Here at GNHQ, we love to swap book suggestions with each other and this month we are sharing everything from short stories to historical fiction. Have a browse of our favourite literary worlds for you to escape to below.
Without Warning and Only Sometimes by Kit de Waal
(Estimated release: August 2022)
A childhood memoir from the award-winning author of My Name is Leon, The Trick To Time and Supporting Cast. Kit De Waal grew up in the middle of three different worlds, Irish, British, and Caribbean in 1960s Birmingham. She retells her memories of growing up in a household of opposites and extremes, with a haphazard Irish Mother who believed the world would end in 1975 and a Father who dreamt of returning to his relatives in the Caribbean.
Why I loved it:
This book gives an incredible insight into growing up in 1960s Birmingham as a black child with an Irish mother. She tells us of her struggles with racism and the memories of growing up in a troubled household where both her parents are disconnected with each other and dreaming of different paradises. While many chapters are painful to read, there are comforting moments that recreates that nostalgic feeling of childhood perfectly. I felt this book was a moving coming of age story set in extraordinary circumstances. It was inspiring to see how Kit De Waal came to write many widely-loved novels by coming to escape her situation through her love of reading.
A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity.
Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realise, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.
Why I loved it:
A Little Life turned out to be one of my favourite books ever. It was extremely heart-breaking, harsh and raw; so many emotions and so well written that at times it felt really intense. As you read this book there are flashbacks that bring you to Jude’s past, which no one seems to know anything about. I would consider this book triggering for a certain kind of public, and most certainly not for all audiences, but it shows how the lives of these four friends change and darken as time goes by. I loved this book because I couldn’t stop reading. I wanted to know what happened to Jude when he was a kid. I wanted to know if love would conquer all in this book, even though there is that sense of hopelessness and darkness. And I felt for the characters, I wanted to help them and take their pain away; I really felt surrounded by the book and the feelings it evoked.
SOLO: How to Work Alone (and Not Lose Your Mind) – Rebecca Seal
Whether by choice or as a result of circumstance, freelancers and company employees working from home have been propelled into the world of solo working. A skill many of us have yet to master is how to actually work well in isolation, and how to thrive while working alone. This book covers various aspects of solo working life and acts as a guide for this new working world.
Why I Loved it:
I really enjoyed this book because the Author Rebecca Seal breaks down something which can seem insurmountable into easy and manageable steps. Inside you’ll find her exploring everything from the space in which we work to learning how to value our work and time. It’s a great book to have in your office, and one I often reach for to get a little bit of inspiration and motivation. I think it’s a timely book that will serve as an anchor for many people and it’s also easy to read with some great practical tips and tricks. I also loved how the author shaped the conversation around learning to value ourselves and our own personal time – something busy workers often have to put last or forget about entirely.
Good vibes, Good life – Vex King
Social media influencer Vex King overcame great adversity to become a source of hope for thousands of young people, and now draws from his personal experience and his intuitive wisdom to inspire you to practise self-care, overcome toxic energy and prioritise your wellbeing while cultivating positive lifestyle habits. In this book, Vex will show you that when you change the way you think, feel, speak and act, you begin to change the world.
Why I loved it:
Having followed Vex on Instagram for a number of years and having resonated with much of his content, I decided to pick up a copy of his book. I’m not generally a self-help book fan but enjoyed this easy to read reminder of the power of positive thinking and how manifesting and visualising can help in achieving your goals. It is a beautifully designed book that is packed full of inspiring quotes and nuggets of wisdom on how to build a life that you love using positivity and gratitude. If you are truly looking to transform your life, then there are undoubtedly countless deeper, more detailed books out there to guide you but for me, the style of this book was just the uplifting, relatable and easy to consume dose of positivity and motivation that I needed. This is a great book to keep close by for times when you might need a mood boost!
The Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman
In a peaceful retirement village, four friends meet weekly to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves ‘The Thursday Murder Club’. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron are reaching their eighties and they have a few tricks up their sleeves which come to good use when their enjoyment of cold cases is ignited by crimes they need to solve in real time.
Why we loved it:
This book is a charming, clever and fun read with lots of unexpected twists and turns throughout. We see how each of these older characters draws on their social connections and knowledge to try and solve the mystery and it’s a lovely reflection of their well lived lives. You will find yourself wanting to know more about the characters’ pasts, and become quickly enamoured by their interesting, eccentric and often comfortingly ‘regular’ personalities. An enjoyable read, perfect for a Sunday afternoon or, perhaps a Thursday evening.