A few good reads
One of the cheapest pleasures in life is getting unexpectedly lost in a good book. It can while away hours of a rainy weekend, take your mind away from the stresses of everyday life, or pass time between bar breaks on a beach holiday. So to celebrate World Book Night – taking place on 23 April – we thought we’d share a few of the books we’re currently reading – from new bestsellers to old favourites.
World book night inspiration
Whether it’s for World Book Night, or inspiration for an upcoming holiday break, here’s a few books we’re currently reading and enjoying at Janes HQ.
The Beach, Alex Garland – Libby
Some people hate re-reading books, but I personally love it. Recently, I decided to pick up a book I read when I was 16 and travelling around Malaysia on a World Challenge expedition. The Beach by Alex Garland, will always remind me of the incredible adventure I had on the other side of the world. It was a great book to read whilst travelling, as the plot follows a young backpacker’s search for a legendary, idyllic and isolated beach untouched by tourism. The description of the places he sees and the people he meets is extremely relatable if you, yourself have travelled. Don’t be put off if you have seen the film adaptation of it though, the book is ten times better.
The Versions of Us, Laura Bennett – Nell
I’m quite a quick reader and when I find a book I’m enjoying I just can’t put it down, even if it means reading into the wee small hours. Most recently I enjoyed reading The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett. It follows three separate versions of one couple’s reality, exploring the ways in which small decisions can have a huge impact on the outcome of their lives. It made me both happy and sad as I was reading it, and I have thought about it a few times since finishing it which I always think is the sign of a good book or film. Another favourite of mine is The Divine Secret of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells. I’ve read it about 6 times already and I still never tire of it!
The Piper’s Son, Melina Marchetta – Whitney
I don’t make a habit of reading Aussie literature, but I’ve been really missing home lately so decided to revisit one of my favourite childhood authors: Melina Marchetta. She’s the award-winning writer behind Looking for Alibrandi, a cult classic from the ’90s which, if you haven’t already seen the film adaptation of ladies, you absolutely must! Her latest rom-drama novel, The Piper’s Son is about the impact on a family after losing one of their own in the London Tube attacks. To be honest, it’s becoming a realisation that I may have just grown out of her style of writing…it has been 10 years or more since we last shared a page. Nonetheless, I can never ditch a book once I’ve started (I did manage to conquer The Goldfinch, after all).
The Time Traveller’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger – Holly
I was a bit late to the party with this one. It is one of those books that everyone raves about and then it puts me off because I don’t want to be that predictable! But it came to the point where a close friend recommended The Time Traveller’s Wife and trusting her judgement I went ahead and bought it. I have to say, I really, really enjoyed it. I liked the jumping through time aspect and having to engage my mind to this “right, how old is he now? What’s happened and what hasn’t?”. I love that the story builds and you are so invested in the characters, although I do wish the ending was a bit different. It does get a bit of a bad rap by some readers expecting too much from it and then being disappointed. Nevertheless, I would recommend this book, but I suspect everyone has already read it!
The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton – Sophie
In a desperate effort to be cultured I joined a book club at work. The Miniaturist is set in 17th century Amsterdam, centred around an 18-year-old woman who gets married-off to some rich trader bloke. Her fella gives her a dolls house to keep her busy (I know the Internet didn’t exist then, but really?). And the illusive miniaturist who made it has given the teeny models in it some spooky witchcraft qualities. There’s adultery, murder, hidden pregnancies – you name it. There was so much scandal I felt like Jezza Kyle was about to crouch out into a scene at any moment. Burton also threw in every issue possible – racism, homophobia, elitism, sexism – which I think was OTT, but equally interesting to see how discrimination might have played out. I did enjoy The Miniaturist and it was interesting to hear about 17th century Amsterdam, which I had zero knowledge of beforehand. Just don’t be expecting a high brow affair, expect a few sordid ones.
All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doeer – Becky
I picked this up after seeing someone reading it on a train – the title piqued my curiosity. Set in World War II, the two main plotlines of All the Light We Cannot See swing between young Werner – a Nazi cadet in training in Germany – and Marie-Laure, a blind teenage girl in occupied France. It’s a dense read – lots of wonderfully descriptive text, which is fabulous once you get into the rhythm, but harder to read if you only have a few mins at night before dropping off to sleep. I’m halfway through so far and some of the Werner sections are tough reading – exposing human cruelty at its most raw in the way that the cadets are treated in training camp. Worth a go if you fancy something a bit outside your comfort zone.
That’s a few of our recommendations to inspire you to pick up a paperback.
Are you getting involved with World Book Night? Let us know – @tweetjanes.