These 8 books will help pass your slow and tedious days during lock-down!
In this difficult time, It can be quite hard to focus on anything other than the news of the epidemic, or any updates on the lock-down - which is why I decided to compile a
In this difficult time, It can be quite hard to focus on anything other than the news of the epidemic, or any updates on the lock-down – which is why I decided to compile a list of 8 brilliant books which I’ve read (and re-read!) over the course of the past year. These books have left me not only captivated but also what makes us really human. I’m sure they will take you on your own contemplative journey – Take your Pick!
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Written between 1928-1930, This Russian classic reflects the political satire and dark humour that was often associated with those living in the Soviet reign of Stalin. The book opens with a Foreign Professor interrupting a conversation between 2 novelists, which eventually leads to a conversation filled with ominous prophecies and heated debate.
The Professor, with his black cat and his mysterious but powerful assistant Korovyev, introduces havoc, disruption and chaotic failures to the soviet society but save the 2 individuals, The Master: a renowned writer who burned his manuscripts, and the Margarita, whose devotion to the master is note-worthy.
Tess of the D’urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Published in 1891, It is regarded as Thomas Hardy’s greatest ‘tragedy’. Divided into 7 parts, each part more anguishing than the former; the novel follows the tragedy and deterioration of Tessa’s character as she is successively blamed for events that she had no control over.
Assaulted by one man, and abandoned by the other, Hardy attempts to portray Tessa in the light of a victim and to further emphasise the hypocritical, sexist and pitiful morals that characters carry, which may extend to the individuals in the Victorian Era.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Published in the 1890s, The novel is described as an ‘autobiography’ by Charlotte Bronte. The novel is filled with wisdom and the suffering that the main protagonist, Jane, endures as she learns to assert her position in society after being hired as a governess in Thornfield Hall. Drawing from her experiences as a governess and those in a boarding school, Bronte successfully establish an image of a woman who, as the novel progresses, achieves her journey of financial and spiritual independence.
This novel was perceived with great success and scandal, with Queen Victoria commenting, “really a wonderful book, very peculiar in parts, but so powerfully and admirably written.”
Vanity Fair by William Thackeray
The only English Classic known that can be compared to Tolstoy’s War and Peace! It is an excruciating yet consoling critique of the British Society, as Thackeray encourages his reader to look beyond the facade that we have created for ourselves.
This message is sent through the characters of Becky Sharp, a resolute young woman who climbs the social status by denying the patriarchy that is embedded all around her and using her intelligence to understand the psychology behind how people work. Whilst Amelia Sedley, her closest friend, only desires for young soldier George Osborne. Thackeray uses words to play on our nature of greed, troubles and vanity — making this novel more relevant now than ever.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
Published in 1848 under the pseudonym of Acton Bell, The novel opens as the mysterious and secluded Helen Graham moves into Wildfell Hall with her son. As the novel progresses, The reader learns, through the eyes of a male narrator, the exceptional strength displayed by Helen through her struggle to let go of her past and to bear the consequences of her feminist defiances as she becomes the subject of domestic abuse.
Touched with religious allegories, wit and intimacy of a young woman of becoming, the novel never fails to remind the reader of Helen’s famous exclamation:
“I no longer love my husband — I HATE him! The word stares at me in the face like a guilty confession..”
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Set in Afghanistan during a time where your identity could manifest you – The culturally rich novel follows the unconventional friendship of 2 young boys, Amer and Hassan, who stand at the opposite poles of the social ladder. As time progresses, the reader witnesses the lessons that the two boys learn, such as devotion and maturity cannot be brought.
With strong themes such as fate and justice running throughout the novel, it paints the perfect picture for what life in Afghanistan would have been like 30 years ago, whilst inviting the reader to contemplate on important questions such as: What happens when innocent blood pays for the price of war? And is this price ever justified?
The Well-Beloved by Thomas Hardy
It was one of the last books published by Thomas Hardy, in 1987. It follows the pursuit of Jocelyn Pierston, a sculptor who falls in love with 3 women of different generations which belong to the same family. He views these women as ‘ethereal’ and calls them his ‘well-beloved.’ Throughout this neglected novel, Hardy plays on human characteristics such as the desire to be wanted – yet never wanting to self reflect.
Through Pierston’s relentless desires to find the perfect woman, the readers come to realise what Pierston cannot: that although the sculptors he makes are alluring and immortal, human beauty and physical appearance are not.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Jane Austen often regarded this novel of hers with the greatest admiration and respect – and she isn’t incorrect in doing so. The novel famously opens with:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
The novel goes on to introduce strong-willed characters such as Elizabeth Bennet, who struggles to overcome the restrictive views on marriage imposed by her family and is infuriated by the prideful Mr Darcy, who everyone accustomed to admire. Austen uses satire, wit and intimacy to build this timeless classic to emphasise on lessons such as how perhaps our internal conflict often convolutes our decisions.