Here are my favourite reads from April:
Longlisted for this year’s Women’s Prize, this book has been much lauded and for good reason. A book that I admired rather than loved, if that makes sense, it’s definitely worth a read. Edie is twenty-something, uninspired by her dull office job and struggling to make ends meet. An affair with an older married man turns weird when she ends up living with his family. It’s darkly comic, especially the first half of the novel, and I found myself missing much of the humour towards the end of the book which has a more melancholic tone.
This is the story of Mike and Benson, a couple on the verge of splitting up. The novel begins with Mike booking a flight to Japan to go and care for his terminally ill father. Unfortunately for Benson, not only does Mike not know how long he’ll be gone, Mike’s mother is already on her way to Houston from Tokyo. Cue two odd couple stories as Benson has to cohabit with a woman he’s never met before and Mike gets to know the father he feels abandoned him. I very much enjoyed the quietness of this book. Read it for the relationships.
Out of Touch actually has a few things in common with Memorial – something I didn’t realise before I started reading. Rather than a couple, this is the story of siblings. Ava is in the UK and is recovering from being run over in the road near her house. Michael lives in New York with his family and has left his old life behind him, even shrugging off his British accent for an American one. When their estranged father writes to each of them, letting them know that he is dying, will they be able to forgive him? Another quiet book on relationships and family that I absolutely loved.
The Reading List – Sara Nisha Adams
I received an advance copy of this debut which publishes in July (available to pre-order now!). This is the ideal book for anyone who loves reading and the magic of libraries. Aleisha is working at her local library over the summer, unsure what direction her life should take. She’s fairly apathetic about the job until the day she finds the crumpled up reading list. Mukesh is a widower struggling to connect with his young granddaughter. The one thing he knows she loves is reading, which leads him to the library… A wonderful tale that balances heartbreaking moments with an uplifting ending.
The Gilded Ones – Namina Forna
This YA fantasy is perfect for anyone who loved Children of Blood and Bone. Like that novel, this world is West African – inspired. The novel’s hero, Deka, lives in a deeply patriarchal kingdom where young girls have to go through a bleeding ceremony to attain womanhood. But when she bleeds gold – proving that she is a demon – her fate seems doomed. Until a mysterious woman offers her a choice: come and fight for her kingdom or be left to die. This is the first in a trilogy but so far I’m impressed and hoping that the next two instalments live up to this brilliant beginning.
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