I wish I could have a whole day or two (or three… or four…) a week just to read. There is always a pile of books I have my eye on, and I’m always searching for new recommendations. They don’t even have to be new releases – and in fact, a lot of them aren’t.
Here are five books that are at the top of my to be read pile right now:
Ross King, Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies
You may have noticed if you follow me on Instagram I share various Monet water lily paintings at least once every couple of weeks. I love them SO much, especially the ones in Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris. I also love Ross King’s books, that all focus on art and architecture. This one follows Monet’s journey from 1914, having lost his wife and son and with rumours abounding he isn’t painting anymore, to painting the huge and expressive flower paintings he is so loved for.
Monique Roffey, The Mermaid of Black Conch
In the 1970s, fisherman David discovers a mermaid called Aycayia off of the island of Black Conch. Cursed to be a mermaid by wives jealous of her beauty, David saves her from capture by American tourists. As Aycayia stays in secret at David’s home, she begins to turn back into a woman, and has to learn how to deal with her new body and life around people, on land. I’ve read so much about this book, and love any book to do with the ocean or mermaids, so I’m really excited to sit down one evening and devour this story.
Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
Seth’s novel focusses on Lata, who, along with her mother, are attempting to find a suitable boy for her to marry. But much more than this, A Suitable Boy is set in 1950s India, which is newly independent, which offers a whole different context to the world Lata, and the other families within the book, are trying to find their way in. I think this will be so interesting, and there is also apparently a TV series that has been made too, so I’m looking forward to watching that once I’ve read the novel.
Eden Appiah-Kubi, The Bennet Women
If you’ve been following my blog at all, you know how much I love a modern retelling of Jane Austen. Appiah-Kubi’s fresh take on Pride and Prejudice follows three close friends at Longbourn University, staying in the only all-women’s dorm. EJ is a Black engineering student, Jamie a trans woman studying French and theatre, and Tessa a Filipina astronomy major. All three are struggling to find love: but the arrival of autumn brings new possibilities and excitement. I just know I’m going to love this: I love the creativity involved in the way writers reimagine Austen for new audiences.
Ruth Hogan, Madame Burova
Another book set in the 1970s! (I’m very into this lately.) I really enjoyed Hogan’s novel The Keeper of Lost Things, which I previously wrote about here. Hogan’s new novel follows Madame Burova, a tarot reader, palmist and clairvoyant who is retiring from her booth on the Brighton seafront. She’s been there fifty years, and over that time has revealed and kept many secrets, and now she has to fulfill one last promise made many years before. I find Hogan’s writing so uplifting, so I feel like this is going to be a lovely book to take outside and sit in the park with when the weather warms up a little.
What books are in your to be read pile?