WHEN YOU'RE FEELING...
Feeling like reading something unconventional... Lincoln in the Brado by George Saunders - The newest winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize is nothing like you have ever read! Saunders pieces together fragments of different narratives and historical sources capturing the death of President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son Willie. You can read it as a play, although it is not quite like that... I would not be surprised if Saunders just came up with a new literary genre! If you are questioning the title, you are not alone. 'Brado' is, in Tibetan tradition, a transitional realm where ghosts are entrapped in between the world of living and death, not entirely ready to leave as they have some unfinished business. I told you it is an exceptional story, definitely worth of your attention.
In need for a 'modern classic'... Mrs Osmond by John Banville - I adore Henry James's book Daisy Miller, however, I have never read his another famous classic The Portrait of a Lady. But as I have been trying to focus more on the contemporary fiction, I was thrilled to find out that John Banville, the winner of the 2005 Man Booker Prize for his novel The Sea (I know, I love the Man Booker Prize winners and in general the shortlisted authors for this literary award, find out more about it here), just published a reimagining of the ambiguous ending of James's novel. Isabel Osmond travels back to London after the death of her cousin, facing an important decision - should she return to her cruel husband or go back to the times when she valued her own freedom? Betrayal, grief, confusion, revenge. All of this is waiting for you in this, in its own way, modern classic.
Having a need for a bit of education... A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari - Everyone was talking about this book about a year ago, and I finally got it for myself. And I can confirm, I am officially in love! Harari's writing style and approach to the history of humankind is brilliant, fresh, interesting, gripping, educative and yet you feel like you are not reading a text book but rather a smartly written novel. Although it has about five hundred pages, words fly in front of your eyes and it is really quick to read. For the first time, I have been reading this book alongside with another one (normally I read one book at a time), and it works. So do not worry that you do not have enough time to get through it. Get through a couple of chapters, have a break, go back to it.
Feeling thrilled... The Twelve by Stuart Neville - I have never been a fan of thrillers, but this book about a professional killer, who decides to redeem himself by killing those who had ordered the deaths of twelve victims he murdered, is brilliant! The book is structured into sections based on the numbers of victims that still remain to be revenged and although it features a lot of characters, you do not get lost and the plot is easy-to-follow. Set in modern Northern Ireland, which is dealing with the aftermath of the Troubles (a period of time in the second half of the 20th century, when Northern Ireland was torn apart in between the Nationalist Irishmen and the British loyalists), the novel reflects on the morals of its protagonists, offering them at least some redemption.
Having Autumn blues... Where They Lie by Mary O'Donnell - I should probably give you a book that would cheer you up, but instead I am proposing a novel about which I might write my dissertation. Gerda's life is turned upside down when she is contacted by a mysterious caller who claims that he knows where the bodies of her loved ones from her childhood are buried . Do not expect a story full of unrealistic mystery. O'Donnell draws on human grief, memories, social conventions and little, everyday life details that make the novel original. It is quick to read, basically finishing every other chapter with a cliff-hanger.
Surrounded by family drama... Reading in the Dark by Seamus Deane - So you think that your family is complicated? Oh well, in that case read this thin novel about a family secret slowly revealing in front of its young nameless narrator, who finds out that his mother played an important role in the disappearance of his father's beloved brother. I will not say more, maybe just than you will once again travel to Northern Ireland, this time back to the 1950's (I know that recently I have been constantly talking about Northern Ireland, but I simply love my English course on Northern Irish literature and I can't help it but share it with you!).
Going back to your childhood (and yet, still being an adult) ... Tracy's Tiger by William Saroyan - I found a photo on my bookstagram from the last summer with this short novel about a boy who gets a tiger and falls in love with a beautiful girl. I would dare to compare it to The Little Prince, as both of the books seem to be for children, yet they can give so much to their adult readers. A story about our basic fears, need for love and someone to be with us, even if it is just a tiger...
Missing your teenage problems... Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman - I have not been a massive fan of books such as The Girls or John Green's teenage novels, but this story actually got me. When a basketball school star seemingly commits a suicide on Halloween in 1991, the conservative town is shocked. And they do not know what will happen next. It is, once again, about a good girl who gets involved with a bad one, but it is original and you are not sure what will happen next until the final page. Wasserman reliably captures a friendship and how far we are willing to go to preserve it.
Snuggling up with a tea and a long-to-read book... Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor - This book is not an easy-read as it seemingly has no action it the plot and only slowly reveals stories of many protagonists. I talked about it over here, admitting that the novel definitely needs your full attention and time to fully enjoy it. But I think that if it is raining and cold outside, this book is perfect.