The fast pace of a new year can be overwhelming. We believe that some R&R is always needed, so we compiled a list of some books to indulge in when you have a free moment.
1. The Girl on The Train – Paula Hawkins
Also the name of the popular film adaptation, The Girl on the Train tells the story of Rachel, an unemployed alcoholic prone to blackouts and drunk-dialling. Finding herself unable to remember her actions on the night a young womxn goes missing near her old home, Rachel is determined to seek the truth. Read the book before watching the film; its mystery and thrill makes it impossible to put down.
2. Baking Cakes in Kigali – Gaile Parkin
Baking Cakes in Kigali is a historical fiction novel set in contemporary Rwanda. The novel explores the personal testimonies that Angel, a local cake maker, is told by her customers affected by the 1994 genocide. Through Angel’s business, the reader is given deeper insight into the brutal human rights violations and trauma that transpired during the genocide and how it continues to affect people throughout the country.
3. Grace – Natashia Deón
Life as a runaway slave in 1840s America can be as dangerous as living under a merciless master, as 15-year-old Naomi discovers after escaping a plantation in Alabama. Taking refuge in a Georgia brothel, Naomi finds herself impregnated by a white man only to be viciously murdered after giving birth. Grace weaves the narration of Naomi and her daughter, Josey, to portray how womxn were outcast in such an influential era in American history.
4. The Book of Memory – Petina Gappah
In The Book of Memory, Petina Gappah narrates the life of Memory, an albino womxn awaiting the death penalty in a prison in Harare. Charged with the death of her adopted father, Memory recounts the moments leading to his death in an attempt to prove her innocence. By contrasting the lives of the rich and poor, the reliability of memory is challenged in this novel in a humorous and captivating way.
5. One True Loves – Taylor Jenkins Reid
Emma and Jesse were high school sweethearts who marry and establish a life away from the prying eyes and expectations of their parents. However, tragedy strikes on their first wedding anniversary when a helicopter carrying Jesse goes missing over the Pacific. The novel fast-forwards a few years, following Emma as she tries to get her life back on track and falls in love with an old friend, Sam. Everything seems right in Emma’s life until she hears that Jesse is still alive.
6. Nervous Conditions – Tsitsi Dangarembga
This novel follows the life of Tambudzai, a young womxn living in a patriarchal society in rural Zimbabwe. As a womxn from a poor family, Tambu is not in line to receive an education due to her role at home. However, she is determined to find a way to attend school. This story of past tales illustrates her struggle with misogyny and how she is seen as nothing more than a subservient housewife. Her naive and childlike perception of events creates a simultaneously enjoyable and poignant read.
7. Broken Promise – Linwood Barclay
From bestselling author Linwood Barclay, Broken Promise is the first in the trilogy of crime thrillers. It is set in Promise Falls: a town with no jobs and no prospects, but where the darkest of secrets are unveiled, which journalist David uncovers. Moving back to his childhood home after the death of his wife, he looks into the appearance of the baby left on his cousin’s doorstep – a baby linked to a murder on the other side of town. Broken Promise is a real page turner, and you will just want to dive into the sequels immediately after.
By Elle Williams and Shannon Lorimer