Must Read Books in Quarantine
Recommendation & Review by Reffiana
Reffiana is a dear friend of mine, we talk to each other a lot from light cheesy topics to becoming my devoted friend when it comes to discussing personal creative projects. On top of that, she is my absolutely go-to person when it comes to book recommendations, since she reads a hell lot of books anytime and anywhere. Hence, it’s safe to say her book recommendation is a top notch, not to mention, she has interesting point of views while critically assessing all books she read, which makes it distinctive. Therefore, this article is dedicated to her appreciation towards her top 3 classic books she truly adored; taken from her Instagram book review account @pagezest. If you want to find more of her interesting book recommendations, kindly check @pagezest on instagram.
How to Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A story of a family (the Finches) in Alabama’s fictional small old town called Maycomb during the Great Depression year 1933 to 1935 with little Jean Louise Finch (Scout) as the narrator and the main character. In an era of somberness and fervent racial discrimination, Scout recounts the county, the scary house across hers and her father Atticus Finch defending a black man accused of raping a white woman.
This book is a truly precious piece of work. Scout’s character is the perfect choice of perspective for such a grave pick of issue as the essence of the plot, with her vivid imagination and briskly naive process of concluding things.
The start is captivating enough to keep you going although the choice of diction and the unfamiliarity of the setting may throw you off balance. Jean Louise Finch or Scout was said to be derived from Harper Lee herself and as Scout narrates the story I find myself split into the mind of a 6 year old and the reflection of a grown woman looking back to the occurrences. I concluded therefore that the reason why at several points of the book Scout’s narration pertained a subtle element of maturity, was because the grown Lee surged in to convey her then current thoughts.
If there is one thing that is more precious than Scout and this book in general, it’s her relationship with Atticus. The story beautifully captures what a father can teach to his children and the impact that he has yet to know of his teachings. Little did Atticus know, hadn’t Scout been taught to be polite and talk about things people she talked to loved, he wouldn’t be alive to see the conscience of a town shift slightly for perhaps a better justice.
In a discussion with her brother Jem who was trying to grasp the concept of segregating people into different categories, Scout made it sense to herself that people were all too different that they were simply all just people at the end of the day.
“Nothing is wrong with him. Naw, Jem, I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.” - Jean Louse Finch
To Kill a Mockingbird is stellar for the racial issue it surfaces and of course is praised for pointing it out through the unpretentious and innocent eyes of a little girl during the time it was first published. However, the true virtue that I have yet enough courage to truly face is how awfully frequent grown people create pretences so unnecessarily burdening for plain matters. Adults exaggerate and like to blame the youths for it. To this day this book still serves as a poignant lesson for many adult readers about the simplicity of thinking and acting.
Scout turbulently questions why Aunt Alexandra looked so morbidly appalled of her request to visit Calpurnia’s home (Calpurnia is Finch’s black housekeeper) when Cal was practically family to her. And moments like that, where Scout questions the fabricated nature of things, are the ones that I personally felt (and I believe for many other readers as well) as triggers for many principle contemplations of my own.
Is it necessary to believe everything people tell you about the unknown without peeking at it on your own?
Origin by Dan Brown
Another one of Robert Langdon’s race with time and history at the heart of Barcelona with even more powerful enemy whose target is to eradicate any trace of yet another world-shattering information, potentially crushing long standing beliefs all over the world. The fifth of Dan Brown’s series, following up Angels and Demons, Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol and Inferno.
I downed the 450-ish pages in 2 days because yes, you cannot deny Dan Brown’s power in building suspense and making time go 10 times faster as your hands and eyes clung irresistibly to the book. Logically, having read all of his four previous series, I should be at some point habituated to his plot. I should, supposedly, be immune to his jaw-dropping twists because, accordingly, I have been through 4 of his books with countless jaw-dropping twists. But no, fool me not, he came back with even more jaw-dropping ones in Origin, stepping up his thriller game even farther. I too cannot believe how I am still not capable of expecting his turns and pacing, but Dan Brown is legibly that good!
