As we welcome August and prepare for the cosy season to arrive, we are excited to share some of our favourite book recommendations. Here at GNHQ we love nothing more than tucking into a great book, under some blankets with a warm drink. Here are the books we are loving this month.
The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
A cottage in Cape Cod, faded from glory, is where Elle’s family spends lazy summers every year, swimming in the lake, languishing at the beach and entertaining friends on warm nights. Though happily married, Elle remains drawn to childhood friend Jonas. When they act on their desires, a tragic event from the past crashes to the surface, forcing her to face her life choices and dark family secrets. Set over 24 hours, this is an addictive, beguiling novel of family complexities and tragedy.
Why I loved it: Set in picturesque Cape Cod, this is an instantly captivating story of love, lies and secrets that had me gripped from the very start. The story centres around the main character, Elle Bishop, who has returned to her family’s summer house in Cape Cod. Elle has a passionate encounter with her childhood love, Jonas at the side of the house while her genuinely beloved husband Peter unknowingly sits inside with their children and friends. From here unfolds a tale of family secrets, tragedy and lies. When I initially bought this book, I thought it was going to be just another easy to read love story with a love triangle at its core. And while it is that, it’s also so much more. It is an immersive, page-turner that is richly descriptive and, for me, it’s a strong contender for book of the summer. It’s important to note for prospective readers that some scenes are deeply unsettling as they deal with difficult themes such as abuse and trauma against children.
We Need To Talk About Money by Otegha Uwagba
We Need To Talk About Money is both a personal memoir and guidebook about the reality of money (or lack thereof) and its unshakeable impact on our wellbeing, success, livelihood, mood, freedom and social standing. Many of the stories will be relatable and others will seem distant depending on your privilege, something with which Uwagba highlights and pinpoints the nuisances of exceptionally well.
Why I loved it: This book was full of learning, personal stories, insider industry insights, humour, and harsh truths. I love reading personal stories, and particularly enjoyed how Uwagba showed how her own experiences were inseparable from larger socioeconomic and political issues such as race, gender, sexuality and class. The intersectional lens through which she analyses money is valuable and should be widely read. It was very easy and enjoyable to read and offered the accessible, thought-provoking insight and motivation which is needed to challenge systems of oppression.
Foster by Claire Keegan
It is a hot summer in rural Ireland. A girl is taken by her unaffectionate father to live with relatives on a farm, not knowing when or if she will go back home. Her aunt and uncle, the Kinsellas’, provide a warm and affectionate home she has not known before and we see her slowly begin to blossom in their care. But in a house where there are meant to be no secrets, there is something unspoken, and the summer must soon come to an end.
Why I loved it: This is one of my favourite reads. It offers nostalgia of a rural Irish Childhood while also telling a beautiful story of love and loss. I love how the story is told through the eyes of a child, and many aspects are left for the reader to understand and interpret themselves. It shows how small acts of love and care can have a majorly positive impact on a growing child and it also shows how important having your own space to grow and learn is. It is a short read but every sentence is significant. It is one of those novellas you could read again and again and take something different away with you each time.
This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay
This book contains secret diaries of a junior doctor in the NHS, scribbled during constant 97 hour work weeks full of endless days and sleepless nights. Kay documents all the life and death decisions, missed weekends and the constant tsunami of bodily fluids that is part of day to day life on the NHS front line. Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt is a hilarious and heartbreaking tell all about the very real life of a Junior doctor on and off the hospital ward.
Why I loved it: I was initially drawn to this book because of my love of Grey’s Anatomy and Adam Kay’s dry, hilarious style of writing. This book will have you laughing one moment and holding back tears the next. Kay’s funny anecdotes, often at the expense of his former patients, are the main selling point of the book for many people. While I enjoyed this aspect of the book, I think the main reason this is such a good read is the insight it gives into the very real lives of many junior doctors all across the NHS. I gained a new found respect for the young doctors in training after an eye opening look at the sacrifices they must make for their profession.