Well readers, 2020 has officially passed the halfway mark, and with many of us indoors, there has been been a better time to be a bookworm and get through those books you’ve been adding to your reading list.
Keeping our mind busy, is key during quarantine. Here are a variety of books that have entertained or enlightened us for a variety of reasons. Let us know if any of your favorites made the list, and if not, which ones you’d add.
We’re kicking off this list with “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”. This book revisits the world of Panem sixty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games. Long before Katniss’ time we follow a young President Snow as hard times change him, into the canny fellow we both feared and loved in the original trilogy.
Next on our list is “The Giver of Stars”. Described as, the greatest love story is the one you’ll least expect. Alice Wright doesn’t love her new American husband. Nor her domineering father-in-law or the judgmental townsfolk of Baileyville, Kentucky. Stifled and misunderstood, she yearns for escape and finds it in defiant Margery O’Hare and the sisterhood bringing books to the isolated and vulnerable. But when her father-in-law and the town turn against them, Alice fears the freedom, friendship and the new love she’s found will be lost .
With Artemis Fowl enchanting viewers on Disney+, and the series well and finished, we’d like to introduce you back into Artemis’ world. Check out “The Fowl Twins”. Myles and Beckett Fowl are twins but the two boys are wildly different. Beckett is blonde, messy and sulks whenever he has to wear clothes. Myles is impeccably neat, has an IQ of 170, and 3D prints a fresh suit every day – just like his older brother, Artemis Fowl.
A week after their eleventh birthday the twins are left in the care of house security system, NANNI, for a single night. In that time, they befriend a troll on the run from a nefarious nobleman and an interrogating nun both of whom need the magical creature for their own gain . Prepare for an epic adventure in which The Fowl Twins and their new troll friend escape, get shot at, kidnapped, buried, arrested, threatened, killed (temporarily) . . . and discover that the strongest bond in the world is not the one forged by covalent electrons in adjacent atoms, but the one that exists between a pair of twins.
Next on our list is a spot of non-fiction: “Prisoners of History : What Monuments to the Second World War Tell Us About Our History and Ourselves”. What happens when our values change, but what we have set in stone does not? Humankind has always had the urge to memorialise, to make physical testaments to the past. There’s just one problem: when we carve a statue or put up a monument, it can wind up holding us hostage to bad history. Amongst many questions, the book asks: What does Germany signal to today’s far right by choosing not to disclose the exact resting place of Hitler? How can a bronze statue of a young girl in Seoul cause mass controversy? What is Russia trying to prove and hide, still building victory monuments at a prolific rate for a war now seventy years over?
Don’t let 2020 slip by without picking up “The Court of Miracles”. Les Misérables meets Six of Crows in this page-turning adventure as a young thief finds herself going head to head with leaders of Paris’s criminal underground in the wake of the French Revolution. In the violent urban jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, the French Revolution has failed and the city is divided between merciless royalty and nine underworld criminal guilds, known as the Court of Miracles. Eponine (Nina) Thénardier is a talented cat burglar and member of the Thieves Guild. Nina’s life is midnight robberies, avoiding her father’s fists, and watching over her naïve adopted sister, Cosette (Ettie). When Ettie attracts the eye of the Tiger–the ruthless lord of the Guild of Flesh–Nina is caught in a desperate race to keep the younger girl safe. Her vow takes her from the city’s dark underbelly to the glittering court of Louis XVII. And it also forces Nina to make a terrible choice–protect Ettie and set off a brutal war between the guilds, or forever lose her sister to the Tiger.
A big staff pick, which debuted early 2020 is “House of Earth and Blood; Crescent City” by Sarah J Maas. Half-Fae, half-human Bryce Quinlan loves her life. Every night is a party and Bryce is going to savour all the pleasures Lunathion – also known as Crescent City – has to offer. But then a brutal murder shakes the very foundations of the city, and brings Bryce’s world crashing down. Two years later, Bryce still haunts the city’s most notorious nightclubs – but seeking only oblivion now. Then the murderer attacks again. And when an infamous Fallen angel, Hunt Athalar, is assigned to watch her every footstep, Bryce knows she can’t forget any longer.
As Bryce and Hunt fight to unravel the mystery, and their own dark pasts, the threads they tug ripple through the underbelly of the city, across warring continents, and down to the deepest levels of Hel, where things that have been sleeping for millennia are beginning to stir …
With unforgettable characters and page-turning suspense, this is a richly inventive new fantasy series.