For those who are still a stranger to Dan Brown’s work, it’s really okay to not read his previous installments to understand this one. I think Dan Brown made sure his works are somewhat… Modular? If you know what I mean. It’s malleable in a sense that both conditions (having read his books before or not) permits equal enjoyment of the book. Each installment is easily enjoyable at any order, although some very secretive things will make much more sense if you follow the order from which the installment is released.
One thing I love so much about this book is the restless feeling you get while and after reading it. You’re restless because your mind is on full speed sprint, digesting past centuries history that’s told, the plot that’s altered, the characters whose lives are ruined. And doing all that in less than 2 days (some in a day), needs unbelievable focus, which you don’t realize doing until you’re done with the book.
Origin encompasses perfect research, an ever more imagination propelling location, intellectual characters, and a conflicting cause to decipher.
Brace yourself for the best twists in mystery thriller novels, wrapped in technological domination.
“May our philosophies keep pace with our technologies. May compassion keep pace with our powers. And may love, not fear be the engine of change.” - Edmund Kirsch
For those who read the book, you would know how terribly important this quote is. Dan Brown as always, brings with him layering causes that are so close to current global issues. It underlies his very book. He expands through fiction the conflict between technology in our days and centuries old teachings, but always with so much wisdom. The quote is needless of further explanation from me, and it absolutely says everything that is needed to be said. Whatever change is coming or being constructed, it is important to remember that change amplifies always its initial purpose.
You can never expect enough from Dan Brown. That’s for sure. So, when we talk about possible insights he gave me from this book, you can bet there are countless. But one stroke me the most. Being spiritual is not always about faith of the unseen. It speaks far beyond just the unseen because I learned that it is most of all about having the courage of believing in even the things you can see. The future too, is not something you can’t see.
What the dog saw by Malcolm Gladwell
A compilation of Malcolm Gladwell’s 19 very own articles made for and published by The New Yorker taking the iceberg view of what we think of as ordinary occurrences and subjects and plunge deep below the surface to uncover the extraordinary take-out of it, only if we are willing to see from a different angle and perspective. A ketchup tycoon, a tennis athlete or maybe just a dog.
“We can be true to our principles or we can fix the (power-law) problem. We cannot do both.”
- Malcolm Gladwell
I marked these words and made sure I could always go back and re-read them because it threw me completely out of balance. I always had principles to which I could weigh my actions to, and they were always enough to me. But yes, it seems like I have not known enough of the world and how it has worked all this time to think I could get away with principle-based actions. Because beyond your idealism and your carefully kept principles, some things are meant to be a little more complex than what your principles can fix.
All in all, you simply learn that shifting positions, changing glasses and putting different shoes are things you must never do without in your life. There is a world of things you will miss just because you refuse or find petty to try gazing in the same eye as the lady that walks by your house everyday to the market.
And that is one painful truth and precious lesson Gladwell has mercilessly given me every chapter.
It’s Mind-blowing. I mean his remarkable writing prowess is what every thriving and coming of age writers (very much including me) would wish to achieve someday in their lives. As he compiles 19 of his articles and as you read them one by one, he convinces you that to be a true writer is not to expect a one hit wonder but to be consistent and determined to produce multiple, all with the same impact of wonder. His writing is a precise balance between a sharp, intensive research and the comfort of storytelling you’d love to dwell in.
One of my most favorite chapter (which my closest friends have had a fair share of ramble from me about) explores the emergence of hair dyeing industry in America during the 60s. Doesn’t ring much when you read the topic right? But then instead of discussing about the expectable history of the founders of Clairol or L’oreal, Gladwell introduces us to the ulterior side of the story hence to Shirley Polykoff who is the exotic mind behind Clairol’s “Does She... or Doesn’t She?”, a tagline that propelled her to advertising’s wall of fame. As if the perspective take isn’t unusual enough, Gladwell strikes back with a question that perhaps, with all that people have boasted so much regarding the history of women in the postwar era, we have not discussed all just yet, and certainly not about hair.
This book contains everything from massive occurrences often discussed, like Enron’s fall or the 9/11 tragedy, to something as minor as… birth pills and mustards, all seen from eyes of people you have contingently never heard of.