As the period of self-isolation and social distance stretches on, you might reach the point where the novelty of games, Netflix, video calls with friends and family can start to wear off.
The good news is, you could use this opportunity to crack open a great book.
So in our ongoing effort to provide productive distractions from what’s happening outside your window and on your screen right now, we‘ve pulled together some of our favourite books of all time. Enjoy.
1984 by George Orwell
We begin with a classic. Follow Winston Smith, a lowly member of the ruling party of London, in the dystopic dictatorship nation of Oceania, where telescreens and cameras track everyone’s every move, and all citizens hail under the seemingly omnipresent leader, known only as Big Brother. This thrilling book whips you up and keeps you breathless from start to finish. A captivating book that will leave you questioning everything you think you know, even the answer to 2+2.
A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Following on with a similar theme to 1984, Brave New World too explores themes of conformity and what it means to be human. Brave New World takes place in a futuristic society in which human beings are made, or manufactured in tubes, to be identical to one another. We enter this world with Bernard as our protagonist, and alongside him we too learn the value of humanity’s diversity, and the terrible consequences that occur when this is taken away.
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
With two seemingly distinct but interwoven plotlines, this book demands strong focus and attention. The first storyline follows a fifteen-year-old boy Kafka, who runs away from his father and home in Tokyo, to the shores of Takamatsu. The second storyline centres on the mysterious Nakata, who after a traumatic childhood accident has lost the ability to both make memories of the present, and keep memories from the past. Murakami masterfully weaves the lives of these two characters together, and in doing so provides a commentary on such concepts as reality, memory, and time itself.
The Sicilian by Mario Puzo
From Japan to Italy, or Sicily more specifically. Mario Puzo, author of the world-renowned book The Godfather, follows up his classic with yet another tale of high stakes, crime, and passion. The Sicilian again enters us into the world of Michael Corleone and his family, but now there is a new player on the scene, Salvatore Guiliano, a Sicilian bandit feared throughout Italy. As Guiliano’s notoriety rises, he must navigate the criminal underworld, and come to terms with the fact that in his line of work, trust does not exist. If you like the Godfather movies, you’re gonna love this one.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
If you’re struggling with the uncertainty of these times, Paulo Coelho’s resplendent masterpiece The Alchemist is here to provide you some much needed positivity and comfort. Whilst this book does have a story and main character, the book should be read more of an allegorical self-help book, that explores the idea of finding one’s own destiny and overcoming personal fears that may only serve to hold you back from reaching your full potential.
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
Chuck Wendig puts together an electrifying blend of science fiction and the apocalyptic in Wanderers. A strange phenomenon has gripped the world, with people sleepwalking, unable to be woken, towards a mysterious destination. Follow Shana as she accompanies her sleepwalking sister on a journey to the unknown.
The Plague by Albert Camus
Camus’ seminal piece chronicles the Algerian town of Oran, as it is hit by a plague epidemic, and the accompanying trials and tribulations its citizens must undergo to survive. While this may sound like the last thing anyone would want to read right now, The Plague is peppered with moments of uplifting unity from the town citizens, to remind you that all is not lost.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
This book obliterated the self-help book genre when it crashed onto the scene back in 2016, and its rampage still rages strong today. This is a book that will stick with you long after you have put it down, and is filled with crystal clear advice, outrageous humour, and of course lots of profanity. Make sure to follow Mark Manson on Instagram @markmanson for some entertaining advice.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
Finally, we finish with another non-fiction book that has undeniably gripped the world in its clutches. Harari takes us all the way back, to the Stone Age, detailing the evolution of the human being, punctuated by the emergence of some of our most important features, including the development of our imaginations and our tendency to organise politically. With this book, you will quite literally learn something new about yourself!
A brief history in time by Stephen Hawking
The theoretical physicist’s mega-selling account of the origins of the universe is a masterpiece of scientific inquiry that has influenced the minds of a generation.