindabyne? This is where that story came from.
Did you see Jindabyne? This is where that story came from. Source: Supplied
Short stories are a much under-appreciated literary form, and no one did them better than Carver. This collection contains the original story which was adapted for the Aussie film Jindabyne - where a bunch of fishermen find a dead young woman in the river and pretty much ignore her. Shocking stuff. But the classic Carver yarns in this collection centre on squabbling alcoholic middle-aged couples. It's bleak but brilliant, and will make you think very, very hard about who you marry.
1984, by George Orwell
This is the REAL Big Brother.
This is the REAL Big Brother. Source:Supplied
If you thought Big Brother was just a televisual pool of vomit which runs on the box once a year, you're only half right. Big Brother was originally the hidden face of the totalitarian state in Orwell's 1984. This spooky novel presaged a super-bleak, super-surveilled future for humanity. It turned out to be spookily on-the-money too, especially if you take a look at some of the nastier countries around the world.
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
Tackles slavery better than many American novels.
Tackles slavery better than many American novels. Source: Supplied
This is one of the great American novels of the 20th century, and definitely one of the greatest novels which address the slavery issue. Told with heart and humanity and a large dose of Latin-style magic realism, this is ultimately a book about how to deal with a grief too immense to bear. The slain baby whose name forms the book's title becomes a metaphor for the cruelty of slavery itself.
Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser
Could've been talking about us.
Could've been talking about us. Source:Supplied
Before Super Size Me, there was this book which totally exposed the fast food industry and all the gunk it dishes up. It's 12 years old now, but don't think all those McSalads have changed the way the industry still operates. You know you want to be healthy for your body's sake. Now find out why you want to be healthy for the world's sake too.
Carrie, by Stephen King
Unforgettable ending.
Unforgettable ending. Source: Supplied
Stephen King was broke. He almost took a job that would have fed his family but prevented him from having enough time to write. His wife said no, don't take it. A year later, Carrie was published. This spooky story of a telekinetic high school girl is a must-read for those who've only sampled King's more famous works. King hates the book these days. It's admittedly clunky. But to read it is a unique insight into the evolution of a master.
White Teeth, by Zadie Smith
The book about everything.
The book about everything. Source: Supplied
This is a great big, fun, rambling novel about identity, about acceptance, about England, about love, about women, about men and about everything really. Above all it is about multiculturalism and if you read one big fat novel on that subject, make it this one.
Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
The basis for the film Apocalypse Now.
The basis for the film Apocalypse Now.Source: Supplied
Have you ever seen the Vietnam War movie Apocalypse Now? It's based on this short novel, which was set in Africa, but which also involves a slow river journey, penetrating not just dense jungle but the heart of the human psyche. It ain't pretty what you find if you penetrate too far, but this is one literary journey you have take if you're even half serious about calling yourself well-read.
The Future Eaters, by Tim Flannery
Don't judge a book by its controversial author.
Don't judge a book by its controversial author.Source: Supplied
It's going on 20 now, but this is still the best book to read if you crave a deep understanding of the Australian environment - past and present. Some consider the author a national treasure. To others, he's a giant pain in the bum for what they view as his climate change alarmism and his controversial pronouncements against the coal industry. Either way, read this book for what's in it, not for who wrote it.
Dune, by Frank Herbert
Giant underground worms. Sounds interesting, doesn't it?
Giant underground worms. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Source: Supplied
Lists like this always have Lord of the Rings on them, and the reason it's not here is not because we hate it but because we suspect you've seen the movies. If you want more of that sort of thing, try Dune. A defining sci-fi blockbuster of the 1960s, it's basically a fantasy novel set in space. Even the characters have vaguely Middle Earthian names.
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Where does To Kill A Mockingbird rate in our Top 30?
Classic. Source: Supplied
Sometimes you need to feel your blood boil when you're reading a book. To Kill a Mockingbird evokes that emotion countless times as a trial unfolds in America's deep south. This is about racism but ultimately it's about the fact that there is more to all of us than meets the eye. A modern classic you simply can't miss.
T.S. Eliot: Collected Poems, 1909-1962
Moments from this collection will come to you when you least expect it.
Moments from this collection will come to you when you least expect it. Source: Supplied
Eliot is a modern God. Maybe you studied some of his stuff at school and maybe you missed it. If you did study it, we'll give you a tip. A wonderful thing happens as you leave school and progress through your 20s. Lines of Eliot come flooding back at random moments. And you find yourself going "hey, what does that actually mean?" And when you read them, they miraculously make sense. And even if they don't, the book still looks kinda cool on your shelf.
What Colour is Your Parachute, by Dick Bolles
Stuff a career adviser, read this book.
This classic jobseeker's bible has been in print for over 40 years, but it's still one of the best little books to help you work out exactly what the hell you're really good at - and to help set you in the direction to get there. The book is revised every year so it's all up-to-date and as relevant now as it was then. What, you're nearly 30 and you haven't read it yet? Are you kidding us???
Cloudstreet, by Tim Winton
As it says: a modern Australian classic
As it says: a modern Australian classicSource: Supplied
It's a little bit soppy and a little bit sappy but it's also a great example of good rollicking Aussie yarn-spinning by one of Australia's best novelists. Two rural families shack up together in a great big rickety old house in Perth. What follows is perhaps the quintessential Aussie battlers tale - in an age when a battler wasn't someone with a huge mortgage and four TVs who whinges that their middle class welfare cheques aren't big enough.
Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Don't even.
Don't even. Source: Headpress
Because it is without question the worst book ever written in any language, ever. And sometimes you've got to endure the pain of a truly bad book to appreciate the joy of a great book.

No comments:

Post a Comment