So, here are 6 good books, some old and some new, from a variety of genres, that you need to get a hold of!
Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace (1996)
Addiction, relationships, comedy
Wallace's novel explores how entertainment dominates our lives. It plays with the idea that what we take pleasure in defines who we are. Infinite Jest lets you get inside the heads of a child prodigy, a junkie, a government agent, and more, and is both a philosophical quest and a screwball comedy.
The novel seems to become more relevant as the years go by. It contains brutal depictions of desperation, and is a brilliant work or satire- of cultural commentary.
Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut (1963)
Satirical sci-fi, war
Vonnegut's novel criticises the arms race. It gets you thinking about the power of weapons, and how even the most competent people make mistakes as the novel's narrator hunts to find out what important people were doing the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
It'll make you question whether there should be a limit to the pursuit of knowledge.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Jean-Dominique Bauby (1997)
Jean-Dominique Bauby was once the editor of French Elle magazine, and known for his wit, style & passionate approach to life. Yet his story is a heartbreaking memoir of his narcissism throughout life as he suffers a stroke and is left paralysed and unable to communicate.
Bauby's novel will remind you of how precious the people in your life really are.
Less Than Zero, Bret Easton Ellis (1985)
Fiction, sex, morality
This novel gives a powerful portrayal of a lost generation, resulting from copious amounts of sex, drugs, and disaffection. Ellis's protagonist returns home to re-enter a life void of morals and religion - shaped around having too much money and not enough feeling.
Less Than Zero makes you really think about the tragic shallowness that society is capable of.
Before I Go To Sleep, S.J. Watson (2011)
Thriller, suspense, illness
Memories shape us. So what if we lost them every time we went to sleep? This is Christine's life, as she wakes each day as a twenty-something year old party girl, yet staring back at her is a 47 year old woman. She is guided by her psychologist who constantly reminds her, "don't trust Ben" - her husband. But are his motives purely professional?
The novel has been described as 'an affecting moral allegory: don't forget your loved ones. Or else.'
Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides (2002)
Family saga, gender, choice
At 14, Calliope Stephanides finds out she has a rare gene that renders her a pseudo-hermaphrodite. Claiming her male brain she shifts genders to become Cal, but this rare gift enables him to communicate between genders and see the depth within both genders.
The story tackles tough questions of fate and free will following Cal's developments throughout life.
Seen something you like? Before rushing off to Amazon, check out your uni library - it's not just all academic textbooks!