As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we know many of you may be searching for things to keep you occupied. Roar’s editorial team has a few books to recommend for your time in lockdown.
Ally Azyan – Culture – The Lives of Tudor Women
As exams are fast approaching, it’s good to spend some time away from our notes and enjoy some light reading. However, people like myself tend to feel some guilt if we read material unrelated to our course. Fortunately for historians studying the Early Modern Britain module, Elizabeth Norton’s The Lives of Tudor Women provides us the luxury of reading leisurely and studying at the same time. What’s even better is that Ms Norton is a part of King’s academic research team and a seminar leader to several students.
This book delivers information in a story-like manner with many real-life examples, making the overall reading experience very pleasing. It is particularly interesting in a way that it compares how women lived in 16th century Britain to today in the 21st century. The chapter on education caught my attention as I was able to see how education was reserved for the nobilities’ daughters, very much different from our generation. This book is a prime resource with which to consolidate and add more value to our current knowledge about this era, and should definitely be on your pile of lockdown books.
Sam Light – News – A Journey Around My Room
Xavier De Maistre’s A Journey around My Room is a deeply profound exploration of the wonder to be discovered in our everyday surroundings as well as being a delightfully funny parody of travel writing.
Our protagonist is left in confinement for 42 days, and to pass the time embarks on a voyage of self-discovery which takes him zigzagging back and forth across his small bedroom. The unspoken implication that the author is only writing because he is, in fact, very bored is eerily relevant to our own confinement.
Virjinia Vassileva – Deputy Editor – The Witcher series
Although a fan of what people call ‘valuable’ and ‘life-coaching’ books that tell real stories and give advice, it would lie to say I have outgrown more adventurous fantasy stories. Sometimes I just need to escape reality, and diving into an imaginary world full of unpredictable actions and non-existent creatures is the perfect getaway.
Given how repetitive my life has become these past weeks, my brain desired this cure more than ever. This time the thrilling story of Geralt of Rivia from The Witcher series (Andrzej Sapkowski) came to my rescue. Entangling Eastern European mythical creatures, intense love-hate relationships, great character development (for the good or the bad) and a beautiful dance around “destiny”, every chapter leaves you wondering what is going to happen next. I strongly recommend it for all sorcery and plot twists lovers. The best part is that there are 8 books in total; and it’s not like I’m going anywhere anytime soon.
Alex Blank – Culture – Demons, The Age of Innocence, and A Confederacy of Dunces
Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Demons (also called The Possessed or Devils), although not as well-known as some of his other works, is my favourite novel of his. It’s layered and dark, with enough wry humour and suspense to keep you reading, despite its intimidating length.
Alfie Wilson – Sports – The Barcelona Legacy
I’m sure many of us are going stir crazy at the lack of football in any capacity, but perhaps none more so than the thrills of the Champions League knockouts which should be taking place in April. This stage of the competition has seemingly been on steroids for the past few years, especially with barnstorming comebacks aplenty. No side has been involved in the latter more than Barcelona; each of the past three seasons their campaigns has been defined by three of the greatest comebacks in Champions League history, discussed at the end of the book.
The Barcelona Legacy is an exceptional read by Jonathan Wilson. 10 years after his publication of Inverting the Pyramid, his football tactics bible comprehensively outlining the evolution of football to the late noughties, he has published two books almost in tandem focusing on the most crucial phases in the development of the modern game. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book is the analysis of coaches who originally took on the dogmatic principles of the Blaugrana and have since deviated from it, discussing not just the key example of Jose Mourinho but also others such as Louis Van Gaal and Ronald Koeman.
The tactical detail of this book is less intense than in Pyramid, allowing for an incredibly engaging and easy read, packed with brilliant anecdotes. It is the perfect read to understand why football is the way it is today.
Marino Unger-Verna – Comment – Ireland: A Novel and The Goldfinch
If there’s anything I’ve found missing from my life during quarantine, it’s a change of scenery. The old saying about not knowing what you had until it’s gone has never been truer for me than now. So when I came home and realised how much free time I‘d have on my hands during lockdown, I sat down with one of my favourite books. Ireland: A Novel by Frank Delaney is a story of Ireland’s last storyteller, but it isn’t just that. It’s a story about places and times now far out of our reach, and tales made even richer through age. At a time when the outside world isn’t too friendly, it’s nice to feel a sense of wonder and discovery again.
If you’re looking for something a bit longer to sink your teeth into, give The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt a read. It’s a long one, but its compelling characters will pull you in, and won’t let go until you’ve read it to completion.
Shuprima Guha – Marketing and Analytics – Reading Lolita in Tehran
I’m currently reading “Reading Lolita in Tehran” by Azar Nafisi. It’s about a group of female Iranian students reading banned books along with their professor during the revolution – but it’s also about friendship, displacement and challenging authority. Admittedly, I had slim pickings since I’m still in university halls, and this is a book I have been meaning to read since January. It makes for a wonderful quarantine read since it’s relatable, though not directly. Azar Nafisi is very nostalgic about the “good old days” in Tehran and America, when she could be free – which translates well to everyone’s current situation. This book reminds you of a time when life was still perfect, until everything falls apart, making it an intriguing, but hard-hitting quarantine read.
All the books we’ve recommended to make your lockdown that little bit easier can be purchased on Amazon.co.uk, or at the retailer of your choice.