Ah, August. That strange month at the start of autumn, which manages to fall into our summer holidays. Mars is in retrograde, the sunny heatwave is drifting into a humid cloud, we find ourselves in jeans but not coats, and we struggle to know what to do with all this free time now that barbecue and beach season is over. Thankfully, one pastime that will never be weather dependent is reading. If you haven’t already hit the bestseller list while lounging on a sun-chair, you can still delve in!
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
If you haven’t heard at least a whisper of this one over the past few months, you may be living under a rock. Although it was published in 2017, it gained serious traction once it won the Costa Book Award 2018. Falling somewhere between a romance and psychological fiction, it describes the life of Eleanor Oliphant. Eleanor has worked the same office-job and drank the same weekend bottles of vodka for years. With a troubled past and a tendency toward solidarity, she has difficulty navigating a new friendship with co-worker Raymond. Heart-breaking, eye-opening, and full of truth, this novel will haunt you long after you finish.
The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
A political thriller written by a thriller-mastermind, and former president? Gold dust. It is obviously titled, depicting the disappearance of the (fictional) U.S. president, Jonathan Lincoln Duncan. The details are some that only a select few would have formerly known. Not only does that aspect of hunting for Easter eggs make the book fun to read – the plot is also intriguing. Patterson has a knack for perfecting the thriller-novel format, and this one is no exception.
One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
This Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars concoction has taken the Young Adult mystery scene by storm. It all begins in a detention, where five kids have been apparently set up so that they’re all in there together. The prank takes a dark turn when one of them drops dead. It’s also convenient for the four survivors because the victim had juicy secrets on each that he was just about to drop onto his well-read gossip blog. Were they all really set up? Who is the killer? This one makes you guess at every turn, changing your vote constantly. If high school is something you love to read about, this is a step above and beyond.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
Verging into a more serious territory, this historical fiction novel is inspired by true events. Lale Solokov had the job of tattooing the prisoners of Auschwitz with their designated numbers. Although he was a prisoner himself, his smarts enabled him to nab that relatively safe job. In such horrific circumstances, the thing that kept him alive was the newfound love of his life, Gita. This novel is their story, albeit embellished by Morris. Her profession as a screenwriter is really evident through the evocative text.
Le Belle Sauvage, or The Book of Dust, by Philip Pullman
This fantasy novel begins a trilogy that prequels Pullman’s most famous work – His Dark Materials. Pullman is a veteran at this point and his work has its own niche. Although this novel has been seventeen years in the making, the idea for it was originally conceived before the famous trilogy. The planning shows, with a tight plot and the same well-built world. This prequel fits in organically and allows fans to re-visit what they love, with new plot and excitement. Similarly, it still holds the deeper principals that the original trilogy did, such as critiquing Christianity.
Happy reading and enjoy what we have left of the holidays!