Regardless of our age, September will always have that ‘new pencil case’ feeling. This month’s recommendations will open your mind, to different ways of thinking, different cultures and even different worlds. Also, be sure to read our new Online Book Club Community Read, Belonging by Umi Sinha and submit any questions for our upcoming virtual author Q&A.
Top Fiction East Sussex Online Bookclub Community Read: Belonging by Umi Sinha
Umi Sinha Belonging is our East Sussex Community Read.
BELONGING tells the interwoven story of three generations and their struggles to understand and free themselves from a troubled history steeped in colonial violence. It is a novel of secrets that unwind from the darkest days of the British Raj to East Sussex.
Set against the complexities of the Ango-Indian relationship from the mid-19th Century and beyond the First World War, this thought provoking and poignant story hears the voices from three generations battling with their own tragedies as well as that of colonial violence. The characters are rich, with their stories expertly interwoven throughout the book. Each chapter reveals more about their connections with one another and history, leading the reader to a dramatic ending.
Belonging not only took me on a historical journey but transported me from familiarity of grey Sussex to the exotic of a vivid India. However, the characters’ search and need for a sense of belonging, place and identity was a constant and stayed with me after the final chapters. – Reviewed by Rachel
Read the book now on Libby/Overdrive with no waits, no holds.
Do you have a question for Umi? Ask her about Belonging, her writing process, or how to write a novel whilst working full time!
Your questions will be put to Umi at forthcoming Virtual Q&A.
Top non-fiction, chosen by Karen: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
“A world full of noise and uncertainty” is the focus of Harari’s third bestselling book. Like Sapiens and Homo Deus it’s lengthy and digressive, but also extremely engaging in its clear-eyed analysis of the complex challenges we face as a species today. One of the greatest of these is information; essentially how to organise and manage the ‘deluge’ in a post-truth internet age of disinformation and fake news. 21 Lessons poses the questions we can’t afford not to ask: What are the most pressing problems in our society? And what do we do to solve and survive them?
Top audio book, chosen by Paul: Dirk Gently by Douglas Adams
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is a better novel than the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Heresy? Douglas Adams most famous work is infinitely wise but was created in an ad hoc manner. Dirk Gently is a more rounded story, with its own warped logic. Classic Adams tropes appear; malfunctioning technology, the absurdities of existence, matters of free will and destiny and the wisdom of altering past events if the means should be available. Intelligent, comic and thrilling.
This full cast drama stars Harry Enfield as Dirk Gently along with Billy Boyd, Olivia Coleman, Andrew Sachs and Jim Carter. Guest stars include Peter Davison (Doctor Who), Jan Ravens (Dead Ringers), Philip Jackson (Poirot), John Fortune (Bremner, Bird & Fortune), Morwenna Banks (Absolutely) and Stephen Moore
Top children’s fiction, chosen by Emily: Viper’s Daughter by Michelle Paver
The Viper Mage is dead and gone, yet Renn can’t seem to escape the grasp of her power. Despite all the signs she is determined to keep Torak safe. When Renn leaves him, Torak and Wolf follow her to the Far North, but something is bent on endangering them all. Can they survive the Far North, find the Edge of the World and bring Renn home?
Step back into the world of Torak, Renn and Wolf. A thrilling read, as if we never left them.
Top children’s non-fiction, chosen by Mildred: Strange Fruit Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song by Gary Golio and Charlotte Riley-Webb
The audience was completely silent the first time Billie Holiday performed a song called “Strange Fruit.” In the 1930s, Billie was known as a performer of jazz and blues music, but this song wasn’t either of those things. It was a song about injustice, and it would change her life forever.
Discover how two outsiders—Billie Holiday, a young black woman raised in poverty, and Abel Meeropol, the son of Jewish immigrants—combined their talents to create a song that challenged racism and paved the way for the Civil Rights movement.
Have you read any of the books featured this month? If so we’d love to hear what you thought! Leave your reviews in the comments below. Missed August’s book reviews? Catch up on them here.
You can find out more about libraries in East Sussex by visiting the East Sussex County Council website.