Let's get started shall we:
1 - 'Americanah' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I love Chimamanda's writing and adored 'Half a Yellow Sun' and 'Purple Hibiscus' both of which which I read in my A level year for my English Lit class (I recommend both of these books also). I have always found her writing engaging, absorbing and interesting, especially since I find myself drawn into a world that, other than the information in the book in front of me, I have no knowledge of. I think, feel and learn about an environment and a people or person who in any other circumstance I would be entirely unable to relate to. However, her key themes are often universal and you can't help but care for the characters. Chimamanda is also a highly intelligent, wonderful, brilliant woman and her TED talk on why we should all be feminists contributed a lot of material in my dissertation as well as in the rest of my life. Although difficult to get into initially, once you connect with it you can't put this book down!
"As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.
Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they will face the toughest decisions of their lives.
Fearless, gripping, at once darkly funny and tender, spanning three continents and numerous lives, Americanah is a richly told story set in today’s globalised world: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s most powerful and astonishing novel yet."
2 - 'The Bees' by Laline Paull
I bought this book as it was one of the recommended books in Waterstones in the summer of 2015 and I wanted books to bring with me before I went to Tanzania. I remember spending 2 days while I was there not only surrounded by the most beautiful scenery and the most fantastic close up encounters with some of Tanzania's wild animals on safari, but also being totally absorbed in this book during quiet times and wanting not to focus too heavily on the crazy traffic. If I remember correctly I read the entire thing in one day because I was determined to see how Flora's story ended and I have read it over and over again since. My biggest fault with it is that is seems to give the implication of a political message without ever actually giving one. However, that is possibly irrelevant as the story is a narrative of a completely natural and everyday life cycle told with the emotion and feeling that comes from a human mind in an animal environment. It isn't about people, its about bees! And yet, there are moments of familiarity throughout, which is maybe where the political vibes come from. I'm probably not doing the book justice, I would recommend you read for yourselves and that will give you a better understanding of what I am trying to say.
"Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive. Living to accept, obey and serve, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for her beloved holy mother, the Queen. Yet Flora has talents that are not typical of her kin. And while mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is reassigned to feed the newborns, before becoming a forager, collecting pollen on the wing. Then she finds her way into the Queen's inner sanctum, where she discovers secrets both sublime and ominous. Enemies roam everywhere, from the fearsome fertility police to the high priestesses who jealously guard the Hive Mind. But Flora cannot help but break the most sacred law of all, and her instinct to serve is overshadowed by a desire, as overwhelming as it is forbidden...
Laline Paull's chilling yet ultimately triumphant novel creates a luminous world both alien and uncannily familiar. Thrilling and imaginative, The Bees is the story of a heroine who changes her destiny and her world."
3 - 'Go set a Watchman' by Harper Lee
When I saw that this book was out I HAD to buy it. It did take a while for me to get around to reading it, but boy when I did, man oh man, my head was reeling. I love it when a book really gets me thinking and I find my self arguing with my own subconscious. And this book did just that, it was crazy. I haven't felt so energised and emotionally responsive to a book in this way for a long time, and found myself re-reading this book this month as a way for me to sort things out in my head in response to so many things that are common topics of debate today, especially in the news. It takes you on so many twists and turns and is a welcome sequel to "To Kill a Mockingbird". If you haven't already please PLEASE read this book. If it does nothing else it will definitely make you think.
"From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird. Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch--"Scout"--returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in a painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past--a journey that can be guided only by one's conscience. Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor and effortless precision--a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context and new meaning to an American classic. "
4 - 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' by Newt Scamander (J.K. Rowling)
Okay yes, this is going to reveal just how much of a potterhead I am but with the movie coming out (the premiere of which is tonight people just saying) I couldn't not re-read this book this month. The Harry Potter book series has a big place in my heart for many reasons. Not only because it is a brilliantly and carefully written children's fiction but it also has themes, issues and plots that engage and matter to so many adults! J.K. Rowling is an inspiration to me, her life, her story and her skill are all fascinating and I highly suggest you research her if you can. I am always so eager to engage with any extension of the Potter universe, as it just adds more and more information and detail to such an already complex and significant world. I love this book because it feeds my imagination and remind me that "just because it's in your head, it doesn't mean it isn't real" (Albus Dumbledore). I love this book, as well as The Tales of Beedle the Bard however I have entirely different opinions when it comes to The Cursed Child but I will write about that another time. Fantastic Beasts is silly, completely fictional (or so the muggles believe) and serves no other purpose than to bring people just a little bit closer to their dream alternate reality. Read it, go on, whats the harm ...
"A copy of Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them resides in almost every wizarding household in the country. Now Muggles too have the chance to discover where the Quintaped lives, what the Puffskein eats and why it is best not to leave milk out for a Knarl.
Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Comic Relief, which means that the pounds and Galleons you exchange for it will do magic beyond the powers of any wizard. If you feel that this is insufficient reason to part with your money, I can only hope that passing wizards feel more charitable if they see you being attacked by a Manticore. - Albus Dumbledore"
I hope that you find as much joy from these books as I do, and if you have read them or you have your own book recommendations for me or anyone else please do let me know in the comments below and I will be sure to give any suggestions a look.
(all reviews are from goodreads.com)
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Thanks, see you soon