A List of Good Books To Read – 5 Different Stories by 5 Different People

Each of these 5 books is interesting and unique. These are the stories of different people belonging to various parts of the world. They represent different eras, different cultures, and different situations.

The common thread of all these books is that they talk about people’s lives and experiences. All these stories are informative, inspiring, and offer an insight into human life.


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Phrase Wise Words written alongside an Open Book

Three of these books are about people’s extraordinary life journeys. The other two describe the authors’ adventurous spirit and their quest to explore a place.


1. The Pianist Of Yarmouk by Aeham Ahmad

2. Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

3. Man’s Search For Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust by Viktor E. Frankl

4. Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams

5. Tuesdays With Morrie: An old man, a young man, and life’s greatest lesson by Mitch Albom


The first story is about a musician experiencing a difficult life created by the horrors of a civil war.

The second story relates the unique and interesting experiences of the author during his travel to another country. In this case, it is Australia.

The third story explores the experiences of people facing an inhuman present and an uncertain future.

Those people have to go through awful circumstances. But the author provides them dignity by declaring that their lives still have a meaning and purpose.

The fourth story is again a travel story. The author sets out on an exploration of an ancient land and its civilization.

The fifth story also deals with the concept of the meaning of human life. This story is about a man who has a crippling medical condition.

But he is determined to find meaning in life and even his death.


1. The Pianist Of Yarmouk by Aeham Ahmad

(The image given below is not the cover picture of the book.)

A man's hand playing piano keys
Photo by Tadas Mikuckis on Unsplash

The image on the cover of the book conveys a lot about the theme of this story. It looks intriguing and haunting with a person playing piano in a deserted lane with houses and buildings that are severely damaged.

This book is the first book written by Aeham Ahmad. It is about his real-life experiences amid the Syrian Civil War that started in 2011. He and his family had to leave Syria, and now they live in Germany.

First of all, the author introduces the story in a heart-piercing manner. We come to know that the pianist is no other than Aeham Ahmad himself.

He strikingly describes the miserable and distressing condition in Yarmouk, a residential community in Damascus, Syria.

People are facing and fighting starvation. The structures of the buildings lay in pieces.

He dedicates the opening chapter of the book to the grit and determination of his parents.

Aeham talks about his father in a highly loving and respectful tone. He shares the difficulties that his father had to face when he lost his vision quite early in life.

He proudly tells how his father overcame this challenge and carved a beautiful life for himself.

The author conveys an equal amount of love and respect for his mother, who showed the courage to take on many responsibilities of looking after her husband and children.

This one is a beautiful story about people trying to live their lives in such desperate situations.


2. Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

(The image given below is not the cover picture of the book.)

A road in Silverton NSW, Australia
Photo by Cassie Smart on Unsplash

In his book, Bill Bryson describes his assumptions and impressions about Australia. The book is a descriptive account of his travel to this country down under.

Bill realizes his inadequate knowledge about the place when he first touches upon this land. The terrain is difficult and dangerous, but he finds the people to be friendly and lively.

Bill feels that most other countries, especially America, pay so little attention to what goes on in this country.

The book highlights all the distinctive features that Australia has. It tells us many interesting facts about this place – its antiquity, the unique geographical traits, and the unique flora and fauna that are not found anywhere else in the world.

At the same time, these characteristics make Australia a fusion of things that logically seem to be opposite of each other.

Bill has included some impressive pieces of information to convince his readers about how wonderful this land is.

An interesting example is the forward and backward shifts in time that one experiences while travelling to and fro from Australia.

Three things make this book quite engaging.

The author has shared what he experienced during his visits to Australia, especially the current one.

Secondly, he narrates several real stories and happenings related to this place.

On top of these two things, his great sense of humour makes all the accounts more interesting to read.


3. Man’s Search For Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust by Viktor E. Frankl

(The image given below is not the cover picture of the book.)

Shoes on the Danube Bank, Budapest, Hungary
Photo by Mika on Unsplash

The book touches upon the various aspects of the human psyche.

