My favourite reads: Chris Maxwell

Here are the five books that offered such a personal experience, it felt like a bond with the author

Macbeth By WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Edited by Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen. Courtesy Penguin Random House
Powered by automated translation

A great film is viewed with a cinema full of movie-lovers; a favourite band with an arena singing in unison, but a brilliant book is more personal. The bond with the author strengthens with every plot twist, making a connection that lingers long after turning the final page.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare (1623)

As a teenager, I scoffed at the idea I could ever understand The Bard’s seemingly alien text, let alone enjoy it. But The Scottish Play swiftly proved me wrong. The gripping tale of greed, ambition, paranoia and bloodthirsty drama is a timeless classic. Not only is it a fine play on its own merit, but it also opened my eyes to the genius of a literary giants. All’s well that ends well, then.

11/22/63 by Stephen King (2011)

He may be the king of horror, but this might be Stephen King’s crowning glory. Proving his versatility and ability to draw in his reader, his immersive tale of a time traveller who tries to prevent the assassination of JFK is as much a nostalgic yearning for simpler times as it is science fiction. If all you know of King is killer clowns and crazed hotel guests, give this a shot.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (2006)

Gone Girl may have put Gillian Flynn on the road to superstardom, but this dark and moody mystery was the gritty template for her success. Showcasing her knack for creating strong and complex female characters in the anti-hero mode, the thought-provoking story of a troubled writer revisiting a disturbing past is hard to put down.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1937)

This novel – built around the chalk-and-cheese relationship of ranch workers George Milton and Lennie Small in Great Depression-era America – captured my imagination as a schoolboy and remains a favourite to this day. The struggles of two men, bound together by circumstance, perfectly portrays the frailties of friendship and the power of the human spirit.

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (1939)

I have always been a firm fan of detective books that keep you guessing until the final paragraphs and Raymond Chandler’s enduring classic remains one of the best in the genre. A twisting, turning plot offers plenty of surprises, but it is the sharp-witted, street-smart sleuth Philip Marlowe who is the mystery we are keenest to unravel.

Chris Maxwell is assistant national editor for The National


Read more: