Did 2020 make a Netflix-bingeing, attention-suffering, lapsed-reader out of you? Absolutely no judgement if it did, these are 'unprecedented' times after all. But you love reading, we know, and want to get back into it. And if there's one thing that begets reading, it's, well, reading!
We asked the WellRead community what books they'd suggest to someone trying to get back into reading and they delivered with some doozies. Below are 10 recommendations that will help you to love reading once again.
Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
Spiky, sharp, intriguingly dark and tender, full of pathos, fury and wit, Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason is a dazzling, distinctive novel from a boldly talented writer. For fans of Sally Rooney, Taffy Brodesser-Akner and Fleabag.
The Yield by Tara June Winch
Profoundly moving and exquisitely written, Tara June Winch’s The Yield is the story of a people and a culture dispossessed. But it is as much a celebration of what was and what endures, and a powerful reclaiming of Indigenous language, storytelling and identity.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.
Writers & Lovers by Lily King
Lily King’s Writers & Lovers follows Casey in the last days of a long youth, a time when everything - her family, her work, her relationships - comes to a crisis. Hugely moving and impossibly funny, it is a transfixing novel that explores the terrifying and exhilarating leap between the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another. It is a novel about love and creativity, and ultimately it captures the moment when a woman becomes an artist.
Expectation by Anna Hope
What happened to the women we were supposed to become? Hannah, Cate and Lissa are young, vibrant and inseparable. Living on the edge of a common in East London, their shared world is ablaze with art and activism, romance and revelry - and the promise of everything to come. They are electric. They are the best of friends.
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the awkwardness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone 'family', the complicated reality of being a grown-up and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.
Luster by Raven Leilani
Razor sharp. provocatively page-turning and surprisingly tender, Luster is a painfully funny coming-of-age story told by a fresh new voice.
Talking It Over by Julian Barnes
Talking it Over is a brilliant and intimate account of love’s vicissitudes. It begins as a comedy of misunderstanding, then slowly darkens and deepens, drawing us compellingly into the quagmires of the heart.
Normal People by Sally Rooney
This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life - a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us - blazingly - about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness, Sally Rooney’s second novel breathes fiction with new life.
Anything by Nora Ephron
Anything by Nora Ephron is a joy, but perhaps start with her autobiographical novel Heartburn, a roller coaster of love, betrayal, loss and - most satisfyingly - revenge.