Some people probably get cars as graduation presents, or large sums of money destined for travelling or just to be kept in a savings account. My graduation present was far more modest, but it has definitely revolutionised my life; I was given a Kindle. I now have my very own portable library, and I find myself scrolling through pages of recommendations, saving them onto my very own wishlist, virtually spending next month's pay on books rather than clothes. And it's not just how easy it is to find new books to read, it's how easy it is to actually read them! Something about that little screen makes me a much faster reader, and I'm working through books at an incredibly fast pace.
Here are some of the books I've been reading recently (with my own completely unprofessional rating) that might make your daily commute or lazy weekend a little more enjoyable.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (5/5)
After the runaway success of Gone Girl, I had to read The Girl on the Train, and it was the gripping thriller it promised to be right from the start. I could not put it down! I really enjoy books in which you don't automatically love protagonist, and the alcoholic and just generally tragic main character Rachel is a great example of that. The story follows her unnecessary involvement in a local missing persons case, with lots of twists and turns along the way.
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (3.5/5)
I'm glad I read The Wasp Factory, though I wouldn't necessarily say I enjoyed it. Again, the protagonist is an incredibly warped and psychologically disturbed 16 year old boy who turns to torturing and killing animals (and people) to kill time in his rural Scottish Island home. The story follows his life as he waits for his mentally unstable brother to make his way home from hospital. At times the descriptions were difficult to digest, but I still had to see how it turned out; definitely one for those with a strong stomach.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (4/5)
I briefly studied Lolita in my Aesthetics unit at university, where we questioned whether the moral value of a book effects the book's aesthetic value as well. In other words, if the book is morally repugnant, does that automatically make it a bad book? For instance, this book follows Humbert Humbert's love for twelve year old Lolita, and the paedophile's attempts to win her heart. Essentially Nabokov tries to get the reader to sympathise with the paedophilic protagonist, so if your imagination can get on board with that then it's definitely a good read. It makes an interesting case study for Philosophy students, anyway.
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (5/5)
This is the best book I have read in a long time (possibly ever), and thank you so much to Rachael for recommending it to me! At almost a thousand pages it is definitely one you have to stick with, but if you do you are taken on the roller coaster journey of Lin, from escaping an Australian prison to India, where he lives in the slums, becomes a gangster, gets thrown into Bombay prison and so much more. It's emotionally gripping and engages the imagination no end.
In Order To Live by Yeonmi Park (4/5)
I saw an interview by Yeonmi Park on TV and instantly knew I had to buy her book and read about her escape from North Korea. Even though she is just the same age as me (22), Yeonmi is on a mission to share the story of her life so far from her childhood growing up in North Korea, her traumatic escape to China, all the way through to her final arrival in safe South Korea. The writing is simple, clear, and concise - very quick to read - but the story is harrowing and incredibly educational. It'll definitely shine some perspective on your own #firstworldproblems.
Have you read any of these books? I'd love to hear any other recommendations you have!
Don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin!