As the weather turns colder and the evenings darker, what better time to explore some new books? This month our lovely librarian Rachel brings us the second installment of ‘Get in our good books’ and shares her recommendations for this month’s top five titles.
Top non-fiction: The Reason I Jump by Naoki HigashidaWritten by a 13-year-old Japanese boy with severe autism, this remarkable book starts to break down the barrier of communication and invites us into a different world.
With speech still being difficult, Naoki Higashida typed the book by pointing to letters on a cardboard alphabet grid. He answers questions about why people with autism behave in a certain way and, more importantly, tries to explains how terrifying and overwhelming the world is to him.
Translated and with a forward by David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas and who has a son with autism, this book challenges preconceptions, offers answers, understanding and most significantly hope.
An outstanding achievement and an effortless read.
Top fiction: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.”
Not your typical female protagonist, Eleanor is socially awkward, rude to her colleagues and spends every weekend alone drinking two bottles of vodka; physically and emotionally scarred by a dark past. You cannot help become quickly attached and even endeared to Eleanor though, and as tales of her sinister childhood emerge as well as the promise of a brighter future, you cannot help but long for a happy ending.
A much-needed tale about loneliness and one that stays with you beyond the last page.
Top audiobook: Magpie Murders by Anthony HorowitzAs the nights draw in, settle down with a hot drink on a cosy sofa for this quaint and retro country crime thriller.
Best known for his Alex Rider and James Bond children’s series, Anthony Horowitz echoes Agatha Christie in this crime book for adults.
Set in the 1950’s sleepy village of Saxby Upon Avon, a housekeeper is found dead at the bottom of the stairs. A regular who-dunnit with every member of the village filled with intrigue, mystery and more importantly a motive to kill.
This story however, leads to a modern twist which will have you guessing all over again! The characters come alive in this audio book narrated by Allan Corduner, a perfect story to be read to.
Top kid’s book: Armistice Runner by Tom PalmerBest known for his incredibly popular football books, Tom Palmer has now taken on a moving story about a young runner who is struggling to find her place in the world and is losing a grandmother to Alzheimer’s.
However, when she discovers the war diaries of her great great grandfather, an unsung running hero delivering messages across the frontline, she delves into the history and the horror of the trenches and discovers friendship, bravery and even inspiration for her own life.
Poignant and powerful – of the many children’s books about WWI, this is one of the best out there.
Librarian’s choice: Alias Grace by Margaret AtwoodRecently made into a Netflix series, this has to be my favourite of all of Atwood’s great works.
Focused on the young life of Grace Marks, and the real 1843 murders of Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery, Atwood allows readers to delve into the infamous true crime story and decide for themselves if Grace, aged only 16 at the time, was guilty of their murder.
After a campaign for her freedom, a doctor is sent to examine Grace and find the truth. What follows is the remarkable account of her life, including Grace’s journey to Canada from Ireland and eventually her time working for Thomas Kinnear and Nancy and their gruesome murders.
How much you believe of Grace’s story is up to you but one thing’s for sure, do not underestimate the skill and manipulation of Grace Marks and even Atwood herself.
Have you read any of the books featured this month? We’d love to hear what you thought! Leave your reviews in the comments below. Missed last month’s top five? Catch up on them here.
You can find out more about libraries in East Sussex by visiting the East Sussex County Council website.