You’ve finished your exams, so what do you do now? Try reading one of these…
1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon
Now a show in the West End, Haddon’s novel is about a high-functioning autistic teenage boy named Christopher, and is a real page-turner. This beautifully written book combines humour and sadness with mystery and fact, as we follow Christopher’s journey to discover who killed his neighbour’s dog.
2. The Bookseller of Kabul – Åsne Seierstad
Entering Afghanistan just two weeks after 9/11, to write this book Seierstad disguised herself by wearing a Burqa, and lived with bookseller Shah Muhammad Rais and his family in Kabul. Addressing issues such as the treatment of Afghani women by men, and the conflict between traditional Islam and westernisation, Seierstad’s excellent non-fictional account of life in Afghanistan reminds us all to be aware of cultural differences.
3. The Lincoln Lawyer – Michael Connelly
A novel for those who adore legal thrillers! Connelly’s novel focuses on defence attorney Mickey Haller, who takes on the case of wealthy real estate agent accused of murder. Unfortunately, things start to go wrong for Haller, as he realises his client isn’t telling him everything.
4. The Plague – Albert Camus
Camus’ absurdist novel is one that must be read at some point in your lifetime. Set in the hazy atmosphere of Oran, Algeria, Camus presents a town in a coastal region cut off from the rest of the country after several of its residents contract the plague. Important concepts such as the nature of destiny and the human condition are explored, but if you’re not really interested in philosophy, it’s still a really good read.
5. The Pelican Brief – John Grisham
Those interested in American politics, this book is for you! It begins with the assassination of two Supreme Court Justices, who appear to have diverging views on many issues. So why have they both been killed? Young law student Derby Shaw proposes a theory, which turns her life inside out and upside down.
6. Around the World in 80 Days – Jules Verne
Translated from its original French, many may know Verne’s novel for its hilarious film adaptation, starring Jackie Chan. But the book is just as good, if not better! Met with ridicule at his suggestion that he can travel around the world in 80 days, the main character, Phileas Fogg, sets off in a bid to win the bet and prove the skeptics wrong.
7. Getting Rid of Matthew – Jane Fallon
Often overshadowed by her famous husband Ricky Gervais, Fallon catapults you into a world where a cheating spouse, having finally left his wife, moves in with his mistress of 4 years. The only problem is, within a week, she’s realised she doesn’t want to live with him anymore…
8. The Humans – Matt Haig
Haig reminds us what it is to be human in this fantastically written book. It follows an alien who has inhabited the body of a maths lecturer at the University of Cambridge. It can’t be! But it is. Examining the challenges we undergo as humans, reading this book will make you both smile and cry, often at the same time.
9. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
This humorous novel shows that there truly is someone for everyone. Simsion throws together two seemingly incompatible individuals, one of whom has been suggested to be the ‘world’s most undateable man’. This book will have you crying with laughter – don’t miss out!
10. The Monk: A Romance – Matthew Lewis
Finishing the list with a classic, The Monk: A Romance is often forgotten when thinking of Gothic novels. It was published in 1796, just before Lewis turned 20 – quite an achievement. The novel tracks the fall of Ambrosio, a highly admired monk, and takes place in an eerie monastery in Madrid. This book will have you on the edge of your seat in anticipation.
You have no excuse to be bored this summer now! Get out, enjoy the sunshine, and indulge in a whole other world.