I ADORE reading. I was that child who went to the library every Saturday to choose new books and then devour them over the week. My favourites were The Famous Five and The Secret Seven as well as anything by Judy Blume. When I was at university I worked in a book shop and couldn’t believe my luck – here I was being paid to read! It was bliss.
Over the years, I must admit that I stopped reading as much as I used to. Life got in the way and it just wasn’t a priority. But I missed it terribly. So, last year I set myself a goal of reading one book a month and at the end of the year I was delighted that I’d actually read 18! I’ve continued to make time to read and I especially like to read in the morning in bed before getting up. It’s a lovely way to start the day.
So if you love reading and are looking for some recommendations, here are nine books I read recently that I’d recommend. Add these books to your reading list!
A man called Ove by Fredrik Backman
This is such a beautiful novel that had me laughing one minute and crying the next. Ove is a grump. As he’s gotten older, he’s gotten grumpier. He’s the sort of man who shouts at people driving down his road when they’re not permitted to drive there. After his beloved wife dies, he finds it difficult to find joy in anything. Then a young family move in next door and suddenly Ove has purpose again – not that he wanted it, mind. The relationship between him and Parvaneh is one that will have your heart swell with emotion. You won’t want this book to end.
Little fires everywhere by Celeste Ng
The Richardsons are a family who seem to have it all and they live in a suburb where everything is perfect – even the colour of the houses has been meticulously coordinated and planned. Except their youngest daughter Izzy isn’t playing by the rules. More cracks appear when Mia Warren, a single mother and artist, moves into the town with her teenage daughter Pearl and rents an apartment from Elena Richardson. Soon they become more than just tenants as Pearl and the Richardson children become close. But Mia is hiding a secret and Elena is determined to find out what it is. The ending is explosive.
Educated by Tara Westover
This is a story that’s stranger than fiction. The unbelievable true story of Tara Westover, who grew up in a strict religious family in Idaho, who were survivalists. When she was born at home, her birth wasn’t even registered due to her parents deep suspicion of hospitals, doctors and the government. School and learning was done at home, in a haphazard manner and there were barely any text books. The only learning that was prioritised was the teaching of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her family life was dysfunctional to say the least, yet somehow Tara rose above this and graduated from university and then went on to do a Master’s Degree at the University of Cambridge. A phenomenal story of triumph over adversity and how much can be achieved when the desire and will is there to succeed.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
This book has won a host of awards and it’s no surprise why. Queenie is one of those characters who you instantly love. Her life is not quite what she expected – her boyfriend has left her, her job isn’t what she thought it was and her life starts spiralling out of control. This book is funny and smart, yet also touches on mental health, race, culture and class. It’s a great read.
Where the crawdads sing by Delia Owens
It took me a few chapters to get into this book as it’s written in the voice of ‘Marsh girl’ Kya who lives in Barkley Cove, North Carolina. Kya has had a difficult childhood, with an abusive father and a mother who walked out, leaving her without a mother. When all of her siblings leave too, and then her father, Kya is left to fend for herself and survive on what she can. Years later, when Chase Andrews is found dead, Kya becomes the number one suspect. This is a story of survival, love and suspense…
Tangerine by Christine Mangan
Tangerine transported me back to Marrakech, although it’s actually set in 1950s Tangier. It tells the story of Alice and Lucy, once joined at the hip at university, where they met. But it’s been a year since they spoke, after the terrible accident, and Lucy is the last person Alice expected to see in Tangier. Lucy hasn’t adjusted well to life in the stifling heat, with the winding streets and bustling medinas so she should be happy to see Lucy. Soon though, there’s that familiar feeling of unease and feeling controlled by Lucy. And then Alice’s husband goes missing. This is a clever, psychological thriller that will also have you dreaming of Morocco.
The Truants by Kate Weinberg
I loved this book so much and it’s actually written by a local author. Jess grows up as the middle child of a middle class family in a town where nothing ever happens. When she moves to university she finds herself in a group of tight knit friends and under the spell of an intoxicating teacher who is a bit of a celebrity. This is a very clever whodunnit and will have you gripped.
Supper Club by Lara Williams
I discovered this book when my friend Holly posted about it on Instagram and I loved her review of it, it sounded right up my street! And it was. Supper Club tells the story of Roberta who learns to cook at university where she somehow fails to really make friends. She gets a job at a fashion website after leaving university and meets Stevie. The two just click and finally Roberta has the friend she always wanted. They move in together and Roberta cooks elaborate meals for Stevie. What follows is a sort of secret society for women who want to eat and take up space – a sort of feminist supper club. They hire empty restaurants and forage food from supermarket bins to cook their feasts. The events are hedonistic. The women who attend dress up, they eat, they dance, they sing, they eat and eat until they have to be sick. They behave in a way that society has always told them not to. This is a wonderful book that reminds women to take up space and not settle for what society expects us to be.
The party by Elizabeth Day
Author Martin Gilmore is obsessed with his best friend Ben Fitzmaurice. Ben is everything Martin is not. Charismatic, charming, successful, incredibly wealthy and confident. They met at boarding school and have been part of each other’s lives ever since. Although Ben is ready to cut those ties but Martin took the fall for him years ago and there’s no way he’s letting him cut him from his life for good. It all unravels at the party – Ben’s 40th birthday. Does Martin break the secret he’s kept for over 20 years?