I think we can all agree that 2020 hasn’t been the greatest year, but at least books, unlike theatre, cinema and exhibitions, have been available throughout. When you can’t go places, books can take you away. Here at Bookstoker we have been to a stormy Scottish loch, the poop deck of a 17th century tall ship, a senator’s mansion in Tennessee and the alehouses of 16th century Stratford-upon-Avon and many other places. As always, our annual Christmas list have fantastic fiction, interesting non-fiction, mind-bending poetry and loads of wonderful children’s books. So this year, more than ever, books really are the best gift. When you do buy them, please consider sacrificing the convenience and slightly lower prices of Amazon to make sure your local bookshop will still be there on the other side of Corona. Most local bookshops have good online or phone ordering systems now and if not Bookshop.org, an online bookshop supporting the local bookshop of your choice, is here to help.
Finally! The wonderful French 1960s classic, The Life Before Us by Émile Ajar, is getting the attention it deserves. Italian screen goddess Sophia Loren is starring in The Life Ahead, a film based on the book, which is now available on Netflix (film review). It’s the story of an immigrant boy who lives in a Paris orphanage run by ex-prostitute Madame Rosa. This book will make you laugh and cry and is not only one of my all time favourite books, it’s also the most visited post on Bookstoker. You can find our review here. Hello, publishers out there, can you please re-publish this amazing book!
The public has chosen Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of A Yellow Sun the best winner of 25 years of Women’s Prize for Fiction. This book is a magnificent read, a beautiful love story against the backdrop of the Biafran war, a terrible conflict I vividly remember from my childhood as totally incomprehensible…until I read this book. A truly amazing novel.
Read our review of Americanah, also by Adichie.