How to face the end of days when everything is overwhelmingly terrible
How to face the end of days when everything is overwhelmingly terrible

Jessie Collins

Here are our favourite dog-friendly hotels in Ireland for every budget
Here are our favourite dog-friendly hotels in Ireland for every budget

Megan Burns

A beginner’s guide to: Starlight kayaking on Ireland’s glow-in-the-dark lake
A beginner’s guide to: Starlight kayaking on Ireland’s glow-in-the-dark lake

Geraldine Carton

This house in Myrtleville, Co Cork with spectacular sea views is on the market for €850,000
This house in Myrtleville, Co Cork with spectacular sea views is on the market for...

Megan Burns

Does astrology affect our dreams and other things we’ve always wanted to know
Does astrology affect our dreams and other things we’ve always wanted to know

Sarah Finnan

Life-changing stories: ‘I went from being suicidal to becoming a Samaritans volunteer’
Life-changing stories: ‘I went from being suicidal to becoming a Samaritans volunteer’

Amanda Cassidy

8 engrossing Netflix picks worth starting this weekend
8 engrossing Netflix picks worth starting this weekend

Jennifer McShane

Meet the Irish sisters behind the interior selections at Cabü cabins in Cavan
Meet the Irish sisters behind the interior selections at Cabü cabins in Cavan

Amanda Kavanagh

The expert guide to embracing and growing out your grey hair
The expert guide to embracing and growing out your grey hair

Holly O'Neill

Beat the Sunday fear by treating your weekend like a holiday
Beat the Sunday fear by treating your weekend like a holiday

Colette Sexton

Image / Image Writes

#IMAGEReads: 5 brilliant novels you simply must devour again


by Jennifer McShane
03rd Sep 2020
blank

A truly great book is more than just a fantastic read; the story stays with you long after the final page – its prose with the power to change how you view the world. The books we read (or were forced to read, in some cases) as a teen take on a new lease of life upon the second reading as an adult. You’re older, wiser and have begun to write your own life chapters, so each story takes on a deeper meaning. Below are five novels are which are well worth reading again through the eyes of your adult self for their thought-provoking, insightful and often devastating details. Make sure these are on your reading lists.


1. Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood

 

Atwood’s profound seventh novel sees Elaine, a Canadian painter of some renown who, at 50, has returned to her childhood city of Toronto for a retrospective of her work. A chance meeting with a former friend and eventual tormenter forces her to relieve the often painful, traumatic times of her youth as we learn she has never forgotten her childhood bully. Her world is lonely and, at times, terrifying, more so as an adult reader. This is classic, unmissable Atwood.

2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

thebelljar

The Bell Jar (published originally under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas in 1963), remains Plath’s only novel and is a dark, yet brilliant read. It centres around protagonist Esther Greenwood, a college student from Massachusetts, who travels to New York to work on a renowned magazine for a month. She feels bleak and unaccomplished and slowly descends into mental illness. Her struggles are hugely relevant in society today, and it’s only through experiencing her story as an adult you can truly grasp the boundaries Plath attempted to break in the sixties. A mesmerising read.

3. Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy

circleoffriends

This beloved classic was of its time, but the central themes of friendships and first loves remain relevant at any age. You rooted for Benny and Jack, admired Eve’s loyalty and likely despised scheming Nan, but a more mature eye might view the story slightly differently, or sympathise more with the less-likeable characters – for each was trapped in their own way, each wanting to break free of life’s restraints in Ireland at that time. This nostalgic, coming-of-age tale is always worth another read.

4. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

936full-the-virgin-suicides-cover

This was American author Eugenides first novel, and it made a lasting impact. It is a book not so much about suicide – although as the title suggests the five teenage Lisbon sisters do kill themselves – but about unrequited love and the unknowable hurt of any action. Our narrators are now middle-aged, and two decades later the exotic sisters still haunt them, as they did in their teenage years. It’s beautifully written, and the haunting theme of loss and wasted youth has twice the impact once read a second time.

5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

81nbyAfBiAL

Jay Gatsby is the enigmatic host of many a grand party who harbours a lustful, dark secret. It’s easy to be drawn into his life of wealth, beauty and luxury the first time around (Gatsby exudes a boyish charm), but as you mature the undercurrents become apparent; all the money in the world can’t give anyone in the story what they truly desire, and the hollowness of the world inhabited by the flamboyant characters is clear; Gatsby is a flawed individual and Daisy remains cold and selfish, Suddenly, their universe looks less enticing.

Main photograph: Unsplash


Related#IMAGEReads: ‘For rape culture to shift we MUST speak out as victims’

Related‘It’s not about violence or death, I want people to finish feeling hopeful’

Related‘I originally thought the book was too dark to put into the world’

Also Read

Jason Sudeikis
CULTURE
Jason Sudeikis on ‘hitting rock bottom’ and why he wore a hoodie to the Golden Globes

Opening up about life, love and everything in between, actor Jason Sudeikis had some wise words when it came to...

By Sarah Finnan

Books
CULTURE
Shifting perspectives: 5 books especially worth reading during the pandemic

Jennifer McShane looks back at some of her recent favourite reads; those which offer a different way to view the...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
premium TRAVEL
Lynn Enright: ‘I miss cheap beer at lunch. I miss foreign supermarkets. I miss holidays’

Life for Lynn Enright has continued as normal without holidays over the last 18 months. But let us take a...

By Lynn Enright

Lizzo and Chris Evans
CULTURE
Sound the alarm! Lizzo and Chris Evans are flirting online again

It started as a drunken DM and now Lizzo and Chris Evans are reportedly expecting their first child together. No,...

By Sarah Finnan

Amie Doherty DreamWorks
CULTURE
DreamWorks has hired their first female composer – and she’s Irish

Irish composer Amie Doherty has become the first woman to ever score a DreamWorks movie, following the likes of legendary...

By Sarah Finnan

cauliflower curry
FOOD & DRINK
What to eat this week: Kerala vegan cauliflower curry

This vegan curry is simple, hearty and quick – the perfect weeknight dinner.Cauliflower makes a fantastic curry ingredient, as its...

By Meg Walker

blank
FOOD & DRINK
Lucy Watson’s vegan pad Thai is the perfect weekend dinner

Vegan Pad Thai Another Asian dish that is a particular favourite of mine. However, I discovered only recently that a...

By Meg Walker