• Ash

Books to help you escape

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

Given the current state of the world at the moment, its the perfect time to dive head first into a fantasy world - and what better way to do that than by reading. So, find a book and a nice, comfy corner and escape without even leaving your home (STAY AT HOME, KIDS!)

Here are a couple of my recommendations that might help numb the excruciatingly painful boredom that comes with this nationwide quarantine. Excuse the inner nerd that will definitely emerge when I'm hyping up some of these gems.

Number One: On The Road by Jack Kerouac

Written by one of the founding members of the beat generation; a movement that emerged in the late 1950s and early 1960s that basically rebelled against all traditional societal conventions, On the Road is one of my most satisfying reads.

Filled to the brim with adventure, Kerouac's most famous novel follows the journeys of Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise. Their unlikely friendship leads to three years of restless adventuring around America. Despite the restless escapades the two embark on to visit each other during those three years, the novel covers an array of characters, relationships and highlights the personal development of the characters. Its about discovery, about how two people with seemingly next to nothing in common realise they are more alike than originally thought. Not to mention, Kerouac has a way with words that is literally magical and almost musical. Also, to go a lifetime without reading any Kerouac should be considered a sin. But, then again, as a self-proclaimed beat generation obsessive - I am biased.

Considering we're trapped in our houses for the foreseeable future, It's hard not to be jealous of Dean and Sal's endless "rolling". That's why I think this is the perfect book to read during lockdown. If you can't leave the house and go on a incredible journey of self-discovery, why not let Dean and Sal do it for you? I think its a great idea, honestly.

Number Two: Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

If you haven't heard of this book (or film), you've definitely been living under a rock. CMBYN had a massive moment in 2017, after the release of the movie. It's also safe to say that the movie was also a catalyst for the Chalamania that is still sweeping the world (I promise you, I also winced when I read this word on the guardian).

Despite the popularity of this story, there is so much more to it than what popular media likes to focus on - sure, the peach scene is iconic, and it presents one of the greatest gay romances of all time but you're missing the beauty of it. Aciman is the master of using relationships to symbolise the growth and development of his protagonist's individuality. Set "Somewhere in Northern Italy", the story follows Elio, a boy who falls in lust with one of his father's students, Oliver, who is staying with them during the summer. Aciman encompasses the clumsiness, dangerously-emotional and sexually frustrating experiences that come with first attractions. The novel is a coming-of-age story, Elio developing these feeling for Oliver kickstarting his own self discovery. Aciman is also one of the most orally aesthetic writers I've come across, his words being both incredibly beautiful and oftentimes even jawdropping-ly emotionally accurate .

Also, It's set in northern Italy, in the summer, and they're surrounded by people and the beach and parties and ROMANCE! We're all social distancing so wouldn't you just love to be transported to a virus-free italy and live out your wildest summer fantasies. Especially now the weather's picking up, you can grab a cold drink, sit outside and if you open your mind just a little bit, you're practically there.

Number Three: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I saved the best to last.

This book is my favourite book of all time, so much so I feel as though I've left a piece of me in it, like a Horcrux. Cheesy I know, but that's how much I'm in love with it.

This book has everything you could possibly want; a circus that "arrives without warning", a magic competition where there is only one winner, madness, death, crazy clockmakers, a mysterious man in a grey suit, a magician who lets his power get the better of him, betrayal, forbidden romances and not to mention A MAGICAL UMBRELLA! I'm having to stop myself from saying too much but everyone who I've already recommended the book to absolutely love it, and I think you will too. Everything about this book is amazing, its also incredibly beautifully written. Not to mention, Morgenstern wrote the first manuscript during National Novel Writing Month! (a challenge I've tried and failed to complete over countless years)

I mean, What says escapism more than a black and white circus that pops up at night in random places around the world! I think this is the perfect novel to add to you quarantine reading list, and I guarantee you won't be disappointed. I apologise if I've undersold the book, I definitely have and if you pick up a copy I'm sure you'll understand why.

-- these are just three recommendations but don't worry if you aren't feeling these ones, I'll be recommending loads of books over the coming weeks, after all, I've got nothing else to do.

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