Literature and reading have always been a major part of my life. I mean, I did do a degree that just consisted of reading and writing. I was always the kid with a book glued to their hands, usually a Jacqueline Wilson. Throughout my 20-odd-years, I’ve read a fair few books (especially when I was reading three a week for uni). There are some that I can’t remember and barely even made a dent in my mind. But there are those books that have stuck with me, and made me feel something indescribable.
The most obvious choice ever, but I couldn’t forget to mention it. The wonderful world of Hogwarts and Harry’s adventures inspired me so much. They have stuck with me for years. Whenever I decide to read them again, I still feel the same joy that I first did. It’s such a magical world, with so much detail, that allowed me to escape reality.
The Bloody Chambers
Ever since I read this during A-Levels, this book has captivated me so much. I wrote my dissertation on this collection of short stories because I love them so much. Angela Carter has such a distinctive story-telling ability. Her ability to transform these classic fairytales into such terrifying, feminist warnings. They’re dark, gruesome and utterly captivating.
This Must Be The Place
I only read this recently, but the story captivated me so much. I found myself thinking about it constantly! There was something so simplistic and everyday about the story but the way it’s written is so wonderful. Maggie O’Farrell constantly shifts the perspective and style of the narrative but the characters have such a depth to them that amazed me.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Everyone and their dog loves The Handmaid’s Tale after the amazing TV adaptation last year. But that doesn’t take away from how remarkable this novel is. There is such an incredible bleakness to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian creation, especially because of how it’s portrayed as happening so easily. Although it was written in the 80s, it is still completely relevant to our society, which is absolutely petrifying.
I don’t think I’ve ever been as confused when reading something as I was when I read Beloved for the first time. It terrified me but was thrilling. Toni Morrison creates characters that you can’t help but try to love and empathise with. The portrayal of the life of a, supposedly, ‘free’ slave is so brutally cruel in it’s realism.
Another book that completely terrified me. George Orwell’s bleak and desolate dystopian creation is so timeless. Despite being written in the 40s, 1984 feels so relevant in a world of social media and constant surveillance. The details that went into creating the world of Oceania is incredible, with an entire appendix dedicated to understand Newspeak.
After deciding on the books that have really stuck with me, I’ve realised there is a theme. Apparently, I really like 80s feminist literature, dystopian worlds and books with political awareness. Which is hardly surprising though. What books have you loved and been inspired by?