Reading today is a tricky task when our smart phones seem to have been built solely to engage with our three-second attention span. However, while sufficient entertainment comes from hours of scrolling through social media – nothing beats sitting down with a good book. Sure, that funny cat video your Mum tags you in is “like” worthy, and yes, perfecting your Tumblr theme is essential to maintaining an aesthetic of perpetual coolness – still, you simply cannot compare to the brilliance of books.
Books are, and will always be, the crux of imagination. There is nothing quite like a good storyline. Whether you’re into thrillers, romances, or even fantasy – a good plot will make you stay up that extra hour (or four), riveting in anticipation – waiting to turn the page, or even read the next sentence. Books are more than the ones you hated at school, and they are definitely more than the films they influenced. So, if you want to get more into the habit of reading, here are some suggestions to start your love for literature.
Nick Hornby – High Fidelity (1995)
Nick Hornby’s debut novel is a hilarious recount of what it is to be a modern male. Hornby’s Rob Fleming is a dumped neurotic record collector, who seeks out every girl that has broken his heart in a bid to understand himself. Fleming is a male Bridget Jones as Hornby writes with an edge of genuine honesty missed by a lot of writers. Worth a read if you fancy a laugh.
Anthony Burgess – A Clockwork Orange (1962)
If you’ve seen the 1971 Stanley Kubrick film adaptation, you’ll know that A Clockwork Orange is a visual masterpiece. Well, Burgess’s novel is what can be described as a literary aesthetic – as he creates new slang, phrases, and words set in a near dystopian future. Following 15-year-old Alex, A Clockwork Orange captures the disturbing thrill-seeking elements of youth as Alex and his droogs engage in ultraviolence, rape, and drugs. While not a light read, Kubrick fans will rejoice in Burgess’s quirky language and enthralling storyline.
Charlotte Bronte – Jane Eyre (1847)
While there are many Victorian novels by women that broke the rules, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre was so controversial at the time, that it rewrote the rulebook. Following Jane from her abusive childhood to her passionate and somewhat tragic adulthood – Bronte writes with such a fiery angst against the machine. Challenging class, the roles of women in society, and even questioning the dogmatic nature of religion – Jane Eyre is a tricky read due to the Victorian language but it is definitely worth persisting.
J.K Rowling – Harry Potter Series (1997-2007)
As a 15 billion dollar franchise, the Harry Potter series is one you’ve probably already read as a kid. However, while they are technically children’s books, J.K Rowling’s fast-paced plot and easy-to-read language makes all seven of the Harry Potter books a brilliant and entertaining Segway into developing a love for reading. J.K Rowling’s tale of the wizarding world is just as captivating now as it were when you were ten years old.
Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby (1925)
A true classic, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, social hierarchies and idealism during the Roaring 1920s. Following young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby, and in particular, his obsession with the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, F. Scott Fitzgerald paints a portrait of excess, passion, and resistance to the American Dream. The Great Gatsby is the kind of book you can read all at once.
Stephen King – Carrie (1974)
As Stephen King’s first and perhaps, most popular novel, Carrie follows Carrie (obviously), a bullied teen who discovers she has telekinetic powers. Written as an epistolary novel (as in letters, newspaper clippings, documents, excerpts from books etc), King’s Carrie focuses on Carrie’s revenge, and is one of those books you have to read. Part of this simply stems from the well-known pigs-blood scene at the prom, which has become a popular aesthetic appropriated by many (think: Foo Fighters with ALS Ice Bucket Challenge).
Larry Watson – Montana 1948 (1993)
Montana 1948’s novella status deters many looking for a good read, however, Larry Watson packs a punch by managing a thrilling western crime in only 163 pages. Seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy, Montana 1948 covers heavy topics such as rape and race in a patriarchal and white supremacist America. Montana 1948 is definitely worth a read if you want something quick and gripping.
Melina Marchetta – Looking For Alibrandi (1992)
Looking For Alibrandi is the perfect coming-of-age book. Void of the clichés delivered in a usual teenage-bildungsroman (think: John Green), Marchetta’s first novel tackles contemporary young Australian issues in a relatable and often comical light – from first loves and identity, to even to suicide and feelings of abandonment.
Vladimir Nabokov – Lolita (1955)
Another book to have been adapted into a Kubrick film, Lolita is controversial in every way. Nabokov’s novel features Literature professor Humbert Humbert and his overbearing obsession with a 12-year-old girl whom he secretly calls ‘Lolita’. Sexually charged, Lolita is a commentary on our most deep desires – no matter how grotesque they may seem. Despite content that may be too much for some, Lolita is a fabulously well-written book that takes a deeper look at man itself.
So get off your phone and go grab a book! What are your favourite books?