Books make it on to bestselling lists for many different reasons, and, for many of them, it is largely due to the hype that surrounds the book rather than the contents of the book itself. Rather than scrolling through thousands of titles in hundreds of bestselling lists, here are a few bestsellers that are most definitely worth reading.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner book was adapted into a movie in 2007, but, like is the case with many novel adaptations, the book depicts the story in a way that the movie simply cannot compete with. The plot follows the lives of two boys in Afghanistan, and while Afghan culture plays a significant role in the book, the story is essentially about friendship, humanity, loyalty and acceptance. Each of the characters are interestingly complex, enabling the reader to really get attached to them. While there may be some upsetting and graphic scenes, this book is, without a doubt, a brilliant page turner.
The Martian by Andy Weir
Another book that has now been turned into a movie, The Martian is, once again, a much better story when read rather than watched. The Martian is a science fiction novel that begins with a space crew traveling to Mars. After a dust storm, they are forced to leave one of their members, Mark Watney, behind, thinking him dead. However, Watney is very much alive, and the novel follows the way in which he manages to survive as the only human being on Mars, as well as his subsequent attempts to formulate a rescue plan. The book is absolutely thrilling while having quite a humorous side, and is definitely a good one for people who have not yet ventured into the science fiction genre.
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Published in 2003, Shantaram is based on the author’s life experiences, telling the story of how he escaped from a prison in Australia and fled to India. Set in Bombay’s contemporary underworld, this book is a long one, but manages to encompass everything from burning slums to five-star hotels, and from criminal wars to spiritual gurus. It has been widely commended for the way in which it is able to paint such a vibrant visual portrait of life in Bombay, and it is no surprise that a film adaptation of Shantaram has been in the works for a few years now.
Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden
Escape from Camp 14 is an international bestseller by Blaine Harden, who tells the story of Shin Dong-hyuk, currently the only North Korean escapee known to have been born in a prison camp. After his parents were granted a rare conjugal visit, Shin was conceived, and the book tells the story of his life within the horrifying camp, as well as his subsequent escape. After its publication, Shin became the main witness to the UN’s inquiry into North Korean human rights, and was also adapted into a film in 2012.
A good book can transport its reader into a completely different world, immersing them in its story. From the sprawling slums of Bombay to the vast emptiness of the planet Mars, each of these books will take you on such an incredible journey that you won’t want them to end!