Novels to make you think

Being tied up with university and far too many deadlines has meant my reading for pleasure is on hold for the moment. I miss it. I got so many books for Christmas, and had to leave them all behind *sob*.

But I was reflecting on novels I have already read. Novels that stay with you long after you have read the last page, because their message or story is so powerful you are left slightly lost for a while, not really sure where to go from finishing. I love those novels. Even if they are a bit of an emotional roller-coaster.

Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

Possibly one of the most famous novels in existence, and sometimes scarily close to the truth. Orwell’s dystopia is not only achievable in the modern age, but shows how easy it can be to slip into something similar to this novel’s world. Humans can be too easily manipulated, and as a great lover of language, Orwell’s invention of doublespeak is an amazing reference to understand how language really does influence our own thought patterns without us realising.

Lady Chatterly’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence

“A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it.”

This novel is famous for being rude, although in the modern age in which the 50 shades series is a standard read this can be surprising. However it is more than just a few giggles, it really is an amazing read about the complexity of human connection. We grow up believing thought is more important than the physical, but Lawrence turns this around and argues that we need a physical connection above all else. Agree or disagree, he makes some good points.

Brave New World – Aldous Huxely

“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”

Another dystopian novel that shows what the human race can turn into if we lose all sense of humanity in favour of a simple, carefree life. Which is so often what we ask for, yet Huxely gives us this in an extreme example to prove that life without it’s messy bits is not really a life lived.

The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

“After all, what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished?”

One of my favourite contemporary British writers, Ishiguro’s novels capture perfectly the themes of nostalgia and looking back with perspective. The Remains of the Day does this alongside looking back at the events of WWII, and analysing the aftermath based on the actions of different people. Ishiguro is the master of showing how people learn from the past, albeit too late to make a difference, but that is human nature.

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