Arts & Culture, Film&TV

Ten Must-Reads for Your Downtime

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By Ciara Maria Hayes

In today’s world where we are surrounded by technology, reading often goes unnoticed as a hobby. However, whether you’d like to re-indulge yourself in the world of literature or you’ve developed a new interest, the following books are well worth the read.

1. Animal Farm by George Orwell (1945)
Animal Farm is a novel that documents the rule of Soviet Russia under the rule of Stalin in a satirical matter. It places heavy reference of Stalin’s use of propaganda (through Napoleon, the novel’s main character), as well as the hypocrisy of the Soviet government.

2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2012)
Gone Girl is a thriller surrounding the marriage of Nick and Amy Dunne. Upon the couple’s wedding anniversary, Amy disappears, with the police leading to believe she was murdered. This places Nick as the main suspect.

3. The Exorcist by Peter William Blatty (1971)
Most people will have seen the film adaptation of The Exorcist, as it is considered to be one of the best horror films of all time. While the film and the novel remain the same in a lot of ways, the novel tends to explore the themes and characters in a lot more depth.

4. A Song of Ice and Fire (series) by George R.R. Martin (1996-Present)
This series achieved massive success with its television adaptation, Game of Thrones. Each of the chapters centres around the thoughts and activities of a single character, alternating between them as the story progresses. It offers a much deeper understanding into the world of Westeros and offers a new perspective on the characters.

5. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James (1902)
The Wings of the Dove revolves around the tail of Milly Theale, an American heiress, and a couple who plan to steal her fortune. Henry James weaves together the three ill-fated human destinies unexpectedly linked by greed and desire in this witty yet tragic novel.

6. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954)
Lord of the Flies takes place during wartime evacuation, during which a British plan crash-lands by an isolated island in the Pacific Ocean. The remaining survivors are all boys still in their childhood years. The novel centres around the boys’ social organisation when left alone to their own devices and also the paranoias some begin to develop about the island.

7. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (1951)
The centre of much controversy, The Catcher in the Rye centres around protagonist Holden Caulfield in the complex issues of alienation, isolation, innocence and loss. The events take place following Holden’s expulsion from a private school.

8. Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler (1940)
This novel chronicles a Bolshevik during the Stalinist Great Purge and Moscow Shoe Trials of 1938, where he is arrested, imprisoned and tried against the government he helped create. The novel is divided into four parts.

9. Brave New World by Alodus Huxley (1932)
Set in the year 2540, Brave New World anticipates developments in the scientific areas of reproductive technology, sleep-learning, and psychological manipulation. Work in these areas is to be combined profoundly to change society, focusing around two main characters who are viewed completely differently in this futuristic world.

10. Ulysses by James Joyce (1922)
Often considered to be the greatest novel of the 20th century, Ulysses tells the tale of a day in the life of Leopold Bloom on the 16th of June, 1904. The novel is divided into 18 episodes which all follow a stream-of-consciousness style of writing. The novel makes heavy use of puns, parodies, and allusions, as well as excellent character development.

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