The best book I've ever read

Everyone has a favourite book, whether it’s a classic or not. Here’s what some of the ANU community nominate as their most memorable read.

I really love The Book Thief  because it has such an interesting way how the story is told – it’s actually told from the perspective of death which sounds really stark and morbid but it’s a broad spectrum picture of the story.

The book is set in World War Two Germany and follows a foster child who is the book thief. She steals several books but the book is more about her story than the books she steals.

I found it was heart breaking at times but it was a really good story that keeps you gripped the whole time.

Leah Collins, ANU Co-op Bookshop team member


It would be something of a shame to say that the earliest extant work of literature is the best; even so, The Epic of Gilgamesh is a worthy representative of human literary history. At its heart, the archetypal coming-of-age story, the epic follows the semi-divine King Gilgamesh's transition from an anarchic and tempestuous despot to the wise and humble governor of his city, through a series of grand adventures which anticipate the voyages of Odysseus.

So while its lofty subjects – the Gods, heroes and monsters of the Ancient Mesopotamians – do give us a delightful insight into the culture of the world's first great civilisation, it is its profound universality and touching humanity that really justify Gilgamesh's deserved longevity.

Louis Becker, studying Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Languages



The book that comes to my mind is Damned Whores and God’s Police by Anne Summers. It was just an amazing piece of research, a brilliant piece of writing that reconstructed our understanding about women in a very accessible way.

It made me look at identity and history in quite a different way. We often accept what we’re told – gendered relations were accepted as normal Australia for hundreds of years. The book opened my eyes to different ways of thinking, of analysis and that in fact, by looking at the past without bias based on what you’ve been told, you could understand the nature of politics, social relations and that action was needed for change.

Roxanne Missingham, BSC ’75, University Librarian