Tuesday, January 3, 2012

50 books you should read before you die: All Quiet on the Western Front

Probably all of you have seen the list of 50 books you should read before you die on a metal bookmark. I`ve even seen a few different versions of it. I stumbled on one of those lists last night and I found that I have already read many of the books from the list and those really were some of the most impressive books I`ve read. So I decided that I will complete this reading list and I`ll wrote a short review of every book on the list with minimal amount of spoilers. "Complete" maybe wasn`t the best word, because I may still leave some of them out. Like The Bible for an example. But I hope you will enjoy the reviews of the books I will read!

Erich Maria Remarque`s All Quiet on the Western Front.

This book tells a story of Paul Bäumer, a 19-year-old schoolboy who is urged by his schoolmaster to join the German army shortly after the start of World War I. It`s not an heroic story. It`s a story about the everyday horror of a World War I soldier - the constant fear of death, the constant treat of artillery fire, gas attacks and bombardments, hunger, the struggle to find food, loss of comrades, detachment form civilian life, dealing with permanent physical injuries and the role of random chance in surviving or not.
Through the experiences of Paul Bäumer, the reader sees that war can`t be divided into the bad and good sides. There are just people forced to fight each other for distant reasons a lot of them don`t even understand. People who in different circumstances might get a long quite well, maybe even be firends.
One of the most effective chapters in this book tells a story, how Paul after leathally wounding a French man, has to stay with him in a crater for countless hours. There he realizes the most painful truth. The man he had killed, is a man just like him. A man who may had even been worth more because he already had a family of his own to wait for him to return home, while Paul only had his parents and a sister.
What makes this book a 50 books you should read before you die list worthy read, is the effect of making the reader think about how he truly feels about war. And I can make a bet that anyone with half a brain will end up thinking pacifistic thoughts.

Here is the list of all the 50 books:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Bible
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
1984 by George Orwell
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
All Quiet on the Western Front by E M Remarque
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Middlemarch by George Eliot
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzenhitsyn

Some questions for the followers. Have you got around to any of the books on the list? If the answer is yes, then which and did you like them?

I just noticed that there are actually only 36 books on this list. Well, I`m not gonna rewrite the full post because of that. Let`s just leave it as it is. Maybe it was rounded up to sound better.


  1. I think I have read at least 20 of these. I plan on reading a lot once I have retired.

  2. I plan to be like those guys in the Grumpy Old Men once I`m retired. They just have so much fun. Despite their old age. I found it really cool.

  3. I haven't read anything in a while. I'll try out these books, hope they're good.

  4. Meh, I have read only about 1/5 of those books, I feel like a dummy now. I did read "All quiet on the western front" though!
    Great book. It really changed my perception on war(basicly from "epic" to "absolutely stupid and pointless")


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