Top 5 Wednesday – Books that made me think

I recently joined a group on Goodreads where you post your Top 5 books on a certain topic every Wednesday, so here goes; books that made me think.

So when deciding which books to pick for this Top 5 I realized that the ones that really, really made me think were books that I had not initially chosen myself – in fact the majority of the candidates were books I’d been asked to read in school. And I guess that’s because of that they all cause people to discuss certain topics brought up or hinted at in the book. There were eight contestants to the Top 5, meaning I had to remove 3. Those three ended up being books written by Mo Yan, Edwidge Danticat and John Green – I’m not going to list exactly which ones those books were but you might be able to guess. Click the read more button to find out which five I actually listed!

In 5th place on this Top 5 list I place Svinalängorna by Susanna Alakoski – a book that is only available in Swedish, German, Danish and Finnish, but that I’d love to see translated into more languages because it’s a real eyeopener. It’s about Leena, who moves from Finland to Sweden with her family and they move into this newly built area with dreams of the perfect life – which doesn’t happen. At all. The adults are drinking and things move between heaven and hell, where the family has money and work and then nothing. And the people witnessing this do nothing. Why? Is it because of that this family is not “Swedish”? Because they live in a neighborhood that’s been nicknamed Pigrow by the authorities? It gets you thinking, reflecting, and wondering if you’ve been blind to things like this as well.

In 4th place is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. This is such a unique book – if you haven’t read it I order you to go buy it right now because it’s one of my absolute favorites. It’s about a boy named Christopher who might be classified as autistic (I don’t remember if this is actually written out in the book or not and because of that I’m not going to say that this is what he is for certain). He’s got his routines and he stick by them ruthlessly, he does not want people to touch him and he has an incredible memory. And then he finds his neighbor’s dog dead in the street and wonders why it’s there and why it’s dead and suddenly he’s trying to solve this mystery. The book is so cleverly written that you, as a “normal” person, laugh at all the strange events – much like you laugh at Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang Theory – but then you sort of stop and go “wait, this is actually how some people act”. It’s not written to be funny – it’s written to show the difference between “normal” and “not-normal” thinking – and I know for sure that I’m going to meet kids with conditions and minds like this when I’m a teacher and I can’t go around thinking that they are “funny”. So yeah, a definite eye-opener and a must on this list.

In 3rd place we have The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’m going to go ahead and say that this is a classic that everyone should read. It’s not the easiest thing to get through, but believe me – it’s beyond worth it. Atwood paints out a future where a lot of women have become sterile and those that are able to give birth to children are valued beyond anything else – and are owned by the higher class members whose own wives are unable to provide them with children. It’s a dystopia but it also feels scarily real and present and you’re just… what if this is the future? What if all the things we do to the environment and with technology and radiation and God knows what else will cause something like this to happen? It’s a scary thought, really.

In 2nd place I put A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini – another book that everyone should get around to reading at least once. It’s brutally honest and points to both good and bad things that can happen in an Islamic society – just like The Handmaid’s Tale pointed to a lot of things that can happen in a society heavily based on Christianity. It’s all in how you interpret the words of whatever holy book you believe in. It also shows just how strong women can be, no matter which society and with what religion they grow up in. This book – and all others of Khaled Hosseini’s books – are a must for people who want to learn and understand the Islamic culture a bit better and not rely on rumors and whispered thoughts about something that is “foreign”. It’s a book about sisterhood, motherhood and heroism – and love.

And in 1st place *drumroll* I place Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. When I first got this book I didn’t know what to think of it, but then when I opened it and started to read it… Oh. My. God. Brutal, honest, funny, clever and brilliantly written. It’s about imagining distant places without the horrors of war, but also how dangerous that kind of imagination can be. And how far people are willing to go to silence those that spread ideas and hope. It’s one of those books that I read, then had to put down for a few hours and process before I was able to pick it up again, and that – in my opinion – marks a book that provides food for thought.

Hope you liked my Top 5!
Check out everyone else doing the T5W by clicking here!

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