You may have noticed a trend in the frequency of reading related posts that I’ve been posting. This is because that it in the space of a month we’ve had World Book Day and Night, International Children’s Book Day and English Language Day. Reading has always played an important part of my life, and it gives me great pleasure in being able to talk about and share my favourite books, to inspire others to read.
World Book Night is an annual celebration that takes place on 23rd April each year. It allows passionate readers to give out hundreds of thousands of a selection of recommended reads within their community to share their love of reading with people who don’t read regularly, or don’t have access to books. It inspires people to become confident and enthusiastic readers, as well as providing an equal opportunity for people to develop a love of reading.
I took a look at this years selection of books, to see which one’s I’d recommend, and which ones I would like to read. Here are my thoughts on this years collection, alongside books I want to read:
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck – This is the only book I’ve read from the selection this year; it is probably one of the greatest books of the Twentieth Century, and one I’ve read (and taught) so many times that I fall in love with it over and over again. George and Lennie are drifters who move wherever the work takes them. When they get work on a ranch in Salinas Valley, they start to make friends and settle in, earning money to put towards their dream lives. If Lennie can stay out of trouble, George promises that they’ll be able to buy their own land and settle down. But Childlike Lennie doesn’t understand what George means. He doesn’t understand why Curley and his Wife are trouble. He doesn’t understand why Crooks is so bitter. And he doesn’t understand how to control his strength.
This is such a tragic tale of friendship and loneliness, I don’t know a single soul who isn’t moved by this story. I would highly recommend reading it at least once in your life, if you haven’t already.
The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, ages 83 1/4 years old, by Hester Velmans – This tells the story of Hendrick Groen, who despite getting older refuses to give up the goat and wait for death. He decides to write an expose on the retirement home where he lives, and reveals all the minute details of his life there. But when Eefje moves in, Hendrick decides to buck up his ideas and make the most of his remaining life.
This sort of humour reminds me of the 100 Year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared, which I read a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed. It had a sort of dark humour surrounding old age, and I thought it was an enjoyable read. These sort of books remind me to make the most of my life, and that you are never too old to start living.
The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra, by Vaseem Kahn – I love mystery books, and this sounded right up my street! Set in India, Inspector Chopra inherits and elephant and a murder case on the day he finally retires from the force. As this case leads him across the country, he discovers things about himself that he never knew.
Whilst this seems like a typical mystery book, it also seemed very uplifting and enlightening, two things that you don’t normally find in this genre. I also love books that act as travelogues, and the richness of India appeals to me greatly. It also doesn’t seem as serious as other books I read, and I think this would be great to read whilst on a plane or train.
The Missing, by CL Taylor – I’ve read and enjoyed other books by CL Taylor, so I have a feeling I’m going to like this one too. This is about a 15 year old boy, Billy, who disappears in the middle of the night, and shows the guilt experienced by his entire family, who seem to have this dark secret. His mother Claire knows that Billy is alive, and thinks that her friends and family are not responsible, but isn’t so sure anymore…
I love books like this, that keep you guessing right until the end and you can’t be sure which of the characters is responsible. This is a typical holiday read for me, and will be one that I put onto my Kindle ready for my holiday this year when I can relax a little more and really enjoy it, with my feet up and a nice cocktail.
Lies we tell Ourselves, by Robin Talley – This book is set in America during 1959, when the battle for civil rights is an ongoing struggle. Main character Sarah is starting at school as one of the first Black Students in a previously all white High School. She is unwelcome and unwanted by everyone, and people go out of their way to make that known. As Sarah starts to settle in, she makes friends with a girl whose mother is a hardcore campaigner against black students in the school. As the two girls become closer in this unjust world, they struggle to keep their feelings at bay, and hidden from society.
This book resonated with me, as despite being set over 60 years ago the issues it details are very much alive today. I love books that are based loosely on historical events, and think that this books will be equally shocking and heartbreaking. I like to read books about events like this so that they will not be forgotten about, and so I can help try and stop animosity that exists today.
There are so many wonderful books listed in this years selection, that I recommend everyone go and choose one from what is offered. Let me know in the comments what books you have read from the list, and if you’d recommend any to me.
World Book Night is on Sunday 23rd April 2017. Details can be found on their website.