The fear-inducing reading lists have been distributed! You will soon be entering the horror story of your life. Your teachers will ask you to present your chapters (or whole books if you’re at university) and the creative skill of reading slowly dies away as you deal with the heavy task ahead.
But guess what! As more diverse writers enter the mainstream, the lists are significantly improving and there’s leisurely reading too (yes, you read that right). Put aside your Instagrams and Snapchats in favour of a cosy evening of inspiring, spiritual, cultural, reflective curl-ups with a book.
Here are our top picks if your bookmark is currently unemployed, and we’ve picked out a quote from each to whet your appetite too…
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel
“Every element lived in harmonious relation with its neighbour, and all was kith and kin. I knelt a mortal; I rose an immortal. I felt like a centre of a small circle.”
- Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“And it’s wrong of you to think that love leaves room for nothing else. It’s possible to love something and still condescend to it.”
- Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah
“This planet is for everyone, borders are for no one. It’s all about freedom.”
- Anita and Me by Meera Syal
“Maybe that’s what love meant, both people thinking they were the lucky one.”
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“Racism is absurd because it’s about how you look. Not about the blood you have. It’s about the shade of your skin and the shape of your nose and the kink of your hair.”
- And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
“You say you felt a presence, but I only sensed an absence. A vague pain without a source. I was like a patient who cannot tell the doctor where it hurts, only that it does.”
- The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
“He belonged to the land and he could not live with any fullness until he felt the land under his feet and followed a plow in the springtime and bore a scythe in his hand at harvest.”
- The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
“It is curious how sometimes the memory of death lives on for so much longer than the memory of the life that is purloined.”
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
“I believe God is everything, say Shug. Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you’ve found It.”
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
“I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.”
There you have it, folks. Books have the ability to make us laugh, cry, gasp, think, wonder and act – sometimes all within the same page. As the nights draw in, settle down, grab some tea and a blanket, and see where the words will take you. And if you choose one of our suggestions (or have anymore of your own), let us know what you thought of it on Facebook or Twitter!