As a follow up to the books I wish to read in 2016, I thought I would share my favourite books, starting with fiction.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment – An impoverished student named Raskolnikov murders a pawnbroker and her sister in order to test his theory of the ‘great man’, of whom normal moral rules do not apply. The story chronicles his descent as he is haunted by his actions.
I must say though, I HATED the Brothers Karamazov, perhaps because Dostoevsky’s ugly politics is clearly present in the book.
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace – Another giant of 19th century Russian literature, Tolstoy’s War and Peace is an epic story of Russia’s wars with Napoleonic France from 1805-15. Tolstoy’s cast is hundreds, from Pierre Bezukov and his nasty wife Elena, to the simple peasant Platon Karataev.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the book is Tolstoy’s theory of history, which I can’t actually remember of the top of my head (it basically dismisses the idea of the ‘great man of history’, go check it out!).
Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote – Perhaps the greatest novel of them all, Don Quixote is the story of a well to do minor gentleman who is driven mad by reading too many books of chivalry. Believing himself to be the heir to the tradition of knights, Quixote sets off with his tired horse to right wrongs, accompanied by his faithful squire Sancho Panza.
It’s hard to summarise the good points of this book concisely, lets just say it contains a great deal of belly laughs. Perhaps its greatest strength is the relationship between Quixote, who is educated but insane and Panza, who is illiterate but wise in a simple fashion.
These are, so far, the best novels I have read. There will be more to come when I get the time.