What book should you read next?
Is there any better way to spend a summer night than reading a great book? We doubt it! If you need some inspiration as to what you should read next, we’ve got the suggestions!
If you liked J. D Salinger – The Catcher in the Rye
You should read: John Knowles – A Separate Peace
J. D. Salinger’s masterpiece The Catcher in the Rye was struck with censorship issues for a long time. The novel had been censored due to Holden Caulfield’s use of bad language, blasphemy and encouraging teenage rebellion. The novel has stood the test of time as an honest depiction of not only New York City in the 1950s but the true feeling of the difficulties of being a teenager and coming of age. Holden struggles with being caught between youth and young manhood; he attempts to make himself look older yet underneath the surface, he yearns for the simplicity of childhood.
A Separate Peace is another coming of age story. Gene Forrester looks back on his time at school with his friend Finny. Finny is the best sportsman in the school which pushes Gene to work harder at his studies but suspects Finny is trying to sabotage this. Gene starts to resent his friend, and when the boys are attempting to jump from a tree into the river, Gene causes Finny to fall and shatter his leg. This leaves Finny unable to play sports and Gene is racked by guilt.
If you liked Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale
You should read: Alice Walker – Possessing the Secret of Joy
Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is a critically acclaimed novel that has been adapted into a gripping TV series. Set in the Republic of Gilead, what was once the United States, women lose their rights. Offred tells her story, of how she tried to flee the strict regime along with her husband and daughter to Canada but was caught and sent to be a Handmaid. The Handmaid’s purpose is to produce children during growing infertility and she is chosen by a Commander and his wife to carry their baby.
Alice Walker’s Possessing the Secret of Joy deals with the issue of female genital mutilation. The protagonist Tashi comes from Olinka, an African nation, where female circumcision is practiced. Her sister dies during her circumcision as she bleeds to death. Tashi undergoes the procedure as a young adult which haunts her, sending her into a downward spiral as she attempts to deal with the emotional and physical trauma.
If you liked F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby
You should try John Steinbeck – Of Mice and Men
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby is widely believed to be one of the greatest American novels of all time – even if it wasn’t appreciated while Fitzgerald was alive. The Great Gatsby refers to self-made man and member of the Nouveau Riche Jay Gatsby, who earns his fortune from bootlegging liquor during Prohibition, alongside other illegal and corrupt jobs. He lives in an extravagant house in West Egg, which he bought to be close to his true love, Daisy Buchanan. He throws lavish parties each weekend in the hope Daisy will attend and he’ll be able to show her what he has made of himself.
Jay Gatsby portrays the decline of the American Dream and if you’re interested in the theme of the American Dream, invest your time in the Steinbeck novel, Of Mice and Men. It tells the tale of Lennie and George, close childhood friends who travel to a farm to work. Lennie has some issues with his mental ability but George is always on hand to help him. Lennie finds some form of comfort in stroking soft things – like animals – but this often ends badly. Steinbeck highlights the impossibility of the American Dream; George and Lennie dream of owning their own farm to keep themselves but George learns the hard way that this is not to be.
If you liked Kathryn Stockett – The Help
You should read Beth Hoffman – Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
Kathryn Stockett’s debut novel The Help was initially rejected by 60 literary agents over three years before selling seven million copies and being adapted into a critically acclaimed film. The novel tackles race issues in Mississippi in the 1960s. Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan returns home to her family’s cotton plantation after graduating from university with hopes of becoming a writer – her mother wants her to get married instead. Skeeter’s beloved maid and nanny has left the family yet there’s no explanation why. Skeeter uses her writing skills to write a book revealing the truth of being a colored maid in Mississippi, with the help of the maids who experience it.
Another strong debut from a female writer is Beth Hoffman’s Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. CeeCee is only 12 years old, struggling with a tough home life with a mentally ill mother and absentee father. When her mother passes away unexpectedly, CeeCee has little option for survival – until her aunt Tootie, who she hadn’t heard of before – shows up, whisking her away to Savannah, Georgia. Her new life is a far cry from the sadness she’s endured; it’s a world full of strong females among the bright lights of the big city.
If you liked Jonathan Swift – Gulliver’s Travels
You should read Daniel Defoe – Robinson Crusoe
Gulliver’s Travels by Irish writer Jonathan Swift was well-received upon release and is still popular almost 300 years later. Gulliver refers to Lemuel Gulliver, a surgeon who goes on a voyage when his business fails. He visits a number of exotic places, beginning with Lilliput where he is bound by tiny captors. Swift take a satirical view of the state of European government as well as looking into whether the corruption of men is inherent or whether they can become corrupted.
It’s widely thought that Gulliver’s Travels was inspired by Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe. Robinson Crusoe also covers the idea of heading out to sea but ending in dire consequences. Robinson ends up shipwrecked on a remote tropical island for 28 years – enduring cannibals and captives before his rescue. Defoe’s novel is believed to be inspired by Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailor who spent four years on an uninhabited island close to Chile.
If you liked Alice Walker – The Color Purple
You should read Fannie Flagg – Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café
Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize winning 1983 novel The Color Purple details the life of Celie, a poor and uneducated 14-year-old girl who is continuously abused by her father. She gives birth to two children as a result, and both are taken away from her and adopted. She marries an older man named Mister, who beats her during their marriage. She finds peace in her husband’s mistress Shug, which whom she develops an intimate relationship with. She desperately wants to be with her younger sister Nettie, who flees and is assumed dead as she doesn’t write to Celie.
Although Celie and Shug’s relationship is not the main theme of the novel, either is the relationship between Idgie and Ruth in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café. Idgie and Ruth run the café, after Idgie rescued Ruth from her abusive husband. Their relationship is very much implied but is not explicit. The story of the café is told to Evelyn Couch when she visits her mother-in-law at the nursing home she lives in and inspires her to start selling cosmetics.
If you liked Harper Lee – To Kill A Mockingbird
You should read Alan Paton – Cry, the Beloved Country
You would struggle to find a better novel than Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee gave us the idyllic Atticus Finch, a lawyer and father who takes on the case of Tom Robinson, a black man who has been accused of attacking a white woman named Mayella Ewell. Racism is rife in their hometown, Maycomb, Alabama and Finch is the only man willing to take the case on. The claim is so clearly untrue but that doesn’t save Tom, leading Atticus’s children Jem and Scout to learn some tough lessons about humanity at a young age.
Racial issues arise in Alan Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country. Set in South Africa, Reverend Stephen Kumalo has to travel to Johannesburg from his remote village in order to look after his sister who is sick He also decides to look for his son Absalom, who left for Johannesburg and never returned. Kumalo’s sister has become a prostitute whereas his son has gotten a girl pregnant. Absalom is linked to the murder of Arthur Jarvis, a prominent white crusader for racial justice, which Absalom confesses to. Kumalo himself saw the divide in South Africa due to racial and economic divisions.
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