Remember Sally Rooney’s dazzling, multi-prize-winning novel Normal People? The BBC and Hulu just released a TV-series based on the book and rave reviews are flooding in. You can find our review here. Watch the series or read the book or even both. Just don’t miss this gem of a love story! Here’s the trailer.
Getting a perspective sometimes make things feel better. These great books should do the job.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. The ultimate ‘hard times’ book, written during the Great Depression. Classic Steinbeck with unforgettable characters.
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. Remember this one? A heart-wrenching but also very funny memoir by the Irish-American author who grew up in extreme poverty in Limerick, Ireland.
Blood River – A journey into Africa’s Broken Heart by Tim Butcher. A gripping non-fiction story of a journalist’s journey through Congo, one of the most dangerous countries on earth.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. Set in Korea during the Japanese occupation, this family epic vividly describes the one-bowl-of-rice-a-day-existence.
The Five – the Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold. Being a poor, divorced or single woman in Victorian times is the last thing you’d ever want to be after reading this superbly researched Baille-Gifford prize winning non-fiction book.
…and, of course, ANYTHING Charles Dickens.
Just what we need right now. A curated selection of books by smart women in the know, the judging panel of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020. There’s a one time winner of the Booker Prize (Bernadine Evaristo) and a two-time (possibly a third?) winner of the Booker Prize (Hilary Mantel). There’s the wonderful Jenny Offill whose books (Weather and Dept. of Speculation) we love. And then there’s our recent favourite, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. Good choices judging panel!
More than ever, this is the time to be there for your local bookshop. However tempting it might be to just click the buy button on Amazon, please think twice. Can you imagine emerging from your house in a few weeks/months time only to find it gone? You can make a difference right now by buying online from them. Here’s a photo of one of mine – Daunt on Holland Park Avenue in London (email@example.com). Get in touch with yours and see if they take online orders. Here’s a local bookshop finder if you don’t have a favourite yet LocalBookShops.co.uk
We thought a list of utterly addictive, read-while-you’re-brushing-teeth, stay-up-all-night books might be called for at this point. Here are our top ten:
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
North Water by Ian McGuire
Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
The Porpoise by Mark Haddon
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
And then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
The Shardlake Series by CJ Samson
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Personally, I’m a bit of an escapist, but for those of you who feel like reading about it here are some of the best books featuring plagues. From Daniel Defoe’s memoir from the 1665 bubonic plague to Stephen King’s The Stand where no less the 99% (!) of the population dies there should be something for every brave reader here.