Since this is a new blog, I thought I’d give you an insight to the kinds of books that I like to read, to let you see if this is a blog you might be interested in following. I hope so!
1. All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr.
This novel was astounding; it stood out against everything else I read in 2016. Set in the lead up to WWII, the plot follows two protagonists, Marie-Laure, a blind girl living in Paris, and Werner, a German boy, as their paths intertwine trying to survive the destruction of their lives.
Marie-Laure has grown up walking the streets of Paris to her father’s workplace, the Museum of Natural History, until the age of twelve, when they are forced to flee to her great uncle’s house in Saint-Malo. With them, they are carrying the Museum’s most valuable jewel, making them danger’s potential target. Meanwhile, in a small town in Germany, Werner and his younger sister, living in an orphanage become increasingly fascinated by the power of radio, which brings them closer to people across the world.
Unlike some of the other historical fiction I have read in the past, All the light we cannot see, does not spend too much time describing the surroundings and “historicalness” of the period. Instead, Doerr masterfully depicts not only the physical devastation of the war in this novel, but also the emotional upheaval, using the characters to propel the plot forward. The book shows that despite everything, people are still ultimately good.
2. Everything I know about love by Dolly Alderton
This is without a doubt my fave non-fiction read ever. Unlike other non-fiction reads that are out there, it was not dry at all. A memoir of growing up and learning about life, Everything I know about love was spot-on, hilarious and truthful. A former Sunday Times dating columnist, Alderton unashamedly reveals to us her highs and lows of her search for love from her teen years to her early thirties. Packed full with realistic accounts of growing up in today’s society, she has us laughing on one page and reminiscing the next. What Alderton does so well, is prove to us that love does not just have to be romantic; our best relationships are those we form with our friends as we go through this turbulent time of becoming an adult, and it had me calling my best friends as soon as I’d finished it! I could have read Everything I know about love forever, and Alderton has certainly given me a real fondness for the period of time which I had previously written off as awkward “teen” years.
3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
3 incredible women, one incredible story. This novel follows the lives of Aibileen, Minnie and Skeeter as they call out the racial injustices in their town in Jackson, Mississippi.
Aibilieen, a black maid working for a white family and raising their little girl, is a caring, gentle and wise woman, whose past has been haunted by her son’s death. Minnie – a friend of Aibileen – is a feisty and fierce woman, whose tongue often gets her into trouble in the town, but manages to find a job working for a young couple, who are trying to get pregnant. The two encounter Skeeter, a young aspiring journalist looking for a story to tell, in her attempts to shake off her mother’s expectations for her future. The three embark on a journey to denounce the inequality infecting their town and in the process, they begin to change the future for all black people and women of the future. This is a story of friendship, fairness and the fight for justice. Absolutely not one to miss!
4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
I know most of you are probably groaning at this, as it’s such a predictable choice. However, I would be neglecting the truth if I didn’t say that Harry Potter was in my Top 5. The Philosopher’s Stone, in particular, is the book that I always reach for when stressed or homesick and has got me through the last 15 years feeling like I always had a world to escape to.
5. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
If I’m honest, I couldn’t decide which of Hosseini’s books to put on this list, as I loved the Kite Runner as well, but of the two, I feel that A Thousand Splendid Suns deserves more credit than it gets. This was not an easy read; in fact, it took me a while (and many tears) to get through this book when I read it, but it is SUCH a beautiful story.
It depicts the stark relationship between Marian and Laila, born a generation apart who, despite everything, form an unbreakable bond to the backdrop of the Afghan war. This is a tale of war and sacrifice, but also of love and faith. Similarly to Doerr, Hosseini perfectly captures the immense destruction of war on ordinary lives and the intense friendships that can blossom from this. It is so important that tales like this get shared with the world, especially in today’s climate, where westernised cultures take dominance in the news. I LOVED this book.