It’s the second installment of Our Minds Festival
Recommended Reading List
Check out the must-reads of 2017
Last Update 21 June 2017
We love listening out for new books to find to fill our bookshelves. A friend's recommendation, an advert in a magazine, anything that steers us in a direction to a brilliant novel is what we are on the prowl for. We may already be in June but do not fret, as the winter months will not only have you snug with a great cuppa, but now you can also enjoy a compelling novel on the couch too.
We have put together a list for you of 18 books you need to read this year. Some have been released already and some will hit the shelves during the course of the year - the point is we’ll help you be the bookworm you want to be with these stellar recommendations.
Recommended Reading List 2017
This highly anticipated novel by Mohsin Hamid is a story about love, life and struggle through the refugee narrative. The story takes place in an unknown city, or rather a city that is unnamed to the reader - the beauty in this is that Hamid has taken contemporary issues and brought them to life within a story. The novel has a strong narrative, which shifts between serious and light-hearted; showcasing the authors range, and emphasizing the growth of Hamid’s impressive talent. Some of his previous novels include; The Reluctant Fundamentalist and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.
"The news in those days was full of war and migrants and nativists, and it was full of fracturing too, of regions pulling away from nations, and cities pulling away from hinterlands, and it seemed that as everyone was coming together everyone was also moving apart. Without borders nations appeared to be becoming somewhat illusory, and people were questioning what role they had to play." #MohsinHamid #ExitWest
Into The Water
From the author of the hit novel (2015) and subsequent film (starring Emily Blunt in 2016) The Girl On The Train, Paula Hawkins, comes this electric new novel. This terrific thriller is highly suspense-driven as the story begins with the death of a single mother whose body is found in the town's river. The novel focuses on the 15-year-old daughter who is now left without her mother. Hawkins exhibits her literary genius as she captures the human emotions surrounding death and deception flawlessly - a must-read for all thrill seeking readers.
I'm diving into #PaulaHawkins' new thriller today. I didn't love #TheGirlOnTheTrain but I'm still really looking forward to this as a fast-paced vacay read. What do you like to read when you travel? I'm always on the lookout for summer reading recommendations! #IntoTheWater #SummerReading #CurrentlyReading #BookWorm #IGReads #FictionMatters
Lincoln In The Bardo
Lincoln In The Bardo is the first novel by award-winning writer George Saunders. The American short-story writer has written essays, short stories, children's books, and his works have appeared in Harper’s Magazine, The New Yorker and McSweeney’s. The newly-turned-novelist has chosen to grace readers with the story of Abraham Lincoln with a comical twist. Saunders’ writing style is humorous with a deeper philosophical edge to it. The novel depicts Abraham Lincoln after the death of hs 11-year-old boy, and the mourning period that he goes through. The story picks up as Lincoln visits the cemetery and is, in turn, visited by ghosts. A truly interesting read for those who are looking for a late night read in bed.
We are completely crazy about the highly praised and sought after author, Roxane Gay. Following her wildly successful and raved about novels like the Bad Feminist and An Untamed State, comes her new masterpiece Difficult Women. The perfection of Gay's writing makes the collections of stories all the more captivating. She writes about women we, as readers, can relate to and women we cannot relate to. The sheer complexity of her female characters makes the novel a page turner, especially if you are interested in the contemporary issues surrounding women in the 21st century.
There is no better author to present us with mythological stories than Neil Gaiman. Having mastered the art of ancient mythological writing, you can be sure to expect all the wildest creatures to feature in the fictitious yet historically dubious novel. Gaiman has written a novel with which readers can immerse themselves in the likes of reincarnated mythical gods and their family members. A great choice for readers with a mythological interest, as well as those who are keen to learn a little about ancient gods.
Anything Can Happen
What would happen if two separate stories, that appear in two separate novels collided? Well if you want to find out you’ll have to read this book. Pulitzer Prize winning author Elizabeth Strout integrates My Name Is Lucy Burton, one of her earlier works , with a contemporary story. Still focussing on Olive Kitteridge, the story focuses on the complex character’s ideas of love and passion. A truly remarkable tale of characters being brought to life through wit, technique and artistic grace by Strout in Anything Can Happen.
Turkish writer, Elif Batumana, has presented readers with a tale about first love, the beginning of the technological boom that is the thriving 21st century, and the art of discovering yourself. The novel is set in 1995 and portrays a university girl who is learning to love herself, people and her journey through the experience of education and travelling. A definite pick for anyone looking for an inspirational read, a feel good story and a beautifully written book about the art of discovering yourself.
