Welcome back adventurers! Somehow June is already coming to an end and the nights are drawing in again. However, for all book lovers, this is just an excuse to curl up in front of a fire reading! Today I want to share with you my top 6 reads from the last 6 months:
Becoming – Michelle Obama
No matter what side of the political spectrum you fall, we were all fascinated by the Obama’s. The first African American family in the White House caused outrage and celebration across the world, and no one handled the constant attack of media and people more gracefully than the First Lady. Michelle’s book is heartwarming. It not only offers an insight into her time in the spotlight, but also an in depth look at her childhood, and how she became the woman she is today. It is a book offering a fresh perspective on humanity. We are never one thing, we are constantly learning, changing, and evolving through life.
Boy Swallows Universe – Trent Dalton
Set in Australia, we meet a boy who has been dealt a crappy hand of cards in life. His big brother is mute, his mum is in jail, his step-dad is a drug dealer, and his only real friend (and babysitter) is an aged ex-con with a panache for escaping prison. This is the new normal for Eli, as he doesn’t remember a time when things in his life were better, and this creates an overwhelming sense of optimism in his life, armed with a fantastical solution for whatever is thrown his way. He dreams of becoming a crime reporter for a big newspaper one day, but he has a lot of obstacles to get over first. This book is a the ultimate page turner and I would highly recommend it. Eli and his brother August are characters that leave the page at the end of the book and walk alongside you forever.
A Very Large Expanse of Sea – Tahereh Mafi
2019 is my year for discovering what young adult fiction as a genre could really produce. When I was growing up, we left the 12-15 years section of a bookshop and jumped straight to ‘grown-up books’, and these aren’t always the most interesting or relevant of texts anymore. Tahereh Mafi symbolises the very best of what YA can offer; current racial and political tensions in digestable and relatable content for everyone. YA is a genre for young curious minds who wish to understand the world they are entering better and it enables them the confidence to make a positive difference in it. A Very Large Expanse of Sea is set just after the 9/11 bombings, and follows Shirin, a muslim girl, whose family moved from Iran to America in search of their own American dream. But can people see past her hijab? Can she learn to let people in?
A Thousand Ships – Natalie Haynes
We all know in some shape or form, the story of the Trojan war. We’ve heard of Odysseus, Achilles, Agamemnon. We’ve heard of the Gods they served; Zeus, Athena, Apollo. But do we really know about the women whose lives were affected by the war? Natalie Haynes offers new insight into the female characters who were mentioned briefly in greek myth, and then lightly discarded for their part in a great hero’s tale had come to an end. This is not a light book with an easy-to-read subject matter, but I do believe that the furies who have screamed for justice for the women forgotten to time, can now rest peacefully. Hear from Clytemnestra, Cassandra, Penelope, Hecabe, and dozens more as if they were alive today, recounting their tales of woe.
The Sun and her Flowers – Rupi Kaur
I’ve never been the greatest appreciator of poetry, however, Rupi Kaur is the Queen to bow down to. Much like Michelle Obama, Kaur has been on a journey of becoming, undoing, and becoming again. Her poetry is relatable to all who have ever felt unmoored from existence, perhaps losing relationships that tethered them to their own sense of self and purpose. She weaves into her poetry an importance of place, heritage and belonging to herself as well as to those around her. Above all she grows, she heals and she writes beautifully.
All the Rivers – Dorit Rabinyan
So few books capture colours as vividly as Rabinyan’s All the Rivers. Hilmi, a Palestinian painter, and Liat, an Israeli translation student are drawn together in New York and subsequently fall in love. Their relationship begins cautiously, but Liat is overcome by Hilmi’s art; vivid paintings of his life all in extraordinary hues of blue. However, they can’t stay in New York forever, and eventually return to their respective homelands, and their relationship becomes fraught with political tensions. They are separated by familial, cultural and physical borders. This book was banned in Israel, but was luckily translated into English, so read read read!