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What's on your reading list this summer? We've rounded up our top books to keep you company this summer.
The Circle, Dave Eggers
Mae Holland has made it. Starting a new job at 'The Circle,' a highly revered, tech company she has by most accounts stepped into one of the most aspirational jobs in the world. As her role unfolds however, a dystopian storyline emerges that begs the reader to question issues of privacy, surveillance and what is too much in our rapidly developing internet world. A novel for our times, and a very thought provoking read.
Dirt: Adventures with family, In the Kitchens of Lyon, Looking for the Origins of French Cooking, Bill Buford
Buford's move to France to learn the arts of French cooking was meant to be a few months but became a five year odyssey. In Lyon, the gastronomical heart of France, with his wife and children in tow, he dove into the intricacies of French gastronomy and no detail is missed. The demanding rigours of the French kitchen are cast as such a brutal space, that his perseverance can seem misplaced but there is so much to admire and learn about his determination, the French, their food and their culture. If you're stuck in a culinary rut, and eaten one too many 'beans on toast' dinners during lockdown, this novel is just the inspiration you need.
Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked stick, Zora Neale
American author Zora Neale Hurston takes us deep into the lives of African Americans in Harlem, New York during the 1920s and 30s, with stories full of humour mingled with a hefty dose of the dark times affecting black Americans at the time. If you're looking for short stories describing strong, feisty women and how they shaped and influenced the men around them, then this is the book for you.
The Light of the World: A Memoir, Elizabeth Alexander
In truth, this is not the lightest topic for a summer read, with Alexander's memoir of her husband, who dies suddenly of a heart attack. However, her efforts to make sense of her loss and ultimately carve out meaning and a new path for herself and her children is a moving and profound read. In writing a memoir, she illuminates so beautifully the life they shared together, the joy to be found in everyday experiences and the human capacity for love is an invitation to be grateful for life in all its forms.
The Other Half of Augusta Hope, Joanna Glen
A tale of a girl who consistently feels she doesn't fit in, while faced with a twin sister who seems to effortlessly get it right. We follow a journey of self discovery and acceptance as Augusta Hope moves from girlhood to womanhood. Alongside this story another one is told, playing out on opposite ends of the earth in vastly different circumstances, and yet the two lives mirror each other, and in their reflection the reader finds new depth and meaning to their individual struggles. A beautiful novel.
Ladder of Years, Anne Tyler
If you have read Anne Tyler's work, you know she is a master at beaming a bright light on the mundane and ordinary parts of life and illuminating unexpected richness and complexity. This novel is no exception, as we meet Delia Grinstead, a mother and homemaker in Baltimore who spontaneously leaves her family to pursue... something else. She isn't sure what, but she follows the call to leave all she knows and the people who love her behind. Whether this choice leads to any epiphanies is left debatable, but Tyler manages to make Delia's actions so identifiable and human that all the enjoyment comes from following along for the ride... wherever it takes us.