I thought it’d be fun to give some books suggestions based on what I have been reading as of late. So, the books I’d like to recommend to you guys are:
1. Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I feel that the characters in this book are definitely the best that John Green has written. The main character of this novel, Hazel Grace is a 16-year-old girl who is battling cancer. While attending a cancer support group, she runs into a guy named Augustus Waters who also has dealt with cancer in the past. And the two of them hit it off. I think what the author is trying to show in this story is that there is more to you than your illness. Cancer may be a part of you but it is not you. While there are many twists and turns in this novel, I think one thing that remains constant is Augustus’ will to establish a legacy which is considered upon heavily by Hazel. Well, undeniably we all have this epic fear that we will be forgotten and not remembered after we die. After reading this book, I can honestly say that it’s the littlest thing in life that matters the most. The Fault in Our Stars is so much amazing that I can recommend this to anyone.
2. One plus One by Jojo Moyes
This novel follows four different perspectives. We have Jess, who is a single mom and her kids are Tanzie and Nicky. Tanzie is a 8-year-old girl. She is hilarious but also a genius in mathematics. I love her as a character so much that she is probably my favourite female character in the books that I have read recently. Meanwhile, Nicky is studying high school and he has had a lot of trouble recently with kids in his neighbourhood bullying him because he is “different” from everyone else. The fourth perspective in the novel would be Ed, who is a self-starter. He owns his own software business with his best friend, Ronan.
Everything seems to go really well for him until one day, a girl that he has a major crush on during college days walks back into his life and just completely turns things around for him in the worst way possible. What I really appreciate about how Jojo Moyes wrote this novel was that it is very character-driven and her characters are fantastic. You cannot help but fall in love with each character of her novels. I also liked how there was no instalove in this story. It is a gradual progression from being strangers to not being too sure about the other person and starting to build friendship and eventually falling for each other.
3. Homefire by Kamila Shamsie
This novel was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017 and won the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018. I have heard quite a lot about this book over the last year and that why I thought I would give it a go and it really surpassed my expectations. It’s about three British siblings of Pakistani origin, the older sister Isma and her two younger twin siblings, Aneeka and Parvaiz. I think, in the broadest terms, this book is about these characters trying to negotiate the conflicts between family obligations and their religion in the 21st century, specifically focusing on the issues of terrorism and attitudes towards it in present-day Britain.
The older sibling, Isma has just moved to the U.S to study and the book opens with her experiences being detained in the immigration control in the airport and being subjected to ridiculous questions about her allegiance to the UK. On the other hand, her younger brother, Parvaiz has recently moved to Syria after being supposedly radicalized and is falling in his father’s footsteps. Their father became a jihadist and was murdered when they were all very young. Another character who is important in this book is Eamonn, another British Pakistani man whose father has just become the first Pakistani Home Secretary of the UK. Everything in this book felt very topical as it deals with big issues like terrorism and Islamophobia, but it does so sensitively. Overall, what I think the book tackles well is the way the government and the public treat the families of those who become radicalized. It is a calling for more compassion when it comes to family members and how they are treated because they cannot be held accountable in any way for the actions of someone even if they are related.
4. Leaving before the rains come by Alexandra Fuller
Back in year 2002, Alexandra Fuller wrote a terrific memoir called Don’t let’s go to the dogs tonight which is the story of her growing up in Africa with her English parents who were deeply troubled and complex people. The story of her growing up there makes an amazing book, and I would highly recommend it to you. Leaving before the rains come is the sequel, but you do not necessarily have to read the first one in order to read it. Anyway, this is about her later years when she meets an American in Africa, marries him, and ends up moving back to live in the American Midwest, where life is vastly different to how it is in Africa. Over time, her marriage begins to fall apart. This book is truly a wonderful piece of writing by Alexandra Fuller, which I would recommend to anyone.
5. White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht
This book is about the struggle of people during the period when Japanese invaded some Asian countries. This is a story about Hana, who is a diver and a fisherwoman living in Korea. As her whole family comes from a long line of fisherwomen, she follows suits, diving into the sea for fish to get income. One day, when Hana is diving for fish, she realizes that there are Japanese soldiers pursuing her younger sister. Hana goes to rescue her and hides her out but during the process, Hana gets captured by the Japanese soldiers. She is then sold into the life of a comfort woman. In other words, Hana is unfortunately put into a situation where she is human trafficked and being forced to be a prostitute for various Japanese soldiers. It’s told in this very gritty sad reality of what happened to all these women during this time period. Many of them pass away from disease, unexpected pregnancies. It is tragic that many of these women that endure this type of hardship end up not surviving.
Unfortunately, Hana also happens to be one of those women that is forced into this kind of life which is the contrast with her younger sister who becomes an older woman in year 2011 and she is reflecting on the relationship that she had with her sister. The story jumps back and forth between the two time periods and basically what happens with their sibling relationship. Overall, this book is a story about redemption, forgiveness, endurance and bravery, written in such a beautiful language that you will just fall in love with the characters while reading.
So there we go, a run down of some of my latest reads. Happy reading!
Written by Marielyn Selvarajah