Bookworms know the power and comfort of a blooming good read. Power to distract and detract. Whether you are a book lover of dip in and out, why not try a recommended book from RH readers? Something for everyone I hope. Feel free to comment and review…
If you like historical…
The Secrets We Kept – Lara Prescott
“Mad Men Meets John Le Carre”
An intriguing historical espionage novel, set around a 1950’s New York typing pool. The secretaries, innocent, unsuspected and invisible have an important mission. They are tasked with helping the plan to smuggle Dr. Zhivago out of the USSR (where no one had dared to publish) to share with the wider world. The intriguing theme drew me in and it is absorbing, easy read. Click here to download.
The Pursuit of Happiness – Douglas Kennedy
New York at the end of WWII. Sara Smyth meets Jack Malone, a war correspondent, newly home from Germany, at her brother’s party. A party Jack Malone had gate-crashed. How much of life is determined by chance or choice is the moral message underlying the book as we follow the story of Sara and Jack over 55 years. Douglas Kennedy is excellent at writing from a female perspective. If you like this then great news. Kennedy has a prolific back catalogue to see you through.
Try a new release?
American Dirt – Jeanine Cummins
A Radio 4 Book at Bedtime.
A Mexican book seller grabs her son and runs from a dangerous drugs cartel. One day, Lydia had everything, a job she loved, a husband, her son and family. Gone, when her journalist husband falls foul of a cartel. Lydia has no choice but to flee to safety in the US and undertake the dangerous journey across the Mexican border.
The line between the comfortable and safe existence that many of us take for granted and homelessness, danger, statelessness is extremely thin. Lydia has no choice but to draw on her untapped resilience and strength, as she discovers there are no depths to which she will sink. Recommended by Merstham reader, Nadine.
Found – Erin Kinsley
Haunting and beautiful despite the difficult content. Evan is abducted on his way home from school and unexpectedly returned. Never gratuitous this is a story about the bravery and resilience of the family, the police investigators and the challenges they face and of course Evan himself as he helps prevent the unspeakable happening to other families. A book full of hope and my favourite book of 2020. A BBC Radio 2 Book Club choice Click here
Literary Big hitters.
Circe – Madeline Miller
Sarah from Redhill’s choice: ‘not a book I would have picked up independently but I loved it!’
A retelling of The Odyssey that follows the story of the witch Goddess Circe from her life living within the halls of her father the Sun God and Titan Helios – to her life of exile on Aiaia. Absorbing and beautifully written. If you enjoy this try The Song of Achilles by the same author.
The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters
This 2014 novel – a Sunday Times Book of the Year has sold millions. It is 1922 and London is on the cusp of great change. In South London, Camberwell to be precise, impoverished widow Mrs Wray is forced to take in lodgers to help with the upkeep of her large and now quiet house. Selected by Fiona, a Redhill resident who found it ‘simply unputdownable’.
Sci-Fi with a twist.
Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
An urban sci fi/fantasy. Welcome to London below, a place under London that bubbles and fizzes with life. An evening stroll sets Richard Mayhew on an unforgettable adventure. Featuring memorable characters such as Mr Croup and Mr Vandemar and even a man called Old Bailey! The book brims with black humour. School librarian Ruth, recommends this as an ‘enjoyable and fantastical read’. Gaiman is a master! If this is your first toe dipper into Gaiman then an entire back catalogue awaits you.
The War of The Worlds – HG Wells
HG Wells scribed his classic tale of alien invasion threatening life on earth whilst living in Woking. Whilst a classic’ this is an easy read and teen readers will enjoy too if they are looking for something to read. Should you fancy watching it on screen (TV obviously) there are many adaptations lurking around to take your mind off Tom Cruise in the 2005 film.
Nadiya Hussain – Finding My Voice
Nadiya won bake off back in the halcyon days of 2015 and cemented her position as a national treasure. ‘Finding My Voice is an account of her life pre Bake off and is ‘good for understanding a female view of the role of women in Bangladeshi society’ Thanks to Sara for the recommendation.
Till the Cows Come Home – Sara Cox
A northern lass like me albeit from the wrong side of the Pennines. This is a funny, moving and evocative account of a semi-rural upbringing in 1980s, it resonated as it is not dissimilar to my upbringing. This is a well-written ode to childhood, family and love, not what some may expect from the original ladette. Laugh out loud funny, warm and an anecdote to these troubled times.
Four Kings – George Kimball
The enthralling, humorous and insightful story of how four boxing giants came to dominate the sport throughout the 1980’s. Sugar Ray Leonard, ‘Marvellous’ Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran became legend and their fights made sporting headlines. Will we ever see their likes again?
The Rise of the Ultra Runners by Adharanand Finn
Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book 2019.
An electrifying account of Ultra Runner Adharanand Finn and what he learned from his many ultra runs which culminated in the 105-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. You don’t need to be a sports fanatic, rather the central question is psychological: Are ultra-runners seeking an anecdote to modern life or is the running a symptom of an illness? Engaging and witty with a host of interesting supporting characters. Redhill runners Paul, Rob and Ian all recommend, although, it isn’t a pre-requisite to be a runner or of the male sex to enjoy this book.
A Blast from the Past
The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Moshin Hamid
TA and part time local librarian Charlotte recommends this as being a ‘truly amazing read’. The Man Booker nominated novel details a conversation or monologue at a street café in Lahore between a Pakistani professor, Changez and an unnamed American. Changez reveals his life story in the aftermath of the attack on the Twin Towers.
Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel
Of the moment as the long awaited final book in the Thomas Cromwell trilogy: The Mirror and The Light has been published. Why not go back to the very beginning and read the first in the trilogy Wolf Hall. Published in 2009 and televised in 2015, At its heart, this is a sympathetic account of the brooding, enigmatic Thomas Cromwell and his rapid rise to power as enforcer in chief to Henry VIII.