As I am sure you long time readers are aware, seeing as I just keep going on about it, I finished university this year. Gone are the days of having to read pages and pages of complicated scholarly arguments which quiet frankly completely take the enjoyment out of reading. Whilst the vast majority of the recommended university reading was incredibly interesting, I think knowing you have to read something makes it a whole less fun. It also makes you feel guilty when you are reading for fun when you know you have piles of reading to do for your seminars tomorrow. Now that I am free of education, I can read whatever I like, whenever I like and at my own pace. And that's exactly what I've been doing over the past few months and I've actually read a decent amount of books. So these are the books I've managed to get through this year.
1984 by George Orwell - This is obviously a classic and one that everyone must read at some point in their lives. Its where the hit TV shows Big Brother and Room 101 took their inspiration from. In the current political and social situation we live in, it's hard not to think that Orwell may have been kind of right in his predictions as it seems that we are being watched/monitored constantly and that individuals can't live their lives truly as themselves.
Animal Farm by George Orwell - Another Orwelian classic. I remember reading this at school but I didn't know what Communism was so it didn't completely make sense to me at all. However, having studied history more closely for 7 years, it's all very clear to me now. I can now see it for the masterpiece that it is. Through an animal analogy, Orwell conveys how capitalism, socialism and communism work in practice, demonstrating that most ideologies are flawed. A real interesting read and a good way of explaining the communist-capitalist conflict.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - It seems I really wanted to get through some classics this year. This is a story of a budding journalists' battle with the glamour of New York City, making it in the real adult world alongside battling with mental health issues. This book resonated with me since the main character struggled with what to do with her life following university, realising that academic achievement isn't everything. A must read for recent graduates.
Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood - I actually used this book for my dissertation as it shows the decadent and changing nature of Weimar Germany. It's a fantastic way of seeing how German culture changed during the 1930s and how the rise of the Nazis effected society. If you don't want to read a textbook on Weimar culture, this a lot easier to read.
Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso - #GIRLBOSS is a truly inspiring story of the the creator of Nasty Gal. As I've mentioned in a previous post, it really inspired me to actually do something. With useful tips on how to save money, how to write killer CVs and cover letters and to just be yourself and of course, enjoy yourself.
Burmese Days by George Orwell - A third Orwell installment. Of course staying on the social theme, Burmese Days looks at colonialist culture after the First World War and the role of English officials in British controlled Burma. The main character is regarded as peculiar for taking a genuine interest in native cultures and being a whole lot less racist than his colleagues. A interesting fictional portrayal of British imperialism.
There definitely seems to be a social theme with the books that I have been reading but I am looking to diversify and read a wider range, particularly the cult classics, starting with A Clockwork Orange. What would you recommend?