Written By Soph Robinson
The year is 2012. You’re between the ages of 8-12. “Impressive reading age” is a phrase that gets thrown about. You’ve just ripped through the entire Hunger Games book series with a terrifying ferocity (feel free to substitute The Hunger Games for any other YA series, think Alex Rider, Cherub etc) and you’re looking for your next fix.
Cut to 2022. The last time you picked up a book was probably against your will, the closest you get to literature are the Letterboxd reviews you pore over, and yet you’re desperate to escape back to that indescribable feeling that is found between the pages. But where to start? At the ripe old age bracket of late teens/early twenties you feel like you should be picking up the 21st Century equivalent of War and Peace. Or actual War and Peace.
If this situation is familiar to you, then you have come to the right place. There’s this weird book snobbery that seems to circulate online that dictates what is and isn’t a sophisticated palate. Yet the last time many people enjoyed reading was a time when the stories were fast, gripping and not overly wordy. Therefore, it would make sense that in order to get back into reading, we pick up where we left off. However, I realise that us young adults may not be entirely interested in investing in children’s books. So, I have collated a list of 5 books perfect for those getting back into the swing of literature, without compromising maturity.
The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
Soon after her move with her family to the idyllic Stepford, Joanna starts to shatter the façade that covers up something unimaginably sinister. Stepford Wives is a master of psychological suspense, as well a stunningly satirical take on male attitudes to the 1970s female liberation. Thanks to not one but two movie adaptations, the plot holds strong in the 21st Century. It is a relatively short novel, so well worth picking up, especially if you’re a fan of horror.
Home Remedies by Xuan Juliana Wang
Named one of the most anticipated books of 2019 by Nylon, Electric Literature, The Millions and Lithub, Home Remedies is a collection of twelve short stories representing the face of the Chinese Youth. This debut from Xuan Juliana Wang is a beautiful recollection of love, family, and identity. Wang creates unforgettable characters in bite sized form, making Home Remedies perfect for those looking for short reads.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Arrestingly endearing and entirely unconventional, Simison’s debut novel explores the murky waters of blossoming relationships in adulthood. Socially inept and orderly Professor Don Tilman creates the ‘Wife Project’ to find the perfect fit for his rigid lifestyle, he meets a woman who fits exactly none of the criteria. Yet he is intrigued by her search for her biological father, and their strange bond grows. ‘The Rosie Project’ will warm your heart and give you a new sense of optimism.
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
This may be a slightly left-field choice, but American Psycho is the book that got me back into reading last year. This bloody satirical take on 1980s New York Yuppie culture is a first-person account by our deranged narrator Patrick Bateman, as we follow his day-to-day materialistic lifestyle, peppered with savage murders. The writing in this novel is incredibly detailed, but it truly drags you in to Bateman’s mindset.
Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
‘Goodbye, Vitamin' is the dry, gorgeously perceived tale of a woman at a crossroads, as Ruth and her friends attempt to shore up her father's business.
"She and her mother obsess over the ambiguous health benefits — in the absence of a cure — of dried jellyfish supplements and vitamin pills; and they all try to forge a new relationship with the brilliant, childlike, irascible man her father has become."