Book Recommendations

Hi guys!

As the Winter months draw in on us, I thought it might be nice to start a conversation for book recommendations as there is nothing better than curling up on a windy, rainy day! This year I am trying to complete a 100 book challenge and I’m currently on book 74 of the year with 2 months to go!

Does anyone have any book recommendations or would anyone like any recommendations?

I’m just about to start: The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa translated to English by Louise Heal Kawai.

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Admittedly it isn’t the jolliest thing in the world, but was bought this book as a gift and just got round to reading it. Good read if that is what you are into!

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I recently finished Girl, Woman, Other.
While I didn’t love everything about it (the lack of punctuation - argh!) the characters were so brilliantly depicted they stayed with me for a long time after reading it.

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If you haven’t already read anything by Donna Tartt I’d recommend you do. I love all three of her novels - The Secret History, The Little Friend and The Goldfinch. I also enjoyed The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matsun Taylor, it’s lighthearted but witty and packed full of amusing characters.

A non fiction read, If This Is A Woman: Inside Ravensbruck: Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women. I had to put this down on quite a few occasions and have a weep. I felt I had to read it though to acknowledge the often forgotten or lost stories of women. It’s harrowing and heartbreaking but also full of resilience, genuine kindness and humanity.

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I recently ‘discovered’ Ali Smith and would very much recommend How to be Both - really poetic writing but also quite a page-turner.

Also Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell is beautifully written and very moving.

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I recently read The Secret History and really enjoyed it. I’ve just finished Hilary Mantel’s Beyond Black. If you are looking for something less long than her Wolf Hall series it’s a good introduction to her.

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If you wanna get into the mindset of an upper class Victorian dog then Flush by Virginia Woolf is great. (I recently got a dog.)

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I’ve got Hamnet in my to-read stack at home, really looking forward to it :slight_smile:

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YES I cannot recommend Donna Tartt enough! I’ve read TSH about six times and The Goldfinch maybe three times (despite the fact that it’s an absolute brick).

@samirahales I’m seriously impressed/jealous of your book count for the year so far! I’m aiming for 50 this year although I have slightly hamstrung myself by starting Dune which is probably going to take me until December alone at this rate.

I’m a cyberpunk/dystopian fiction fan so my favourites are Neuromancer by William Gibson, Crash by JG Ballard, and (for a lighter read!) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe by Douglas Adams.

Of books I’ve read so far this year, my favourites have been Boy Parts by Eliza Clark, Ghosted by Jenn Ashworth and Dryland by Sara Jaffe for fiction, and Educated by Tara Westover and The Disconnect by Róisín Kiberd for non-fiction.

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A bit of family reading this one but I read them to my older children and it will soon be time to introduce them to my youngest.

Grimm Tales For Young and Old retold by Philip Pullman

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You guys have given soooo many great recommendations!

@Chris_France I will definitely add that to my list! Although admittedly it will probably be bought/read in 2022 now…
@megan.tripp You showed this to me in the office and I think I will also add this to my list. If I can get past the lack of punctuation.
@Leigh I looooove Donna Tartt!! The Goldfinch is on my top 10 favourite books ever. I have If This Is A Woman also on my ‘to buy’ list. I’ve read quite a lot of WW2/Holocaust books both fiction and non fiction but I agree, it’s always quite harrowing to read whilst displaying such amazing humanity in such an inhumane situation.
@Rachel_Oxton-King I read How to be Both last year! I have to say (controversially, I know) that I’m not a big Ali Smith fan but I understand why she is so popular. Hamnet is on my list for this month and given all the hype around it, I’m excited to read it!
@Helen_Bates The Secret History is a great Donna Tartt book and would recommend any of her others if you’re looking for something new to read. As I said, The Goldfinch is one of my all time favourite books! I’ve never read any Hilary Mantel and the size of the Wolf Hall series is quite daunting so having a recommendation of something other than that is great, thank you!
@Rimi I 100% want to get into the mindset of an upper class dog. Added to the list!
@sophiehanson Thanks! It has been a challenge and one I won’t be repeating even if I fail but I have read sooo much good stuff so I can’t complain. I have DUNE on my list for this month! Although maybe I will hold off and start 2022 with it instead because it is HUGE. Dystopian fiction is always great but they are often SO BIG that I end up not picking them up as much as I should. What has been your top 2021 book (so far?)
@johnoxtonking Grimm Fairytales are wonderful! I have a beautiful copy of the originals here but I’ve never looked at the Philip Pullman retellings. I think it may have to be added to the collection!

So far this year, my favourites have been:
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo - Taylor Jenkins Reid
Honestly anything by her is amazing. This is set in the same universe as Daisy Jones and the Six and also Malibu Rising (which I also loved). She has vibes of Colleen Hoover and I would say a little bit of a Donna Tartt strand to her too. Beautifully written and beautiful stories set from the 1930s to present day!
Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 - Cho Nam-Ju
If you want to understand more about being a woman in Asian Culture/just being a woman, this book is fabulous. Funny and well written, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 is the life story of Kim Jiyoung and raises questions about endemic misogyny and institutional oppression.
The Firekeeper’s Daughter - Angeline Boulley
Whilst this a YA novel, the exploration of Native American culture and the underbelly to that is so well done. This book is a real pager turner and one I would 100% recommend!

If anyone would like any other recommendations, or has read any of these - please do let me know!

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If you’re going down the Ali Smith route then her novel Autumn seems appropriate! :fallen_leaf:

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@Vanny I have ordered this from the Library! Is it any good?

I loved Assembly by Natasha Brown.

It also has the advantage of being quite short, so a quick win for your 100!

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anything Autumn related has me sold! Thank you :smile:

Ooooo, this looks good! Short books are great. I’ve found some really good ones during this year!

Boy Parts by Eliza Clark is definitely my book of the year so far! It’s verrrry dark and quite messed up in places (it’s been compared multiple times to American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis) but it’s absolutely brilliant. I’ve read it twice so far this year and I’ll probably read it again before the year ends!

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OOOO! I love a darker book. Again, adding THAT to my list.

I read a YA novel earlier this year called This Can Never Not Be Real by Sera Milano. It’s incredibly dark fiction as it the testimonies from teenagers involved in a terrorist shooting but I am planning a reread of it as it’s just a really great talking point book and allows you to empathise with how that may feel. I read it in one sitting as it had me gripped from page 1.

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Oooh, this sounds right up my street! Definitely going to add it to my TBR list, thank you :slight_smile:

PS if you’d like to borrow Boy Parts, I can bring it into the office for you next time we’re both in!

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Yes for sure! Similarly with This Can Never Not Be Real :slight_smile:

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