Who could have imagined that the population of the entire world could be quarantined into their houses in the fast paced era of the 21st century. Some are calling this COVID-19 pandemic a curse, while some optimists are doing the best they can to convince the masses to see the positive side of being quarantined.
While we definitely need to and are keeping a social distance from people around us, to protect them, we have experienced a much needed close proximity with nature, time with our own selves to contemplate in solitude, we have all got a break from our hectic monotonous routines which was not leaving anytime for us to do things we may have loved to do otherwise; watching movies, meditating and most of all the trend of reading has just returned. In fact, books are one of the best distractions for staying sane as they transform us to another world, just by resorting to books, we can conquer the mental frustration that few of us might be feeling owed to this being confined within our territories.
As we sit back in our homes, here are few books that we must read now that we have ample time whilst the quarantine lasts:
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations is one of the most read classic fiction. The protagonist is an orphan ‘Pip’ who’s life is transformed from being an apprentice to a blacksmith into being a gentleman as he encounters an escaped convict that leads to meeting his mysterious and bitter yet generous benefactor Miss Havishim. The novel focuses on Pip’s life’s transformation through education and development, which lead him to discover his true self, his nature and identity as a gentleman and of course his ‘great expectations’ from life.
Great Expectations is up there for me with the world's greatest novels.~ Howard Jacobson
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
It will be no understatement to say that Anna Karenina is the most memorable and in fact most loved heroines of literature till date. Her charm is so overwhelming and intense that it makes the novel really unparalleled in the richness of classic literature. The novel is known to be a masterpiece as it addresses the extremely complicated nature of society and various levels; human relationships, existence of irreconcilable contradictions, destiny and death. Though the novel ends in tragedy and evokes despair, yet there is an enlightening dive into life’s ephemeral pleasures and plethora of celestial relief. Leo Tolstoy considered Anna Karenina to be his first actual novel.
The Trial by Franz Kafka
For those who love suspense and thriller genres, this is the book! The Trial, considered to be Kafka’s best works features a man who is convicted and prosecuted by an inaccessible authority remotely however his crime never gets discreetly revealed. And as Kafka’s novels had never been completed by him, The Trial too does not really have an ending but includes a chapter that sort of brings the mysterious story to an end. We could say the book seems to be influenced by Dostoevsky’s masterpiece ‘Crime and Punishment’.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A true classic of the 21st century, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. First published in 1925, this quintessential novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the mysteriously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Harper Lee's masterwork of honour and injustice, is indeed one of the few most cherished books of all time and has been translated into more than forty languages. Not giving out too many spoilers, but it is a heart wrenching and completely remarkable tale, as viewed by a young girl as her dad who is a local lawyer, risks everything he possibly has to defend a black man unfairly and unjustly accused of a terrible crime. The book shows the world of great beauty yet having inequalities that are savage! Well true isn’t it?
1984 by George Orwell
Penned down eons ago, 1984 has been claimed to be a prophecy about the future. And though 1984 arrived and passed, the dystopian perception of the government still haunts with a narrative that the governments can and will do anything to solely control the masses. To say the very least, it is a startling novel with such strong imagination that is convincing beyond comprehension with the admonition that power only grows and does not really lessen with time.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
Well if you are in the mood for satire and looking for good humour, this is the book for you! It is a timeless classic and a scathing novel on a society’s blind inclination towards totalitarianism. The novel relates the society with a farm that is overwhelmed and taken over by few of its mistreated and overworked animals who then after their enlightenment, chant slogans and stir idealism as they set out to create a world of equality and justice standing against tyranny. This is a must read masterpiece and compelling satire ever penned down that so eloquently stages evolution to revolution.
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Moments like this are buds on the tree of life. Flowers of darkness they are.
In this exceptionally written novel, our socially perfect hostess in the novel, Mrs Dalloway takes us through the journey of her carefree youth, her life as a lover who faced rejection and never fully recovered, as a wife who practically made a husband’s choice and herself as a stranger in the park who is war ravaged. As she readies her house for her guests, she reassess her life and looks forward to the unwanted and unknown art of growing old.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Here we are at Austen's most admired novel and the extraordinary story of Elizabeth Bennet in love with Mr. Darcy. Only very few could be able to remain uncharmed by the witty spirit of Elizabeth Bennet. When she first meets Mr Darcy, the most eligible bachelor and talk of the town, she finds him arrogant and indifferent to her good looks, only to find out later that Mr Darcy has himself in trouble as he gets involved in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her sister Jane, she is more determined than ever to hate him. In the novel, Austen shows us how perceptions can be deceptive with the folly of being judgemental in the most sparkling comedy of events, evoking gossip and friendship. So much like the drama of real life, well a must read!
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Maquez
The story of rise and of course followed by fall. One Hundred Years of Solitude is a tale of a family. The story is amusing, inventive, nostalgic and alive with compassionate and unforgettable men and women. The book is like a lyrical magic striking the soul, a masterpiece to read and enjoy!
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
And if you’re in the mood for comedy, then this is the book for you! Originally a BBC radio program, later turned into a book, tells the tale of Arthur who is retrieved from Earth just a few moments before it is demolished and Ford (his friend) and he start a very comedic journey through space! Quite intriguing and different!
Well, now that you have the right list here and now, let’s get started on reading and then we TALK out loud about these books!