Suddenly we’ve all got a lot more time on our hands, and a lot more boredom to chase away. Luckily, many bookshops are still open and delivering to our doorsteps, so we’ve compiled the first instalment of our favourite novels for you to delve into.
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Is this book the most Estella Bartlett book to have ever been written? So far. Delve into the world of the Mortmain family, who struggle through a downtrodden but genteel life that is centred mostly around their home, a grand but decaying castle. This book is a perfect read for all those who need to immerse themselves into an ethereal, romantic landscape. The first half of the novel depicts isolation at its finest: stuck inside a crumbling castle with her eccentric family, Cassandra Mortmain endlessly and humourously ponders her position in life. When the castle is inherited by a wealthy American family, the Mortmains and their landlords collide, and the book spills open with adventure and romance.
If you can’t get enough of Cassandra’s naïve and intriguing narrative, there’s an equally charming film of the novel: the 2003 ‘I Capture the Castle’ directed by Tim Fywell perfectly depicts the book’s rolling landscape, the decaying castle, and the whimsical characters.
Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner
Laura Willowes, feeling entrapped by her domestic duties and labelled as a spinster, decides she has had enough of her stifling London life, and moves to the Chilterns. It is here that she embarks on her new life as a witch. Lolly Willowes wanders through the 1920s that we all know and love, and comes out the other end as a fantastical and hilarious transformation story. If it doesn’t inspire you to practice witchcraft, it will at least provide a temporary escape from boredom, as its twists and turns and eccentricities come together to make a comedy of manners that slips in and out of a fantasy world.
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Purple Hibiscus follows Kambili Achike’s life in postcolonial Nigeria, as she matures from a young girl to a young woman. Brought up by a strict and zealous father, Kambili slowly discovers that there are alternatives to the rigid and violent outlook that she has inherited. Purple Hibiscus is a beautiful book that will provoke you to reconsider and appreciate your own position. It’s the perfect book to read if you’re passionate about women’s education, and love to widen your outlook on life. We’d recommend it to anyone who usually likes to read non-fiction but fancies dabbling in a novel occasionally.
Drive Your Plow Over Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk
Despite its ominous name and its criminal position as a detective novel, Drive Your Plow is one of the funniest books we’ve ever read. Its bizarre narrator, a reclusive and eccentric woman living in the Polish countryside, embarks on a lengthy mission to discover the killer of several hunters in the nearby countryside. Like all of us, she’s obsessed with her horoscope, to the extent that she uses the stars to divine the murderer at loose.
Drive Your Plow was the deserving winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2018, and has rightfully earnt its place on the bookshelf of anyone who loves crime fiction, comedy, and a strong female protagonist. It is one of the few crime novels that is an amazing on the first, second and third reading, ad infinitum.
Got a book that everyone should read? Let us know and we’ll feature it in our next round of book recommendations.