Happy weekend everyone. Before I begin, let me say that this post is about a month overdue. I spoke about these books on my Insta-stories back in December but did not get around to posting my recommendations here until now. If you have already made use of these recommendations, I hope you found something you loved. If these are new to you, I hope there is something here that will pique your interest.
It's proper cosy blanket weather and with the motivating power of a warm cop of tea, there really is no excuse not to get stuck into a good read. If you haven't read in a while and are looking to get back in the swing of it, a few recommendations are always welcome. Reading can be a bit like shopping, when you start it takes ages to pick your first book but once you get going, you can't read them fast enough.
Whatever type of reader you are... keep scrolling for my January book recommendations and happy reading xx
The Scandal by Fredrick Backman
This is perhaps the book I most enjoyed reading last year. It's set against the backdrop of a junior ice-hockey team in a remote Swedish town. It might not sound that appealing to anyone who isn't sports fan, but the real message in this book is not about sports. The first 150 pages set the scene and establish the characters. Then the story really starts and after that, it's impossible to put this book down. The book tells the story of a terrible crime that divides a town in two. It examines who has the courage to stand up against the majority view point and why people react the way they do when faced with uncomfortable truths. I've thumb marked so many passages from this book that really hit the nail when it come to describing modern society and how we react to challenging events. There are so many lessons to be learnt from this book about human nature. It's a New York Times best seller and for any readers based in the US, it's published there as Beartown.
Kill the Father by Sandrone Dazieri
Who doesn't love a good thriller and I loved this book. Like so many thrillers, it is full of clichés; from damaged cops to corrupt officials to unlikely partnerships. Despite that I enjoyed it from start to finish. Full of twists and turns, each chapter compels you to read another and even though it's almost 500 pages long, you will fly through it. The book is set in Italy and the main characters are a Deputy Captain Columba Caselli and Dante Torre. Both characters have had traumatic pasts. Columba survived a bombing in Paris and Dante was kept prisoner as a child by a kidnapper known as the Father. When another child goes missing, there is a suspicion that the Father is back at work and Caselli and Torre work together to get to the truth. Be warned, at times this book is quite terrifying.
The Dry by Jane Harper
Despite being quite slow paced, this is a page turner of a thriller and if you have a day to devote to reading, you will more than likely finish this book in one sitting. I started this thinking I'd get through a chapter or two to start with but found myself on page 150 by the time I put it down. It's a very easy book to read. Set in a small town in the Australian outback that's experiencing a prolonged drought, a mother, father and son are found shot dead. The main character Aaron returns to the town for the funeral, the dead father Luke being his childhood friend. The general acceptance is that Luke shot dead his wife and son and then committed suicide. Although the local policeman and Aaron struggle to believe this and the novel follows them as they pursue their investigation.
The Girls, by Emma Cline
This book was one of the most talked about books of 2016, but I only got around to reading it a few months ago. Ostensibly the plot is based on a loose fictionalisation of the Manson murders. While the story of a Manson-like cult and murder may seem like the main plot, the real value from this book comes from the memorable writing and the insight it gives into the trials of teenage girls growing up and their search for acceptance. The book's narrator, Evie is a teenage girl who is frustrated with what she sees as her mundane life. She becomes captivated with a girl she meets called Suzanne who is a member of a commune led by a Manson-like figure. Evie joins the commune and divides her time between her 'normal' life and her life in the 'commune'. This book makes for uncomfortable reading at times but you will continue reading nonetheless.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
This book was published in 2009 but is another I only got around to reading recently. Someone described this book to me as charming and that's exactly what it is. There is no big reveal or shock but it is charmingly wrote and engaging because of that charm. It's a story of friendship and ultimately love between two teenagers, one of Chinese decent and one of Japanese descent. Set in San Francisco during World War 2 it depicts how the war affected the characters' everyday lives and gives an insight into the treatment of American families of Japanese descent during the war.