My favourite reads: Emma Day

Here are five works that span more than a century and rarely leave my nightstand

'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde. Courtesy Alma Books
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I will often eat the same meal days in a row, pull on the same jeans and jumpers week after week, and my repetitive personality certainly extends to my book choices. While I make concerted efforts to educate myself with both the classics and the much-lauded contemporary releases, there are certain tomes that I find myself returning to time after time. Here, find five of the most re-read books that rarely leave my nightstand.

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (1915)

This fantastical tale doesn't need hundreds of pages to make an impact. The short story centres around salesman Gregor Samsa, who awakes one morning to discover he has turned into a giant beetle. Both heart-rending and rib-ticklingly farcical, Kafka's seminal work demonstrates how just one intriguing idea can evolve into a masterpiece.

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson (2015)

In this examination of how the internet has sparked a resurgence in the art of shaming, journalist Jon Ronson speaks to those who have had their names besmirched online. Uncovering the devastation left behind by viral campaigns, this book is both entertaining and terrifying, and it only further reaffirms my commitment to live Twitter and Instagram-free.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1970)

This marvel is one to pick up whenever you need a literary holiday from real life. Set in the fictional Macondo, the story spans seven generations of the town’s founding family as they face tragedies, triumphs and the seemingly inescapable repetition of the past.  Marquez’s style isn’t for everyone, but there are myriad pearls of wisdom within these pages.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1890)

This was my first introduction to Wilde’s work and remains my favourite among his novels. The tale follows a hedonistic young man who curses his own portrait in exchange for eternal youth and beauty. The result is a study in vanity and selfishness that is relevant in our age of Instagram. This book also offers concrete proof that true wit never gets old.

Notes from a Small Island  by Bill Bryson (1995)

I have a soft spot for humorous, travel-focused non-fiction and this is the most-thumbed book of that genre in my collection. Written before the American author bid adieu to Britain after living there for 20 years, this ode to my home country is comfort food in book form. Bryson captures all the idiosyncrasies of the British people – but with no malice, just mirth.