Extinction of men, trouble in Eden, digital oracles: novels on the pulse
Enjoy the final lap of winter with topical books that reveal truths that real life cannot teach
I’m deeply suspicious of people who trumpet their disdain for reading “things that are not true” in favour of non-fiction, such as biographies about billionaires who ride their own rockets into space and, shudder, self-help books.
Why do we love stories? Because they give us the chance to exercise our imagination, develop the compassion necessary to understand other people’s thoughts and emotions and teach us new ways of expressing ourselves through creative language.
Fiction teaches us meaningful lessons about the real world and about other people’s realities. Think of Colson Whitehead’s masterpiece The Underground Railroad, a track that never existed in wood and iron, but was a network of people offering shelter and aid to escaped slaves. Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar remains a timeless, honest look at depression. In Watership Down by Richard Adams, we learnt that just to live is to be courageous. With that in mind, here are five books to get you through the remaining months of this winter of discontent and provide a glimpse into some of our world’s most pressing issues...