From the esteemed author, Katie Kitamura, comes this deeply profound novel about the difficulties of marriage and the secrets that it contains. The story is about an uncoupling between the two main characters, however during the separation the husband goes missing. This prompts our protagonist to search for him, and, in the process, relive the relationship she shared with her soon to be ex-husband. The story encapsulates the feelings of distrust, betrayal and the beginning of the end of love. A brilliant read to find comfort in the realities of relationships in the world.
The Rules Do Not Apply
Accompanied with a quirky cover, a bold title and a fabulous author; you can’t go wrong with this book on your shelf! Ariel Levy has produced a riveting memoir about her life post The New Yorker, as she discovered it after she moved to Mongolia. The title is fitting to the story found between the covers, as it shows the life of a woman who is unafraid to do what she chooses and accepts the consequences that follow. It is a beautiful story of a woman who shares the struggles of having a voice, being bold and not obeying societal rules.
All Grown Up
The theme for 2017 seems to be defiance - and we aren’t complaining! All Grown Up is a humorous novel about a late-thirties single, child-free woman who is living life on her own terms. From the best-selling author, Jami Attenberg, comes this painfully truthful depiction of a woman who is trying to discover who she is and maintain her identity whilst feeling that she is falling behind in life. It is a monstrously hilarious depiction of the battle to find your path amidst the society in 2017.
Sorry To Disrupt The Peace
One of our favourite finds is this incredibly invigorating novel about death and the meaning of life. Patti Yumi Cottrell creates a fascinating protagonist who travels home from New York City to Milwaukee to understand why her adopted brother would have killed himself. The trip home means facing old family members, pain, old friends, tange connections and finally attempting to learn the truth about the situation and why her brother would take his own life. A gripping tale of loss and life.
Homesick For Another World
Highly praised short-story novelist Ottessa Moshfegh brings you a collection of short-stories that will engulf you for days. Following the soaring success of her novel, Eileen, comes Homesick For Another World - absolute literary gold. Moshfegh is able to convey, to readers, raw characters with authentic complexities; written to bring your attention to how cruel people are to each other, how kind someone can be and how the world functions day by day.
Men Without Women
Haruki Murakami presents an intriguing collection of stories about men who find themselves alone without women by their side. The stories come with the usual illusions and magical realism Murakami is known for; such as vanishing cats and strange women. It’ll be hard to put the book down as Murakami takes you on a humorous whirlwind of depth and fun.
4 3 2 1
This completely gripping novel comes from author Paul Auster who gives reader the insight into love, loss, inheritance and the meaning of life through the themes found in his book. The masterpiece that Auster has created transcends far beyond a run-off-the-mill novel as he bases the story in 1947, beginning with the birth of a boy. The boy from his birth can have four available futures which Auster gives the readers. It is a journey that gives the readers a chance to explore the parameters of fate and destiny, as Auster ties in historical events to really grip readers.
With the number of refugees in Europe ,and across the globe, rising; many writers have chosen this vital topic to write about, however Viet Thanh Nguyen has given the reader a perspective into what it is like to live in the two different worlds. Nguyen delivers a riveting read where he incorporate themes of metal illness, homeseuality, love and suffereing in a manner unlike any other. A phenomenal approach to the topic of refugees in the modern world and the lived realities the refugees are forced to experience.
Astrophysics For People In A Hurry
Neil deGrasse Tyson presents a well-rounded outline of the universe and how we fit into it. The astrophysicists writes a compelling, witty read which brings relatable astrophysicists to everyone. The questions that are dealt with in this novel are addressed in an approachable manner. Tyson has made astrophysics accessible to the layman. A great read to expand your understanding of the world and especially perfect for those of us wondering how and where we fit, in this world?
Ministry of Utmost Happiness
From the Booker prize-winner Arundhati Roy comes this captivating novel the Ministry of Utmost Happiness. The novel is a journey of emotions as the talents of Roy are displayed in every page. This love story is portrayed simultaneously with a heartbreak, happiness is met at times with pure despair; Roy is able to move you through the stores he tells of people who are as real as you and I, whilst giving them enough distance from the reader to be fictional. A brilliant read for those who believe in the ideals of the world but crave for it to be dipped in realism. Roy has given us exactly what we have been craving.
Age Of Anger
It is no secret that the world we live in is currently rampant with hate, crime and violence. The beauty of the Age of Anger is the truth behind the global phenomenons of crisis. From global intellect, Pankaj Mishra, you can expect a novel about the world which is filled with hate, paranoia, Trump-lovers and Trump-haters, the impacts of ISIS etc. You can expect a read that will broaden your mind past the mainstream issues and emphasize the origins of these issues and the impacts it has through social media, gender discrimination racism and nationalism.
By Tarina Meiring
Take your kids to meet the best-selling author Andy Griffiths.
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