Turn off your phones and laptops; set a pan of milk upon the hob for cocoa the way it should be done, and curl up with one of these five outstanding books you absolutely must read before you die.
1) You need Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in your life. It’s that book you look forward to reading as soon as you’ve finished it. The precision of Austen’s writing reflects the novel’s observation of society and good manners. Strong-willed heroine Elizabeth Bennett possesses a sharp wit that provides humour throughout, and the characterisation is exceptional.
2) A side-splitting satirical book, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller is a real work of art; it is possibly the funniest book you’ll ever read. The gripping storyline also manages to be a serious tale of hope and survival, which prevail despite the dark subject-matter of war, death and insanity. It’s one of those books that occupies your mind for weeks after putting it down.
3) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll makes for endearing reading; its colourful fantasy is depicted by well-drawn characters, and it can be enjoyed as a lighthearted, nonsensical tale, or studied more deeply to unveil its hidden meanings. A real delight to read for children and adults alike.
4) George Orwell’s harrowing offering 1984, a radical novel of its time, is eerily relevant in our modern-day society. In a culture where we are often watched and seldom truly alone, this political read will hit close to home and instantly challenge your perception of the world around you.
5) William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is packed full of conflicts, both physical and mental. Childlike innocence versus inherent evil; human instinct versus reason. Golding explores pack-mentality and power-struggles in his chilling story about schoolboys stranded on a desert island. A shocking and captivating read.