Reading is a huge hobby for so many of us, and one that has provided so much comfort over the last year in isolation. Whether you’re into fiction, biographies, or memoirs, each book allows for such reader immersion that all the worries of the world can be escaped for a brief moment.
Below are five books I think everyone should read at least once in their life.
On Connection by Kae Tempest
Tempest is an exceptionally talented writer, both in their music and written work. On Connection was published last year, after months of experienced isolation and separation across the world. I love reading non-fiction works, but this one stood out to me particularly because of its relatable poignancy. Whether you are an introvert, an extrovert or an ambivert, it is hard to not relate to what Tempest writes. If you’re a fan of gorgeous writing, relatable content and poignant messages, On Connection should be at the top of your list.
Our Sister Killjoy by Ama Ata Aidoo
Am I biased to include a book I wrote my undergrad dissertation on? Maybe. But Aidoo’s Our Sister Killjoy should be read and enjoyed by everyone. Featuring a likeable young Ghanian protagonist, named Sissie, this prose poem touches on so many important subjects: identity, race, migration, womanhood, relationships, LGBTQ+ discoveries, and so many more. Our Sister Killjoy is an easy but extremely interesting read.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Grief has unfortunately become one of the most common shared experiences over the past year, and Didion writes gorgeously about it. Though written and published well before the Covid-19 pandemic, Didion writes with an honesty which is difficult to not admire. It’ll make you feel hopeless and hopeful all at once.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Tartt’s debut novel has become especially popular recently with the rise of what internet users term ‘Dark Academia’. Eccentricity runs vivid throughout the novel, and it is simply impossible to not feel anything towards the group of misfits Tartt details. Careless youthfulness, morality and corruption are just a few of the topics that so beautifully manifest within Tartt’s words. It’s the longest book on this list, but one everyone should give a go.
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
I’m embarrassed by the fact that I hadn’t read a single novel of Smith’s before this year. On Beauty is a 2005 work detailing the lives of a mixed-race British/American family living in the USA. Smith’s writing style is exceptional, the type I am exceedingly jealous of. On Beauty has tones of humour, tragedy, and jealousy while it incorporates themes of womanhood, identity, cultural differences and academia. This is the perfect book to introduce you to Smith if you’ve never read her works before.
Image courtesy of Suad Kamardeen