Best reads of 2019

I know, I know: I’m late to the party.
January is flying by. But I hope you’ll graciously allow me to start my blog a little later than planned.

For my first post, where better to start than some books I enjoyed so much that I still remember them from last decade? To be honest, I didn’t have that many outstanding reads last year. There were a lot of near misses – books that were solid four-star reads  and a lot that completely bombed (but that’s another story for another time).

So without further ado, and in no particular order, please let me introduce myself with my favourite reads of 2019.

1. The Sealwoman’s Gift – Sally Magnusson

Image result for the sealwoman's gift∗∗∗∗∗


Pages:
362
Publisher: Two Roads

Synopsis:
Ásta, an Icelandic mother and pastor’s wife, is kept captive in north Africa. Whilst trying to protect her children, she struggles with questions of faith, love and  identity.

Why I loved it:
This book transported me to 17th century Algiers and Iceland, two places which I have never read about before. The novel is beautifully crafted, so much so that I cried for a good while on a train at one stage. Magnusson creates morally grey characters – Cilleby being an excellent example of this –  and explores complicated emotions with vulnerability and empathy.

TL;DR
Beautifully rich writing and deep character development

 

2. My Sister, the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite

Image result for my sister the serial killer
∗∗∗∗

 

Pages: 240
Publisher: Atlantic Books

Synopsis:
One sister murders people and the other attempts to convince their sibling to stop murdering people.

Why I loved it:
Despite the characterisation being a bit thin on the ground in places, I found Braithwaite’s dark, understated sense of humour in this novel hilarious. The rest of my book club had not considered this book funny until we read passages aloud, which leads me to think this book would be great on audio as well. Plenty of intrigue too.

TL;DR
A twisty-turny Nigerian novel with dry humour throughout.

 

3. In Our Mad and Furious City – Guy Gunaratne

Image result for in our mad and furious city
*****

Pages: 292
Publisher: Tinder Press

Synopsis:
London is at breaking point. Three boys struggle to find their place in the frantic city, whilst their parents tell the stories of their own youth.

Why I loved it:
Gunaratne describes the rhythms of the city like a machine, brutal and relentless. This story of boys caught up in violence and situations outside of their control feels highly relevant to the time we live in today, and this book encourages us to listen and heal divisions.

TL;DR
A brutal an urgent story of inner-city life.


So, there’s that.

I hope you feel like you know what I like in a book a little bit more now, though looking back over the post I am struck by how seemingly random this collection is.
Maybe my taste will become more refined as I go through life, but to be honest, I doubt it. Long live that brand consistency.

See you next time!
Laura

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