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Bored in lockdown? Turn off the Gogglebox, pick up a book

NOT everyone wants to sit and stare at the goggle-box. ETHAN WILLIAMS looks at a traditional alternative to Netflix – the good-old fashioned book, and comes up with three recommendations

Whether you’re an avid reader, or have had the misfortune of not being one, these three books are certainly not to be missed.

Sebastian Faulks – Engleby

In perhaps his most remarkable novel to date Faulks paints the story of Mike Engleby, a working-class boy who earns a place at Oxford University. After the disappearance of Jennifer – a fellow undergraduate who Mike admires - the story becomes a mystery. Not only surrounding Jennifer’s disappearance but also surrounding the psychology of our protagonist. Faulks delves deep into Mike’s psychology throughout the book, a mind that clearly has never felt quite at home in the world he finds himself in.

In Mike’s affection for Jennifer, the door is left open for Faulks to reveal the heart-wrenching irony of this deeply affecting novel. With a brush of complete tragedy, the reader is taken on an intricate journey through the darkest passages, ginnels and obscurities of Mike’s story. Engleby is a book that stands as a true testament to Faulks’ mastery in exhilarating a reader with the misfortunes that litter so much of the human consciousness; a book that anybody with the slightest fascination with the human experience should read.

Chilling and profoundly magnetic, Faulks invites the reader to, with each grit ladened word, assess human consciousness so intensely one cannot fail to be followed by the story long after the final page has been turned.

H.G Wells – A Sleeper Awakes

A dystopian novel that paved the way for Huxley and Orwell with its beautifully convoluted passages of Victorian description and magnificent commentary of the ‘Sleeper’s’ story, is without doubt a one of the greatest literary works of the 20th century. Wells tells the story of Graham, a tormented insomniac, who falls into a trance for 203 years only to find that when he wakes, he has inherited the world due to some clever investing from his long dead ancestors. As Wells traverses 22nd century London with gorgeous written dexterity, the reader is taken on a journey of future nuance and individual struggle against the powers of oppression that rule the future world.

Graham awakens from his deep sleep to be confronted with another awakening to the reality of his new world. With Graham at the helm of a ship headed to emancipate the serfs of the future from oppression, Wells confronts us with an increasingly relevant picture of how corrupting power can be, and how often it can poison the minds of those in charge.

For a lover of dystopian fiction, this is a must read that will inform the history of the whole genre. Wells shows his true genius in a novel that could so easily spark a love for literature, one perhaps yet to be unearthed.

James O’Brien – ‘How To Be Right… In A World Gone Wrong’

Confronted with the ignorance and the seeming lack of rational in our modern world, journalist and radio presenter James O’Brien tackles some of the most pressing issues of our time with forensic breakdowns and exquisite humour. It is a book, that everybody who wishes to be entertained and passionately informed on some of the greatest absurdities our time is faced with, MUST READ.

Accessible, alarming and undoubtably brilliant this book is a triumph in every sense of the word. A must read for those who wish to stand and fight in the name of logic and reason in the face of the growing tyrant of misinformation and manipulation. Personifying the phrase ‘page turner’ in every sense it is a book that will prove impossible for a reader to put down, due to the simple fact that on every page one will be encountered with another great flaw of our time.

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