New Year, New Reads
Esme Bateson suggests interesting, entertaining and challenging books for you 2020 reading list.
2020 has arrived and with it a whole new year to discover some fantastic reads. Challenging, interesting and simply just entertaining, here are nine of the (in my opinion) best books to get stuck into this decade!
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood is a genius. The success of her sequel to “The Handmaids Tale” proves just how talented she is at writing about the dangerous patterns our society follows. However, I’m sure everyone is telling you to read that one, so I won’t. Oryx and Crake is instead, the first in her MaddAddam trilogy. A post-apocalyptic world, facing biowarfare and global warming, allows Atwood to explore the true failings of human nature. Arguably more relevant now than when published, it deserves a read.
I’ll Go On by Hwang Jungeun
Published by Tilted Axis Press, a publishing company who aim to publish books that may otherwise not succeed in being published in English, pervading a difference from current literature. A truly compelling narrative of family, it is one of the most beautifully written books I have read.
Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Half murder mystery, half something else entirely, you will be confused the entire way through. The less you know the better about this book really…
“…it somehow both renews and destroys your faith in humanity and forces you to question everything you think you know…”
A Fort of Nine Towers by Qais Akbar Omar
The first memoir to come out of the current war in Afghanistan, “A Fort of Nine Towers” confronts you with the reality of civilian’s daily life in a war-torn country. Told from the perspective of the author as a child, it somehow both renews and destroys your faith in humanity and forces you to question everything you think you know about Afghanistan. This was my favourite book I read in 2019 and barely anyone has heard of it, read it NOW!
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The amount of people who haven’t read this shocks me. It is the true definition of horror with one of the most disturbing chapters I have ever read. If you like something unsettling read this, though I challenge you to decide what the true horror is in this book.
Guapa by Saleem Haddad
Set over 24 hours in an unnamed middle-eastern country, Guapa follows a young man who has been caught with his boyfriend by his grandmother. As the day unfolds, so does the realisation of the fear of persecution so many people live with every day. Thought provoking and desperately sad, I read it all in one sitting.
We That are Young by Preti Taneji
A modern-day King Lear set in India. Fantastically written and perfectly executed, it reveals the dark underbelly to the rising elite across South East Asia, and does so in a tragic Shakespearean way. Brilliant.
The Bone People by Keri Hulme
Controversial as hell when first released, Keri Hulme aimed to shock when she wrote this book. Revealing a dark underbelly to the “paradise” that is New Zealand, its vivid imagery and shocking violence is something else.
Educated by Tara Westover
Maybe I’m late to the party with this one, but the memoir made me very grateful for my education. It’s far too easy to criticise university, but Westover reminds us of the power it has to combat ignorance and prejudice.
On that note, read away and enjoy!