What’s On the Bookshelf: 4 books you just can’t miss
Add these to your never-ending to-be-read pile…
‘Variety is the spice of life’ is a cliche for a reason. It’s easy to miss out on brilliant reads when we’re caught up in our go-to genres or favourite authors.
Thankfully this month we’re mixing it up with a smorgasbord of book recommendations from our friends at the Emirates Literature Foundation, each of which is vastly different but equally brilliant.
Sundial by Catriona Ward
‘It’s the chickenpox that makes me sure — my husband is having another affair…’ That’s how the latest psychological horror novel – brought to you by the author that gave you more dark twists than a gothic pretzel in her previous bestseller: The Last House on Needless Street – begins.
When Rob finds tiny bones in her daughter Callie’s room, she decides to take her to her childhood home — the eponymous ‘Sundial’ — tucked away in the middle of the inhospitable Mojave Desert. As the story flits between Rob’s present reckoning with her daughter’s hidden darkness and her past family secrets, you gradually uncover the pieces of an unsettling and twisted jigsaw puzzle.
Incidentally, this is the next book lined up for the Foundation Book Club so if you need a support group to talk to afterwards, you know where to go.
The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams
The perfect book for when you don’t know what you want — because it’s everything all at once.
Eley Williams has written a novel that is simultaneously a modern-day and Victorian office comedy, a sleuth mystery, and a commentary on life, love, and the words we use to navigate the world. It tells the story of two lexicographers: the lovesick Peter Winceworth, who starts adding fake words to the dictionary he’s working on in the nineteenth century, and Mallory, a young intern with an odd boss, who starts spotting his mistakes a century later.
Top tip: the way Eley uses language and the excellent narration means this really shines as an audiobook.
Teen Couple Have Fun Outdoors by Aravind Jayan
You might also like
This punchy, warm and frustrating novel set in modern-day Kerala, India begins with Appa (dad) and Amma (mum) driving home to excitedly show off their new Honda Civic to the neighbours. Their middle-class lives and family reputation are soon shattered when a damaging video of their son Sreenath and his girlfriend Anita surfaces online. Sreenath’s younger brother narrates the conflict that ensues and his futile attempts to mediate between two increasingly divided generations.
We devoured this in one sitting and can’t wait to see what Jayan writes next.
When the Dust Settles by Lucy Easthope
What do floods, fires, pandemics and plane crashes have in common? They’re all disasters.
…and they can all be part of a typical day in the life of Lucy Easthope, the UK’s leading authority on disaster recovery. This memoir is more than a candid look behind the scenes of some terrible times. It’s also, as Jenny Colgan points out, a hopeful reminder that no matter how bad things get, ‘someone, somewhere, will always truly care’.
If you enjoyed today’s variety of book recommendations from Annabelle Corton, the Assistant Head of Programming at the Emirates Literature Foundation, then you should check out her other suggestions on their blog. For more recommendations, tune in to their podcast, the Boundless Book Club and follow them on social media and YouTube to enjoy full sessions, author interviews, fun reels – everything in the name of books!