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Books to escape the city
Time Out Hong Kong

10 books to read to help you escape reality

Take a break from reality with these escapism reads

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong
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The ongoing outbreak may have confined us physically in Hong Kong, but there is no stopping our minds from going on an adventure. The best way to start is through books, as it is the nearest you can get to travelling and exploring the world without leaving home. So, to help you get started, we've listed 10 books you can read right now if you want an escape from reality. By Elaine Soh

RECOMMENDED: If you prefer losing yourself in films and tv series, check out what's new on Netflix or immerse yourself in Hong Kong's best movies

10 books to read to help you escape reality

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett (1992)
Small Gods by Terry Pratchett (1992)

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett (1992)

Old but gold. Terry Pratchett's Small Gods is the thirteenth novel from his fictitious Discworld series. Discworld is an imagined world shaped like a giant disc balancing on the backs of four huge elephants that are standing on the back of an enormous turtle floating in space. Yup, this book will definitely drift you away from reality for a while. In Small Gods, you will get to see this world through the eyes of a god, who finds himself in the body of a tortoise. The novel is a satirical commentary on religion and its institutions without being, well, too preachy.

Available for $76 at swindonbooks.com 

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa (2017)
The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa (2017)

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa (2017)

This one is for cat lovers. Have you ever found yourself staring into your cat's eyes and wondering what on earth they are thinking? Well, this book will give you that perspective. Slip into the character of a black cat named Nana, as he tells the story of his owner Satoru while they travel around Japan through seasons to meet Satoru's old friends. It's an ordinary man's tale narrated remarkably by his feline companion.  

Available for $144 at bookazine.com.hk

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Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell (2020)
Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell (2020)

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell (2020)

Hamnet is a historical fiction of the short life of Shakespeare's only son, Hamnet, whose death influenced the tragedy, Hamlet. Although this tale opens with Hamnet, its central character is actually his mother, whom Maggie O'Farrell named Agnes. The Irish-British novelist was inspired by the fact that Shakespeare named his play Hamlet after his dead son, and she wondered how Hamnet's mother had felt about it. More than the grief, this novel offers an insight into a family's domesticity in 16th-century life. 

Available for $146.35 at bookdepository.com 

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan (2013)
Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan (2013)

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan (2013)

If you haven't read the Crazy Rich Asian trilogy, now may be the perfect time to start. Or skip that and go ahead with reading Kevin Kwan's latest book Sex and Vanity, where you can fantasise about infinite wealth and luxurious playgrounds. This book follows the extravagant life of Lucie Churchill, a half-Chinese half-American woman who finds herself torn between two men. Set in Capri, New York and the Hamptons – this book is a perfect summer escape into the glamorous world of the rich and powerful.  

Available for $180 at bookazine.com.hk  

 

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Braised Pork by An Yu (2020)
Braised Pork by An Yu (2020)

Braised Pork by An Yu (2020)

An Yu's debut novel Braised Pork begins with an unsettling tone as the character Jia Jia finds her husband drowned in a bathtub. Following after, a fish tank goes up in flames; the story just turned into strange as a painting becomes a gateway to another world. This unpredictable and bewildering novel seems like a Chinese thriller at first, but soon we will see Jia Jia embarking on a dream-like journey of inspiration and self-discovery from Beijing to Tibet, where she learns and draws parallels of her life to the secrets of the arcane Tibetan myths. Join Jia Jia as she jumps between reality and surreality in this peculiar tale. 

Available for $195 at bookazine.com.hk

A field guide to Jewish People by Adam Mansbach, Alan Zweibel, and Dave Barry (2019)
A field guide to Jewish People

A field guide to Jewish People by Adam Mansbach, Alan Zweibel, and Dave Barry (2019)

Widen your cultural knowledge and become a citizen of the world with educational hilarity in this field guide to the Jewish people. Written by comedians Dave Barry, Adam Mansbach, and Alan Zweibel, this 'guide' introduces Jewish culture and religion in a playful manner that makes for an entertaining read. Since the majority of us are homebound, perhaps this comical book is your ticket out.

Available for $147 at bookdepository.com 

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The Golden Age by Roxanne Moreil and Cyril Pedrosa (2020)
The Golden Age

The Golden Age by Roxanne Moreil and Cyril Pedrosa (2020)

Delve into the colourful world of The Golden Age and enjoy the impressive and compelling images from this graphic novel. Set in the medieval times, the book might remind you of a bit of Game of Thrones. In the kingdom of Lantrevers, Princess Tilda is overthrown and driven into exile by her younger brother on the eve of her coronation. On the run, she travels in secret through the hinterland of her kingdom with the help of her remaining allies. Follow her story as she finds ways to reclaim her throne in the midst of a revolution. 

Available for $158.20 at bookdepository.com 

Massage by Bi Feiyu (2020)
Massage by Bi Feiyu

Massage by Bi Feiyu (2020)

A stunning portrayal of human tenacity, the book follows the lives of 15 blind Tui Na (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioners and their goals and dreams despite their circumstances. Award-winning Chinese writer Bi Feiyu gives us an insight into the masseuses' world within contemporary Chinese society. If you are looking for an inspirational read, this book won't disappoint. 

Available for $155 at bleakhousebooks.com.hk 

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Spark by Naoki Matayoshi (2020) 
Spark by Naoki Matayoshi

Spark by Naoki Matayoshi (2020) 

The English translated version of the 2016 Japanese cult favourite that spawned a Netflix series, this book depicts the struggles of a manzai (a traditional form of Japanese comedy) comedian named Tokunaga, who finds himself under the mentorship of a crazy genius called Kamiya. Kamiya has indestructible confidence that Tokunaga finds inspiring but at the same time makes him doubt about his dedication for manzai comedy. Follow his story and delve into the interesting culture of Japanese comedy.  

Available for $94.41 at bookdepository.com 

Low by Jeet Thayil (2020)
Low by Jeet Thayil (2020)

Low by Jeet Thayil (2020)

This new book by Indian novelist Jeet Thayil follows the character Dominic Ullis who bought a ticket to Mumbai to sprinkle his beloved wife's ashes. However, he quickly finds himself slipping into the life of a junkie as he goes on a weekend of misadventures in the city. Touring high-end districts to visiting underground dens, Dominic surrenders himself into the megacity and experiences an erratic lifestyle. If you fancy a chaotic weekend adventure, then this novel is for you. 

Available for $136.28 at bookdepository.com  

 

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