Rejoice one and all for the moment has come. No, not the resurrection of Jesus but the glory that is a four day weekend. Yes, Easter is upon us once more and the working masses are preparing to spend their bank holidays drinking with Family, eating copious amounts of chocolate and generally getting reacquainted with their sofas. For me, the Four day weekend is perfect for books. Anyone who states that they never have time to read has just lost their excuse. That being said, for some of us four days isn’t quite long enough. You’d never make it through Lord of the rings or Moby Dick so selection is hugely important. Here are ten recommended reads that you can get through easily this Easter Weekend.
To Be Read With Kids
This is a great opportunity to introduce your kids to literature and also spend some time with them doing something different. Spend an afternoon with hot chocolate and the remaining shards of an Easter egg reading something to capture their imaginations. My two suggestions are;
Coraline by Neil Gaiman – Neil Gaiman may be best known for his adult works but his children’s books are brilliant. Coraline especially has a wonderfully dark tale that’s reminiscent of the Brothers Grimm. This one might be better for older children as it can be pretty creepy in places. Official guide lines say 9+ for readers but I think that’s overly cautious. If your child likes the darker Disney or telling ghost stories, then this is a great choice!
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol – This is a timeless challenge for children and adults alike. From the poems to the characters, this story never fails to entertain the reader. If you are reading this to your child it’s a great excuse to do plenty of silly voices. This was read to me as a boy and it’s a fond memory.
If you don’t think you can find the time for a full novel then try out some short stories.
Bad Behaviour by Mary Gaitskill – Bad behaviour is a great collection to read, especially after international Women’s day. The film “the secretary” was based on one of the stories in this book and all of them have a slight cinematic feel to them. If you like the works of Raymond Carver and Breece DJ Pancake then this is a must read.
Uncut by Christopher Fowler – This is as far away from Bad behaviour as you can get. I read this first when I was 16 and totally obsessed with Stephen King. All of the stories are wonderfully grotesque. From people falling into deep fat fryers, murderous supermarkets and boarding school depression these stories are for the true horror fans out there. Just don’t read it if you’re planning a trip to the dentist soon.
Some novels are just the right size to read in a weekend. Not quite novellas but well away from the 500 page mountains that are out there.
15 Dogs by Andre Alexis – If you’re a dog fan then this is one for you. I won’t go into detail here but if you are interested, there’s a full review to be found on the rest of the blog but just imagine, what would happen if the Greek Gods gave Dogs human intelligence?
Other Voices, Other rooms by Truman Capote – This was a recommendation from Chris Godfrey, features editor with QX and Attitude Magazines. Chris told me that it was a beautiful piece of writing and he was absolutely correct. The review for this will be coming up soon but I think it would be a great addition to any Easter reading list.
The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham – If you are an old school fantasy fan then this is the one for you. This is the book that Village of the damned was based on and has been referenced in TV and pop culture for years. A notable example is with the Simpsons and “ We know all your secrets “. Alien force fields, creepy children and discussions of evolution and ethics make this a gripping and thoroughly enjoyable read.
Animal Farm by George Orwell – If you prefer your Easter weekend with a bit of political commentary then have a go with George Orwell’s retelling of the birth of Communist Russia. If that’s already making you snore then I’ll tell you that the politicians are all pigs, literally, there are full on man versus animal battles and you discover how easily mankind can truly be manipulated. To be honest this is a book that I think everyone should read no matter your literary preferences. It’s an important look at history told in a highly understandable way.
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by R.L.Stevenson – Since 1886 this book has delighted fans of gothic literature. As a warning, this book is quite violent in places but it’s not the horror fest you might be expecting. Modern day renditions of the story show the violent deformed journey of Jekyll or have Hyde as some kind of mutant beast. The truth is that this is more a study of the human psyche and asks the question, what would you do if you weren’t you? Brilliantly written and wonderfully dark this is exactly what you want for a bright bank holiday. ( Insert sarcasm sign here ).
Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings – When I actually have the time free I’m going to write a full post about this book and the 9 that follow. Pawn of Prophecy is the first in David Edding’s fantasy series The Belgariad. This is without doubt my favourite series of books. Whilst it lacks some of the imagination of Tolkien and Feist, these books create some of the most believable and truly likable characters in fantasy fiction. I first read these when I was thirteen and Barak, earl of Trelheim, Belgarath the sorcerer and Lleldorin of Windantor became friends I happily return to time and time again. If you are a fantasy fan then I cannot give you a higher recommendation than this.
So there you are. My ten recommended reads for Easter. Comment below if you have any for me. I’m going to be happily entrenched in a cottage in the Yorkshire Dales for Easter this year so I will need something to keep me company beside the roaring fire.