5 books that everyone should read (whatever your age)

1984 by George Orwel

To this day, 1984 is, without any doubt, my most favourite book of all times. It is a book I recommend to everyone I meet. You are probably wondering what I find so fascinating about this book. Well, I read this book way back in high school, and it immediately caught my attention. I found it absolutely mind-blowing that in the year 1949, George Orwell managed to capture the essence of what the world would be like many years after it was published. I am well aware that the book is grim, depressing, but it is also eye-opening and a true masterpiece.

Just think about the very first line in the book- “It was a bright cold day in April, “and the clocks were striking thirteen. If that doesn’t make you want to get lost in the world of Winston Smith, then surely the way Orwell plays with words creates new words completely will. Another striking subject of the story is fear. But I really think you ought to read it yourself to be able to see what I mean. 

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I don’t think there is a single person on earth who hasn’t heard about the little girl Alice that falls down the rabbit hole and wounds up in Wonderland, where she attends the tea party with the one and only Mad Hatter. To be completely honest with you, I didn’t like Alice at all when I was younger. It was way too complicated for me, and I just didn’t get the beauty of the language that Lewis Carroll used. Only in my late 20s, I discovered my love for the stories. I listened to an audible version narrated by Scarlett Johannsson, and it finally came to me. The story is something everyone should read at least once in their life. It keeps the child spirit lit inside of us, and that is something that we need to do- during these times more than ever.

Afterdark by Haruki Murakami

Afterdark by Japanese author Haruki Murakami was the first book that I picked up after graduating from university in 2018. And I am so glad that I did. This book is unlike anything I have ever read. The story takes place during one night in the life of the main character named Mari. She meets a boy in her favourite diner, where she likes to read every night. The boy and Mari share an acquaintance- her sister Eri. Eri is sleeping in her room. But there is something wrong with the way she is sleeping. It is too pure, too perfect. Parts of the story take place in a world between reality and dream. Each chapter begins with an image of a clock depicting the passage of time throughout the night.

Every chapter means a different hour in the night in Tokyo. The story itself is poetic and trippy, and it leaves you with your mouth wide open. It is a page-turner, and you will get immersed in the world very easily. Murakami’s writing heavily influenced my own writing. Hence, if you want to try a Murakami book, I highly suggest this one to go with first. 

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

If you are looking for a book that feels like a hug but will also make you cry- look no further. We Are Okay is probably one of the best books (if not the best book) I read last year. Nina really is a master of words. Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart. 

The book deals with loss and with mental health, which is something I really love reading about. Marin is such a complex character. She is a bit annoying at times, but she is someone I would love to have as a best friend. Another great thing about this book? The cover. When I saw it, I just knew I had to have it in my bookcase. It really is a piece of art through and through. The book is really sad at times, but I promise you, there is a happy ending waiting for you at the end. It really left me floating on a cloud for a few weeks. 

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

In my opinion, The Poet X is unlike any book I have ever read. For once, it is written in verses like a poem. Being a poet myself, it was something that really caught my attention and I was not disappointed one bit. The story is raw, deep and the main character Xiomara is an unapologetic and beautiful soul from whom a lot of us could learn a thing or too. Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

As the synopsis suggests the story deals with topics such as coming of age, religion, family and relationship. I think this one is a staple novel in everyone´s bookcase.

Not being afraid to voice my opinion

  • Name: Nicolle Knapová
  • Occupation: Poet/aspiring novelist
  • University Degree: Currently finishing up my master degree in Creative writing and publishing
  • Favourite artist: Halsey/ Taylor Swift
  • Favourite colour: Baby blue
  • Favourite sound: Rain

Hi MyBest, Zine! I am Nicolle and I am a poet and a writer from the Czech Republic. Being an artist to me means not being afraid to voice my opinion. Being an artist to me means being able to share stories with people around the world. It enables me to express my feelings which is really important to me.  I love writing about topics such as mental health problems, forbidden love and New York (particularly Brooklyn). One of the biggest things that influences and inspires me the most is music. It doesn’t matter if it is Chopin or The Paper Kites. The one artist that inspires me and influences my work the most is without doubt Halsey. We are both Libras and she is someone I truly look up to. I have been listening to her ever since she released her debut album Badlands. It was love at first sight. When it comes to literature, a big influence for me is Murakami. I devoured his book Afterdark in a couple of days and left me in awe. It really left a mark on me.  I love creating playlists on Spotify. I made one for my debut novel that I want to publish in the next two years. It works as a soundtrack and every time I listen to it I can imagine the story unravel in front of me. But sometimes a really beautiful photo can inspire me just as perfectly.  I am currently hard at work writing my debut poetry collection Aftermath which I want to publish late this year. It is a very personal collection of my teen and young adult life- relationships, family, friendships, unfulfilled expectations and my mental health struggles.

I don’t really have a specific work routine! All I can tell you is that my creativity really comes to life around 10 PM when I want to sleep but my brain just doesn’t want to hear it.  I did spend the whole summer writing my dissertation- three chapters of the above mentioned novel and it was quite intense to write every day. My inspiration really does come in flares. But my writing process always involves coffee and music. I just can’t imagine doing it without it. Oh, and a candle and preferably a rainy morning.

What made me want to be an artist goes back to elementary school when I started writing little snippets of stories. I didn’t have many talents back then but writing was always something that I was praised for and therefore it stuck with me. The very first proper story that I wrote was about two cats that traveled to Egypt only for the one of them to be mistaken for Nefertiti. It was such a fun thing to do and to think I was only 10! Back then I only wrote in Czech which changed when I started high school. I tried writing in Czech but to be honest it just doesn’t sound as natural anymore. I find it insane but it is what it is! I used to be bullied and writing was to me a great way to express how I felt and it was a way to escape the reality. I love being a storyteller and I really hope I will one day be able to do this as a full-time job.