Like many people, I never used to read. I found it boring and would get lost after reading just a few words. This all changed though when I picked up ‘1984’ last year. Since then you can guarantee I have always a had a book in my hand. On that note, this month I will be recommending (or rambling about!) some of my favourite books and maybe inspire others to get reading again!
Pillars Of the Earth- Ken Follett
‘Pillars of the Earth’ is the first book in Ken Follett’s epic Medieval Trilogy series. If you love epic historical fiction, this is one for you.
Pillars of the Earth surrounds the building of a cathedral in 12th Century England but is also so much more than that. While the underlying building of the cathedral takes place, tales of romance and revenge evolve. There are twists and turns right from the beginning as an innocent family can’t seem to get a break from the terrible Lords that rule the land. As the story progresses, Follett will leave you saying, ‘did that really just happen??’ Follet is also fantastic at writing bad guys and Pillars of the Earth is no exception. The main foe is Joffrey levels of evilness and you just love to hate him.
At 1076 pages spreading 50 years, Pillars of the Earth is certainly an epic. But the core of the story, which is the cathedral, keeps it moving. Subtle descriptions of characters gaining grey hairs along with changes in the environment offers a good reference of where the story is in time without constant reminders of the year. This keeps the story flowing.
Many may think how 1000 pages of a guy building a cathedral could be interesting but somehow it is. Follett builds this engrossing World around the characters, a World not just full of romance and revenge but of political turmoil and fascinating Medieval life.
Deception- Roahl Dahl
As well as his encapsulating childrens books, Roald Dahl has also done a range of short stories which are perfect for the reader with not as much time on their hands.
‘Deception’ is 286 pages and contains 10 short stories. While they range in length, all surround the topic of lying, cheating, deceit and well… deception! Also, given the topic of the stories, there are a range of happy and not so happy endings, set in a variety of places and told from different points of view. This variety keeps the stories fresh and forever inviting. For me, it was fascinating to see the darker side of Dahl and I can’t wait to discover more of his short stories.
‘Homo Sapien’- Yuval Noah Hurari
Yuval has done 2 books in this series, but for now I am going to concentrate on his first, Homo Sapiens.
Homo Sapiens is an excellent read, taking you through the creation of the world we know today. Yuval explores early man and how we spread across the globe, before dipping into the Agricultural Revolution, the birth of money and how society came to implement it and religion. While this book can seem complex and daunting at times, Yuval does an excellent job of bringing in simple examples throughout history to explain why present society works the way it does. If all this sounds a bit vague it is only because the book covers about 2 million years of human civilization but does so succinctly and in a way that keeps the reader gripped.
The whole of human history cannot be fit inside 500 pages but Yuval offers an intriguing over view of some important points in history which you can then explore for yourself if you so desire.
I hope you enjoyed my brief descriptions of some of my favourite books! Picking up a book offers a fantastic break from work and is a good alternative to a Netflix binge! If you want more information on how to get more books into your life, there are some helpful links down below.
Plymouth library: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/student-life/your-studies/library
Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/