Potentially the most intellectual piece of click-bait you’ll ever read…
As summer fades into a distant memory, your Fresher’s Week hangovers start to build up and the heating in your student house can’t seem to keep you properly warm, few activities can rival the simple, escapist pleasure of curling up under the covers with a good book. Read on for our recommendations, based on your star sign.
Aries: The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
For the inherently curious Aries, The Alchemist is the ideal autumn read. Short and deceptively simple, this taut and unsentimental novel is centred around the journey of a Spanish shepherd to Egypt. On the surface, The Alchemist is a desert tale of a chase after imagined treasure, but a careful reader can easily gather the gems of wisdom studded throughout. Coelho evokes a lesser- known incarnation of the Middle East, of the silence and the magic of the desert; the lack of intrusion of modern politics makes for a refreshing change. The book burns with heat and light- perfect for the fire sign Aries; for added points, its protagonist is a shepherd.
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Taurus: The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingslover
The Poisonwood Bible is a must-read for any Taurus. Kingslover explores the bullish, domineering stubbornness and increasing cruelty of an American preacher, Nathan Price, who drags his wife and four daughters into the collapsing power structures of colonial Congo. A typically stubborn Taurus will be drawn in by the examination of Price’s rigidity and startling lack of self-preservation, as he perseveres on a hell-bent salvation mission with little intuition and even less compassion.
Gemini: The Secret History, Donna Tartt
The Secret History’s dark subject matter and icy New England winters make for the perfect read for any Gemini seeking to embrace the autumn gloom. Through the perspective of a relative outsider, Tartt narrates the struggles of a friendship group dealing with the after-effects of a murder they have committed. Central to the group is a pair of twins, whose violent, incestuous relationship will eventually set in motion the series of fatal consequences that bring the novel to its close.
*reads Donna Tartt’s The Secret History 4 the first time*
them: how do you get anything done?
— postdrunk.jpg (@Post_Drunk) September 14, 2017
Cancer: Bonjour Tristesse, Francoise Sagan
Bonjour Tristesse is a short and sparkling read with surprising psychological complexity. Published when Sagan was only eighteen, Bonjour Tristesse studies the dangerous pairing of a young girl’s sexual agency with her languid amorality and immaturity. The water sign Cancer will be drawn to the constant presence of the sea, which shimmers and fades in the background of triangular summer romances, lukewarm lusts and ennui.
Leo: The Autumn of the Patriarch, Gabriel Garcia Marquez#
Leo, a natural born leader, will be immersed in a shifting scale of emotion by this winding, confusing, spell-binding map of the decaying old-age of the dictator of a fictional Caribbean island. The book’s shifting narrators conjure an unexpected poignancy and almost unbearable nostalgia, as Marquez writes the suffering of a dictator as well as that of his subjects.
Virgo: The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie
If you believe in the saying ‘opposites attract’, you’ll surely agree that the sign with the most religious connotations must enjoy a book so wildly heretical that it earned its author a fatwa. Iconoclastic, enormous and utterly, blasphemously irreverent, this quasi-religious novel is as plot-driven and engaging as it is political.
Feb. 14, `1989: Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini orders the death of author Salman Rushdie over “The Satanic Verses.” https://t.co/zjZjQ5YeME
— Ben Steelman (@BenSteelmanSN) February 15, 2017
Libra: The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
A novel about the relative weight and weightlessness of existence seems only appropriate for a star sign whose symbol is the scales of balance. The Unbearable Lightness of Being is poignant, bearably philosophical and engaging, as Kundera portrays the Soviet invasion of the Czech Republic as just one of the many crushing weights bearing down upon the terrifying lightness of the self.
Scorpio: Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys
This devastating and exquisitely written tropical ‘prequel’ to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre is the perfect choice for any Scorpio. The novel is a catalogue of violent extremes of emotion: its blazing confusions of hate and desire, love and depression, are sure to resonate with passionate Scorpios. In this unsettling post-colonial work, Rhys gives a voice and a story to Bronte’s madwoman. Rhys portrays the unlikely protagonist’s final actions in Jane Eyre as entirely reactive: undercurrents of sexual, physical and psychological violence criss-cross throughout Rhys’ book, as she tries to show that, like the scorpion, Bronte’s ‘madwoman’ is only violent once provoked into her insanity.
Sagittarius: The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
For the travel-loving Sagittarius, The English Patient and its globe-crossing threads of narrative are sure to appeal. The bow and arrow held by the Sagittarius centaur is reflected in the novel’s constant awareness of war, as Ondaatje’s characters struggle to find meaning and purpose in the aftermath of destruction. For a fire symbol, the book holds extra appeal, as it is woven throughout with flames: the English patient who gives the novel its title falls burning from an exploded aeroplane into the desert.
Capricorn: Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts
Shantaram is a good match for the earth sign Capricorn, as author/ protagonist Roberts seems to have travelled at least half of it. An autobiographical account of an exceptional life which reads like a thriller, Shantaram tells the story of an escaped convict and heroin addict who flees Australia for the slums of Mumbai. The novel rockets around the slums, prisons and celebrity society of India, into Afghanistan and then back again. Inherently amoral and packed with drugs, crime, sex, love, beauty and suffering, Shantaram is a page-turner fit for the most adventurous Capricorn.
Aquarius: Hot Milk, Deborah Levy
For Aquarius, the water-carrier, Hot Milk is the obvious choice: its protagonist spends much of her time carrying different varieties of equally unsatisfying water to her psychologically crippled mother. The life-giving properties of desire, the fluid nature of human sexuality and the devastating power of family ties are probed against the backdrop of a sun-blistered Spanish town. Hot Milk is a strange but simultaneously engaging mix of a novel about the European economic crisis, and a wistful portrait of complex and stagnating lives.
A pro-move is to read whatever Deborah Levy writes. https://t.co/B46ucbLDd6
— Sean Peoples (@s_peoples) August 10, 2017
Pisces: The Old Man and The Sea, Ernest Hemingway
The Old Man and The Sea belongs on the bedside table of dreamy, whimsical Pisces. The book’s nautical setting and descriptions of the ocean’s schizophrenia mark it as a classic choice for the water sign, as Hemingway evokes the terror of the deep sea and its simultaneous seduction. The old man’s compassion and empathy for the fish he tries to catch will resonate with sensitive Pisces, who will likely admire the protagonist’s quiet strength.
What are your thoughts on our book recommendations? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.