Happy New Year!! Time to top up your new year reading lists with these seven must read picks from our awesome librarians, all available online to read.
Michele’s choice: Platform Seven by Louise Doughty
A cracking psychological thriller and ghost story. I love railway stations- all those different people with their different lives passing through every day, so I liked the perspective of Lisa as a ghost living on the station and watching those people- workers and passengers alike- observing their daily lives, discovering as we all know that everything is not always as it seems on the surface. Lisa- it was terrifying seeing your life slowly disintegrate. Matty- I wanted to punch you!
Andrea’s Choice: The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh
Isolated from a contaminated society, in the oppressive safety of their parents’ protection, three sisters are raised to fear men, and their own bodies. Trained to defend themselves against the outside world, through an abusive regime, including withdrawn love and a baptismal drowning test, their relationships grow complex and intense. When their father goes missing, then two men and a boy wash up on their shore, the girls are drawn, through their curiosity, naivety and unique strengths, into transformation.
Rachel’s Choice: The New Wilderness by Diane Cook
In order to escape the poisonous pollution of the city, which is killing many, a group of ordinary people volunteer to go and live in the wilderness; no material possessions are allowed and they are not permitted to set up any permanent camps, instead they must hunt and roam, surviving with only the natural resources available to them. The community is forced to rely upon each other and must learn to live with one another in the most intimate way. However, this communal and primitive way of life brings out a survival instinct more akin to the animals to whom they share their surroundings; others are only beneficial if they can offer something vital and there is no place for sickness or weakness.
The book explores the idea of society is and what happens when it is stripped back. Children born into the wilderness with no moral code imposed upon them must learn to adapt and live as individuals.
A compelling and frightening tale told through the eyes of a mother and daughter who came to the wilderness to survive but must face a more complex struggle to grow together.
Tamsyn’s choice : The Lottery (and other stories) by Shirley Jackson
“Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual… they still remembered to use stones.”
Banned in South Africa during apartheid, The Lottery depicts the ease with which we can accept and justify cruel and even evil acts – as long as they aren’t happening to us.
Crafted during the xenophobia and political scapegoating of the Red Scare, The Lottery is still uncomfortably relevant in 2020.
This edition is bound with 24 other stories by Jackson, from the funny to the unsettling, all connected with a common thread of mundane cruelties.
Di’s Choice: To Keep You Safe by Kate Bradley
This psychological thriller is Bradley’s debut novel and one I chose to read after finding out the author is Sussex based.
The novel is fast paced and full of twists, a consequence of the unreliability of its two main protagonists, Jenni, a teacher and ex-soldier and Destiny her fifteen-year-old pupil.
The book centres on Jenni taking matters into her own hands when she believes Destiny is in serious danger and going to extremes to protect her.
This book does come with a warning though as it is very dark and explores difficult themes like abuse and PTSD. It also contains at times shocking levels of violence, however, this is part of the novel’s power and impact.
Rebecca’s Choice: How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang
How Much of These Hills is Gold is an inventive take on the well worn tropes of the American west. Sam and Lucy are American girls of Chinese heritage, left to fend for themselves in the harsh and unforgiving west following the gold rush. They embark on a literal and figurative journey; trying to make sense of their family history and mythology, whilst forging their own identities and searching for their place in the world. One of the best endings to a novel I’ve read in a while too.
If you liked Sebastian Barry’s revisionist Western Days Without End or True Grit
Henry’s Choice: Stray Bullets: Sunshine & Roses by David Lapham
A young nerd named Orson falls in love with wild crazy Beth and together they devise the most audacious, eccentric and ludicrous plan to steal a car full of money and drugs from a mob boss.
If you love Tarantino style noir then you’ll love Lapham’s comic focussing on the criminal underworld. A community of killers, addicts, hangers-on, and all their unfortunate victims.
It’s a book full of sex, drugs, violence, twisted humour and Pulp Fiction style mixed-up storytelling.
Download books and audiobooks available at the libraries here
Did you manage to read any of the 2020 recommendations? If you did let us know!