The holidays are fast approaching and aside from spending time with my friends and family, there’s nothing I enjoy more than cozying up in front of the fire with a new book that I can’t put down.
With that in mind, here are ten of the best books I’ve read recently; ones that you may want to borrow from my bookshelf or wrap up and place under the christmas tree.
1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
– this powerful and poignant novel introduces readers to a side of society we know exists, but that many struggle to truly understand. The Hate U Give shines a vivid light on America’s ongoing struggle between police violence and systematic racism. It was also one of the most enlightening books that l read all year.
2. Exit West by Mohsin Hamad
– with just a faint trace of fantastical realism, Exit West depicts the daunting plight of refugees; those who are forced into migration by war raging in their homelands.
3. The Scarlet Pimpernal by Baroness Orczy
– first written as a stage play in 1903, The Scarlet Pimpernal is a timeless tale about a band of gentlemen (lead by the elusive Scarlet Pimpernal) who use their cunning and courage to sneak artistocrats out of France during the French Revolution. This was one my favourite required reading books in school, and it was such a joy to go back and read it again.
4. The Circle by David Eggers
– a dystopian take on what our society could look like if we allow the likes and dislikes of virtual strangers to mean more to us than our real friends and family. In The Circle, Eggers asks readers to reconsider what kind of impact we want technology to have on our lives and the irrevocable power we give to those who control it.
5. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
– impeccably written and driven by dynamic characters, Ng’s newest novel reminds us that everyone has their own story to tell and brings into question the undeniable ties between race, class and privilege.
6. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
– with the same ease and finesse as Little Fires Everywhere, Ng tackles some hard topics with her first book: what it’s like to feel like an outsider and how devastating it is to lose a loved one under uncertain circumstances.
7. One Bird’s Choice: A Year in the Life of an Overeducated, Underemployed Twentysomething Who Moves Back Home by Iain Reid
– an easy read and endearing memoir. One Birds Choice is a heartwarming (and often, hysterical) look into local writer Iain Reid’s (second) attempt at leaving the nest.
8. Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan
– intertwining extensive research and remarkable stories from Pino Lella himself, Beneath a Scarlet Sky tells the fascinating story of how a courageous young man survived WWII while living in Mussolini’s Milan.
9. Sons of Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped Nazi Germany and Returned With the U.S Army to Fight Hitler by Bruce Henderson
– historically rich in detail and reading more like fiction than fact, Sons of Soldiers traces the lifelines of a handful of “Ritchie Boys.” As young refugees they left their families behind and escaped Nazi Germany, only to return years later as highly trained interrogators for the U.S army.
10. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
– written by the same author who wrote the riveting novel (turned HBO series) Big Little Lies, What Alice Forgot is a light-hearted yet thoughtful reminder that life doesn’t always live up to our expectations or go as planned.
Bonus: Truly, Madly, Guilty also by Liane Moriarty
– an easy and enjoyable read, Truly, Madly, Guilty whisks the reader away to the suburbs of Sydney where Moriarty dissects the lives of three couples after they experience one of the most devastating nights of their lives.
Despite being on must-read lists and book shelves everywhere, I couldn’t bring myself to finish (or truly enjoy) the books below.
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson
“You know, my young friend, I will be ninety years old next year, and life is still a constant surprise to me. We never know what will happen next, what we will see, what important person will come into our life, or what important person we will lose. Life is change, constant change, and unless we are lucky enough to find the comedy in it, change is nearly always a drama, if not a tragedy.
But after everything, and even when the skies turn scarlet and threatening, I still believe that if we are lucky enough to be alive, we must give thanks for the miracle of every moment of every day, no matter how flawed.”
– Pino Lella