I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been completely in love with the art of reading. I was an early talker and writer, which many say doesn’t influence a lot of your later life, but for me I feel like it predicted the path I would take: reading anything and everything, taking pleasure in seeing the enormous stacks crowding my bookshelf, underlining phrases in my favourite books that have stood out to me. It’s also why I found honing down this list a great task, so I hope you enjoy.
One Hundred Years of Solitude // Gabriel García Márquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude is a book that makes you feel as though you’ve lived a lifetime once you’ve finished. After starting this on recommendation from my dad, I learnt how the sheer depth and breadth of the storyline, flitting skilfully between the boundaries of fantasy and realism, encompasses several generations of the Colombian Buendía family as their minuscule village transforms into the base ground for wars, feuds, deaths, love, and even magic. Author Gabriel García Márquez’s astonishing ability to paint such rich images in painstaking detail gripped me from the start: I noticed that very few lines of speech really do feature in this book at all, yet Márquez still engages the reader imminently in the lives of the characters.
Speaking of, Márquez makes sure that you are really paying attention to this novel by conveniently naming the majority of the characters one of two names: Aureliano or Arcadio. Thankfully, my edition comes equipped with a much-needed family tree diagram in the opening pages, but throughout the plot I still found myself losing a slight grip on which of the thirty-plus Aurelianos I was learning about now. This highlights how isolated the extended family truly is from any world recognisable to our own, but it also became a source of frustration when approaching the book tired or absent-mindedly.
This is a book that cannot be defined by genre, and opened my eyes to the impact truly original literature can have on people of all ages and interests. If you want to be utterly absorbed by the world within a book, this is the one to choose.