Autumn always seems the emblematic season of snuggling up with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate. Luckily, this month has already given us some absolute treats (with many more on their way throughout October) to enjoy in that oh-so-precious free time when you’re not muddling through your compulsory course reading.
The book which was first on my list and definitely should be first on yours is Sally Rooney’s Normal People. Rooney’s debut novel, Conversations with Friends, was published in May 2017 and, although it isn’t a strictly new read, it is one of my absolute favourite books and is definitely worth buying. Normal People depicts an unconventional love story between the solitary Marianne and popular Connell. Naturally, their social spheres are entirely different, with Connell often out partying alongside his soccer team mates while Marianne prefers to spend her time at home reading and writing. After an awkward encounter in Marianne’s kitchen, the pair begin to notice a spark between them, which naturally escalates. Soon to be leaving their little Irish town for Trinity College, will the pair finally be able to publicly love each other? This book is absolutely beautiful, with the magic of coincidence mirroring that of David Nichols One Day and the unexpected love as poetic as in Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. Normal People captures perfectly the desire of love and the difficulty of letting go.
From the author of Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty’s new gripping thriller, Nine Perfect Strangers, is a must-read this season. The premise is that nine strangers all arrive for a ten-day retreat at the health and wellness resort Tranquillum House. The resort is in the middle of nowhere and the guests have no way of communicating with the outside world. Expecting to be able to let go of all their emotional baggage and simply enjoy relaxing massages and other treatments, it becomes clear that this is not all the nine perfect strangers will be experiencing. The director of the resort has quite a different agenda to what the guests would imagine. This entirely engrossing read is a multi-perspective narrative, like so many of Moriarty’s works, with the narration constantly changing between the different guests. It has the suspense of Christie’s And Then There Were None and would make a great adaptation onto screen…watch this space!
Markus Zusak’s second novel Bridge of Clay brings the end to his long awaited and greatly anticipated return after his first novel, the phenomenal The Book Thief. Over a decade later, Zusak is back with what promises to be an intergenerational epic, Bridge of Clay. This is a story centred around the search for greatness after tragedy. A young boy has a Herculean desire to build a bridge, which will unite and save his family.
Finally, a memoir which I think we can all agree is greatly needed given the current political climate, Michelle Obama’s Becoming, which is due to be published globally on 13th November. Obama writes of her life experiences, from childhood to being the First Lady and how these experiences have made her the woman that she is today. These never before heard truths of her public and private life are said to be warm and revelatory in an unusually intimate way; telling the story of a woman from humble beginnings who has defied all expectations. A memoir which is needed for all women and men, to be inspired to achieve greatness and never give up on their dreams.