The pandemic has been a difficult time for many people but, at long last, some of our freedoms have been returned. After many long months, the UK has taken its first step on the long road out of the pandemic restrictions.
One of the best ways to relax in summer is by sitting down in the sun with a cold drink and a good book, whether on the beach or in your back garden. So, to celebrate the loosening of lockdown restrictions, here are our top seven books about freedom.
1. The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill
Starting off with the classic story of one of the most well-known escapes in history, The Great Escape is the exciting tale of how hundreds of captured British soldiers worked together to organise an incredible breakout from Nazi captivity during the war.
Their task was no easy feat, as the infamous prison camp was supposedly escape-proof. But right under the noses of their guards, they dug tunnels, forged passports, and stitched German uniforms to help them make a break for it.
The escape was well-organised and timed to the second but, of course, sometimes not everything goes according to plan…
This book is an incredible account of ingenuity and courage in the face of danger, proving that real life can be just as exciting as fiction.
2. The Backpacking Housewife by Janice Horton
When ordinary housewife Lorraine Anderson comes home one day to find her husband in bed with her best friend, she decides to put on her coat, set off for Gatwick airport, and never look back.
A heart-warming novel, this book follows Lori’s journey of self-exploration as she slowly discovers who she really is under the titles of wife, mother, and business owner. As she encounters new opportunities, the reader gets to watch her blossom to her full, realised self.
A brilliant book that’s hard to put down, The Backpacking Housewife is an excellent read for anyone craving a bit of summer escapism.
3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
In New London, everyone is happy. A perfect society has been achieved through mind-altering drugs, hypnotic conditioning, and the destruction of family bonds. Happiness itself has been distilled down into a pill that can make you forget about anything bad that ever happens.
But there is one person who is unhappy, a scientist called Bernard Marx, whose job in hypnotic conditioning gives him some perspective on how flawed their society really is. His journey to find meaning in this world leads him to explore what it really means to be happy.
Huxley’s classic dystopian novel is a thrilling read and sits at number five on the Modern Library’s 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. Even though it was written in 1932, its vision of the future is both terrifying and believable.
4. Persuasion by Jane Austen
One of the great Victorian novels, Persuasion was Jane Austen’s last novel and is generally thought of as her most mature.
The heroine of this book is the 27-year-old Anne, who, as an unmarried young woman, is effectively a prisoner of her overbearing father and is trapped in the gilded cage of her family mansion. Worse still, she has no true companions and is surrounded by some of the worst people that high society has to offer.
But when Anne reconnects with an ex-fiancé, whom her family pressured her to leave, this gives her the opportunity for a second chance at love and the possibility of escape from her family.
A beautifully written novel, Persuasion is full of humour and is sure to warm the heart of any reader.
5. The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Number five on our list is The Thing Around Your Neck by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This collection of short stories explores a variety of topics, from romantic heartbreak to the difficulty of immigrants to adapt to life in their new country.
A compelling book that addresses many difficult topics, such as religious tolerance, sexual freedom, and economic exploitation in modern Africa, it is as engaging as it is thought-provoking.
6. Freedom by Daniel Suarez
In the much-talked-about sequel to the 2006 novel Daemon, Detective Pete Sebeck returns to help lead a small band of enlightened humans fight against the odds in this terrifying techno-thriller.
Leading on from the prequel, the malicious computer program known as the Daemon is firmly in control, silently using a network of spies to tear down society and rebuild it according to its own wishes.
As civil war breaks out in the American Midwest, Sebeck is forced to lead a populist uprising and fight against the powers that be. In a world of conflicted loyalties and rapidly crumbling authority, humanity’s freedom itself is at stake.
An excellent read for any fans of the cyberpunk genre, Freedom is definitely worth a read this summer.
7. The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz
Slavomir Rawicz was a young cavalry officer in the Polish army, but when the Soviets occupied eastern Poland in 1939, he was arrested by the communist secret police. After they beat a confession out of him for things that he had never done, he was sent to a work camp in the farthest reaches of Siberia.
Camp life was brutal for the prisoners and so he and several others formulated an escape plan. They trekked over four thousand miles through Siberian forests, Mongolian deserts, and even the Himalayan mountains to reach freedom in British India.
Rawicz’s incredible journey is a breathtaking true story of survival against the odds and resourcefulness in the face of danger.
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