Published in Issue 18, Craccum Magazine 2016.
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Call me cliché, but there’s a reason this novel has sold over 30 million copies worldwide: it’s really, really good. Good story, good characters, good message. Told from the perspective of six year old Scout Finch, this book will have you feeling all nostalgic for your own childhood while also get you thinking about some very real-life issues. The Museum, Library and Archives Council (MLA) in England put it at the top of their “books every adult must read before they die” list. Now, it’s a book every adult must own before they die.
Wool – Hugh Howey
The first in Howey’s Silo Series, Wool is seriously a great read. As someone who isn’t usually into science fiction novels, I can fully say that this won me over. You know a book is good when you actually look forward to going home and reading… yup, that’s right. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity survives underground in an enormous silo, the story follows a handful of characters who take a stand against the silo’s dictatorship and begin to uncover its (very grim) secrets. This is one fast-paced, can’t-put-it-down read which you will definitely not regret buying.
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
How does one describe A Clockwork Orange to one who hasn’t read it? Dark? Fascinating? Genius? All of the above, I suppose. Set in dystopian England, the story follows complex teen Alex as he embarks on a stream of rather violent activities. After being sent to prison he becomes subject to an immoral form of aversion therapy in an effort to reform him. I would go so far as to call this book a masterpiece. It raises a lot of big questions about society and humanity, which makes for some darn good thinkin’. Plus, Alex narrates the story in Burgess’ invented argot, ‘Nadsat,’ which only makes things more intriguing. Moloko plus errday.
The Beautiful and the Damned – F. Scott Fitzgerald
If you call yourself a reader, there has to be at least one Fitzgerald on your shelf. Maybe you’re more of a Great Gatsby or Tender is the Night fan – that’s cool. I like The Beautiful and the Damned for its portrayal of life both before and after World War I. Fitzgerald captures the Jazz Age and sense of post-war disillusionment in New York with this complicated love story, creating a work that we can now use as a kind of historical window into the lifestyle and attitudes of the time. Not the easiest read, but a good one nonetheless.
11.22.63 – Stephen King
I would argue that King’s best works are those that stray from the horror genre he is so often categorised in: The Body, Under the Dome, Joyland and Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption to name a few. 11.22.63 also sits outside of the horror genre, and it is truly great. The story follows high school teacher Jake Epping as he travels back to 1958 and works to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It is gripping, funny and also incredibly tense. Like many of King’s novels, it’s a hefty volume – but don’t let that put you off – it’s very quick reading. Whether you’re a King fan or not, this book deserves a read.