It analyses the human spirit within the context of a distressing circumstance like the holocaust.

The title emphasizes the importance of meaning in a human being’s life.

The two contrasting words – hope and holocaust – have been used together.

Viktor E. Frankl has dedicated this book to both the survivors and the victims of Nazi concentration camps.

He has shared various stories about the life of the camp inmates. At the same time, the author mentions the goodness shown by a few of the Nazi soldiers.

This book is not just another account of the horrors of the holocaust and the atrocities suffered by people.

Frankl was a psychiatrist and a neurologist. He had to spend three years in various concentration camps.

Though he suffered inhumane atrocities like many others, he has written the book in quite an objective tone.

The book analyses the reactions and the behaviours of people while living and suffering in the concentration camps.

Frankl tries to answer some critical questions regarding the human mind and spirit.

Do human beings react and behave solely based on their external circumstances, or can they respond differently based on their inner and spiritual selves?

Can they make a choice? Can they rise above and beyond the pain and injustice surrounding them?

Frankl answers all these questions by relating to the several instances from the concentration camps. These include his own as well as others’ experiences.

He also shares his version of psychotherapy that he named Logotherapy, which deals with human beings’ need to have a meaning and purpose in their lives.


4. Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams

(The image given below is not the cover picture of the book.)

Machu Pichu in Peru

This one is another good story about the travel experience of an author who draws inspiration from the travel accounts of another writer.

Both of them explore and write about the enigmatic ancient site Machu Picchu in Peru.

In his book Turn Right at Machu Picchu, Mark Adams writes about his efforts to rediscover the adventurous journey undertaken by the American archaeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911.

The main difference between the explorations of these two men is that Bingham did not set out to reach Machu Picchu, and he happened to discover this magical place.

On the other hand, Mark prepared for his visit to these beautiful remains of the ancient Inca civilization.

Machu Picchu offers an impressive display of architecture carved out of natural stone.

According to archaeologists, these structures might have either been royal property or religious premises.

In the book, he gives a detailed background of the life and works of Hiram Bingham.

He tells about many interesting facts related to Bingham’s travel to various Peruvian sites.

The narrative keeps on shifting between the past that talks about Bingham’s adventure and the present that is about Mark’s attempts to recreate the footprints of his predecessor.

The titles of the various chapters sound quite intriguing. A few examples are – Legend of the Lost City, Cradle of Gold, Hunting for Clues, On Bingham’s Trail, and many others.


5. Tuesdays With Morrie: An old man, a young man, and life’s greatest lesson by Mitch Albom

(The image given below is not the cover picture of the book.)

An old man's hand holding newspaper

TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE, this title is intriguing enough to generate one’s curiosity to find out more about it.

The author of this book Mitch Albom has written a heart-touching account of the time he spent with his old professor.

This time is invaluable for Mitch as he gets an opportunity to listen to the wise words of his teacher at a critical point in both of their lives.

Mitch is going through some personal conflicts and crises in his life. After graduating from college, he has had a hectic and successful career in journalism.

But all the professional success and the money he has earned are no longer making him happy in life.

After finishing college, Mitch Albom had got engrossed in his career and lost contact with Morrie.

One day he finds out about his old and forgotten favourite professor Morrie Schwartz, suffering from a life-threatening disease.

From there on begins warm and thoughtful interactions between the teacher and his student. The book is titled so because Mitch goes and meets Morrie at his home on Tuesdays.

Mitch finds that his teacher’s attitude towards life has not changed even when he is facing death.

Even during the last few months of his life, Morrie teaches some life lessons to his student and all others who reach out to him.

The author has truly dedicated this book to his favourite teacher. It shows in the titles of the chapters – The Curriculum, The Syllabus, The Orientation, and others named similarly.

Another thing that makes the book engaging is that Mitch Albom has narrated the story by going back and forth in time. He gives a picture of the present and the past simultaneously.

