5 Books To Read In 2023 - Part 2 I Oxford Open Learning

    Books to Read

    5 Books To Read In 2023 – Part 2

    This article follows on from last week’s first 5 books to read suggestions. It can be read by clicking here.

    I Who Have Never Known Men by Jacqueline Harpman

    I Who Have Never Known Men by Jacqueline Harpman is a mesmerising example of feminist science fiction. The novel, initially published in French as Moi qui n’ai pas connu les hommes, follows the story of a young woman, monikered as, yes, the ‘Young Woman’, who is locked up deep underground without explanation, in a cave with no natural light or human contact. She later escapes with 39 other women. But they are all entering a world they have never known – with the Young Woman as their de facto leader.

    Harpman’s writing is lyrical and introspective, allowing readers to feel the Young Woman’s deep sense of identity and to experience her individualist ideals that stand in the face of the established societal order. I Who Have Never Known Men is a brilliant work bound to leave readers in awe of the human mind’s tenacity to adapt and overcome.

    A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

    The link between women and fiction writing is explored in depth in Virginia Woolf’s essay A Room of One’s Own. In her seminal work, Woolf argues that women’s lack of access to education, financial resources, and privacy limits their capacity to write and produce fiction that accurately mirrors their realities. She looks at social constraints historically restricting women’s creative expression, such as sexism, classism, and patriarchal conventions.

    Woolf challenges these societal standards and disproves preconceived notions about the place of women in writing in a canny and evocative manner. Her compelling ideas still ring true with readers today, inspiring new generations of female authors and calling for more representation in all spheres of life.

    Educated by Tara Westover

    Tara Westover’s explosive memoir, Educated, is a remarkable tale of the transformative power of education. She grew up in a fundamentalist Mormon family in rural Idaho and was deprived of formal education. Despite associated severe obstacles, Westover’s determination ultimately led her to pursuing a college education at Cambridge University. Her compelling story of self-discovery and her journey towards knowledge is a testament to education’s incredible impact on individuals. Even if attaining that education means leaving everything we know behind.

    Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

    The critically acclaimed Where the Crawdads Sing is a hauntingly beautiful debut novel by Delia Owens. Set in the marshlands of North Carolina, the story follows Kya, a young girl who, after being abandoned by her family, is forced to live alone in the wilderness. She embarks on a journey of education and finds love, but her world is subsequently shaken when she is accused of murdering a former boyfriend.

    Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine, was behind its 2022 film adaptation, which stars Daisy Edgar-Jones of Normal People fame.

    Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

    Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo, is a beloved novel set-in 19th-century France.

    The story follows the life of Jean Valjean, an impoverished man who is jailed for stealing a loaf of bread. After his release, Valjean struggles to make a new life for himself while pursued by the ruthless inspector Javert.

    With vivid storytelling, memorable characters, and an incredible message of redemption, Les Misérables is a timeless masterpiece that has captured readers’ hearts for generations. Hugo’s epic tale has also found fans through the medium of the stage and screen. The original London production ran from 1985 to 2019, making it the West End’s longest-running musical. Cameron Mackintosh’s extraordinary production is now playing in London’s Sondheim Theatre.

    A film adaptation of the musical, directed by Tom Hooper, was released in 2012, with Hugh Jackman receiving critical acclaim for his towering performance as Jean Valjean.

    Hopefully these titles and the 5 books to read previously will appeal. There are plenty more page turners out there to find, though!

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    Jessica is a freelance copywriter and content writer based in Richmond-Upon-Thames. With a degree in English Literature from University College London, she has experience as a private tutor for 14-18 years olds and adult learners. She has also worked in Widening Participation as a Mentor, Student Ambassador, and Student Leader. As someone who achieved A-Levels through distance-learning, Jessica has first-hand experience of the unique challenges and rewards that distance-learning offers. She regularly contributes content to educational websites including eNotes and Tutorful.