The Diving Bell and The Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby - Autobiography
This is a heavy read and you'll be forgiven for crying. In December 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby, Editor-in-chief of French Elle suffered a stroke that left him paralysed and speechless, yet entirely conscious. This remarkable story finds him learning how to communicate by only blinking, and reveals how one can find joy in even the most unimaginable circumstances. The entire book itself was dictated by Bauby, letter by letter. It reads like poetry and will change you forever.
The Hygge Holiday by Rosie Blake - Chicklit
If you’re looking for a simple, no-fuss, romantic read, this one’s for you. Clara is on holiday in a small, dishevelled town called Yulethorpe. She rolls up her sleeves to overhaul her mother’s failing toy store. With an appreciation of the little things and the slow life, it brings elements of cosiness and charm whilst also proving to be un-put-downable and life-changing. It’s exactly what we need right now.
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Flinn - Thriller
Anna Fox lives on her own in NYC and spends her days drinking too much wine. We know that Anna is (or was) a successful and respectable child psychologist, but we don’t know what brought her to become a recluse. When she begins spying on her new neighbours, all hell breaks loose when she sees something she shouldn’t. But can she trust that what she saw actually happened? This book will have you turning pages through the early hours of the morning to find out.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah - Historical Fiction
This book is an all-time favourite of mine; a six-star if possible. It will rip your heart and put it back, over and over, giving reason for immense gratitude to live in a time and place without war and with freedom. Sending us back to the barbaric world of WW2, this is the story of two sisters living in a nazi-occupied French town; a story of survival and courage among brutal circumstances. Having read so many books on WW2, I love this one the most for its ability to capture the strength of women behind closed doors, and the stories of female war heroes that would have otherwise remained untold.
The Lake House by Kate Morton - Mystery
One evening, on the family lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice’s little brother vanishes. Decades later, the mystery remains unsolved and Alice returns to the crumbling home in Cornwall to unveil the culprit. Morton is incredibly clever with her perfect prose and irresistible plot design. Long-winded to begin with, but the second half of the book is captivating and well worth the read.
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry - Historical Fiction
A beautiful and heart-breaking read, revealing all the corruption and cruelty of India circa 1975. Four strangers drawn together in a less-than-ideal situation, A Fine Balance offers an ending that is far from perfect but draws on reality and edges on hope. The story aside, it’s worth reading for the mesmerising words alone. Not for the faint-hearted, this book will open your eyes to the horrors and majesty of the world. Stay with it until the end; it will change you.
The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clason - Self-help novel
This classic tale has stood the test of time for good reason. Revealing the secrets to personal wealth in an easy-to-follow format, it's apparent that many books have tried to follow in its footsteps. Its pages will teach you how to make money, keep money and have money work for you in ways that are so simple you’ll wonder why you never knew them before. This one’s a game-changer for anyone looking to improve their personal finances and their general handling and appreciation of money.
Room by Emma Donoghue - Psychological Fiction
If you’re looking for a page-turner, it’s this. Authored in the voice of a five-year-old boy, his innocent and endearing words pepper a heart-wrenching story of maternal instinct. The unwavering bond between mother and son is beautiful.
The Nudge by Sonya Driver - Self-help
The Nudge is a good, quick read on the journey of Sonya Driver, entrepreneur and founder of Eco Tan. Full of nuggets of wisdom, Sonya outlines the steps it takes to turn a startup into a success. While the books fails to articulately communicate, Sonya's authenticity shines through, and the art direction is beautiful.