I would say that with this book, the author has expressed his respect, fondness, admiration, and gratitude towards his favourite teacher in the best way possible.



 

10 thoughts on “A List of Good Books To Read – 5 Different Stories by 5 Different People”

  1. Hello, this article sound very helpful to everyone who has some free time to read or wants some void books to read on vacation like me. I like that you include various books on your list, but I will start to read the first one, The Pianist Of Yarmouk by Aeham Ahmad. It sounds interesting to me. I like to read and found out how the author describes his personal story in that book. 

    The last one, the life lessons from an old man and young man conversations is my second choice from your list. 

    thank you for sharing

    Alketa

    Reply
    • Thank you for liking my list of books. You would definitely like reading The Pianist Of Yarmouk and Tuesdays With Morrie. Both the books are about two different individuals’ personal experiences. I would love to hear back from you once you finish reading the first one.

      Reply
  2. Hey Deepshikha,

    This is a great article and all five of these are great books. I especially like the book “Man’s Search For Meaning”. It is a very inspirational story of overcoming adversity and succeeding. It’s a great book that we could use and apply to our own lives both personally and professionally.

    For me, the meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give your gift away.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

    All the best,

    Tom

    Reply
    • Thank you for appreciating my post. I listed all these books together as I found them to be having something similar. I could see that all these writers have touched upon human life and human endeavors in some way. “Man’s Search For Meaning” is a heart-touching account of the given topic. Yes, I agree that the book has the potential to inspire the readers to be better in all spheres of life.

      Reply
  3. I have a bit more free time now than I used to have before this pandemic sprung out. So, I have been reading more. I really enjoy this. I would like to start reading Man’s Search For Meaning. I have been reading several books about the Holocaust or themed in the Holocaust, and this would be a good match.

    Reply
    • Great to know that you are enjoying all the time that you got for reading. The book Man’s Search For Meaning would be worth your time. I will look forward to your views on the book once you finish reading it. 

      Reply
  4. These five books make for an interesting collection.
    I have read another book from Bill Bryson in the past and enjoyed his writing style. I can assume that his Australian travels would be equally interesting.

    It seems that Aeham Ahmad did not lose his creative spirit when having to flee the horrors of conflict in his own country. I applaud him for telling his story and imagine that this is a book worth reading. It’s always so good to be able to celebrate when the human spirit triumphs.

    As a side note, I was saddened today to read a survey that found “Millennials that reading books, using cash and talking on phones are signs someone is living in the dark ages.”
    I weep for the future!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Thank you. I found the titles of these books to be appealing enough to read through the stories. Bill Bryson’s Travels in a Sunburned Country and Aeham Ahmad’s The Pianist both promised great stories. After reading, I was happy that the author’s writings lived up to the titles of their books.

      I will look forward to your feedback if you go ahead and read these books.

      Regarding the survey you have mentioned, I feel in reality there are mixed feelings as far as reading books goes. I have come across many young and passionate writers in their early twenties. They love and appreciate reading as well. It is my experience on some platforms where I write other than my this blog. Maybe the future has some hope!

      Reply
  5. Hi Deepshikha,

    My first pick from these five books is the last one, Tuesdays With Morrie. I always love to learn life lessons from my grandparents since they gave me good advice for difficulties and dilemmas I’ve encountered in my past. I was intrigued by this story. I also love how you describe the way Mitch wrote this book, so it’s a must-read for my summer vacation this year.

    Thanks for sharing today,
    Matt

    Reply
    • You are going to love reading Tuesday’s With Morrie as you appreciate the words of your grandparents so much. The same goes for Mitch Albom. In his college days, he valued the teachings of his professor, and he carried forward the same respect for Morrie in his old age. I found this book to be a great example of the value that comes out of a loving relationship with our elders and the older generation. They must be respected and admired for the life lessons that they can share with the younger generation.

      Thank you for reading the post and please share your thoughts when you finish reading the book.

      Reply

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