Too often in life, we don’t take time for ourselves to do the things we love. One of my great loves has always been reading. When I was a girl, I can remember having this romantic notion of myself sitting in the library of a stately manor, curled up on a window seat as the rain lashed down outside, with only a book for company… Hold on, isn’t that Jane Eyre?
Ah well, I guess reading Bronte’s novel inspired me to want to live like Jane (without all the hardship and poverty but with my own library and Mr Rochester, yes, definitely with Mr Rochester). What a book to give teenage girls to read in school! I had many a dream about Mr Rochester welcoming me in from a raging storm and helping me get dry by a roaring fire…
Why is SJB wittering on about a book they read in school, I hear you ask? Sunday 6th September was National Read a Book Day, that’s why! This event is celebrated globally and is a perfect opportunity to share your favourite stories with friends and family. Reading is an excellent way to discover new ideas and inspirations that may have never even crossed your mind before. In school, they tell you to read from a list of books and they call it work! In adult life, that work becomes a pleasure and you can read any damn thing you like.
In honour of Read a Book Day in the US, we thought we would share some of the books we’ve loved reading over the last few months to see if any of them tickle your fancy and offer you a gateway to a brand-new world.
So without further ado, we give you ‘The SJB September 2020 Book List’:-
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
Lucy Foley’s debut outing had us hooked from the first chapter. Old friends from university decide to have their annual meet-up in a remote hunting lodge in Scotland. Underlying tensions and unspoken secrets begin to rise to the surface and soon the annual gathering becomes an exercise in malice and deceit and that’s before one of them goes missing.
Entering each character’s point of view, we soon discover that some friendships are not as real as they first appear. As each secret is uncovered, the reader is drawn inevitably towards the stunning climax.
Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
We like a bit of fantasy fiction here at SJB and it’s even better when it’s as action-packed as Richard Kadrey’s first novel in his ongoing Sandman Slim series, ‘Sandman Slim’. James Stark, ex-Magician and now Hell’s favourite Hitman, manages to escape the pit after eleven long years. Hell-bent on getting revenge on those who sent him ‘downtown’ in the first place, he cuts a bloody swarth through his old magical crew to finally confront his nemesis and unlock a dark conspiracy that threatens the whole of existence.
If you have an Amazon Kindle Unlimited account then this book is free to download and read at your leisure. I loved it so much I ended up reading the whole series and now eagerly await the next one!
The Stand by Stephen King
Lockdown inspired me to pick up this weighty tome and reread one of the most epic stories of good and evil ever told. A savage plague wipes out the majority of the population and we follow a handful of survivors in the U.S. as they discover one another and the benevolent ‘Mother Abigail’ who leads them to their ultimate destiny. On the flip side, the mysterious Randall Flagg and his chaotic, violent followers travel across the country with an apocalyptic endgame in their sights. I view this as perhaps King’s finest work. His characterisations of the survivors and things they have to do to stay alive and form a new community always draws me in.
Monsters by Emerald Fennell
I found this dark, quirky read through an Amazon recommendation and it gripped me from the word go. I don’t often stay up all night reading (I’m a responsible adult don’t you know) but I actually couldn’t put it down until I’d got to the end.
The story revolves around a boy and a girl who meet whilst on their summer holidays in Cornwall. Both of the children share an interest in the dark corners of the world and so are naturally delighted when a murder occurs. They join together to investigate but end up discovering more than just the secrets behind the crime. Not one for the faint-hearted this, but well worth it. Feels like a very dark Enid Blyton but I wouldn’t recommend it for children.
Emerald Fennell also wrote the second series of ‘Killing Eve’ and has quite a career under her belt for someone in their early thirties. Not that I’m jealous… No, not at all.
Nine Perfect Strangers by Lianne Moriarty
I read this one in my Book Club and it gave us quite a lot to discuss. The story concerns nine people checking into a seemingly benign ‘wellness retreat’ in Australia. Some are there to lose weight, some have come to fix their marriage, others are there to come to terms with tragedy. What starts out as your typical health farm experience soon descends into an experiment in psychological conditioning as the spa’s owner adopts ever more intense regimes in a bid to ‘cure’ her patients of their every ill forever.
This one kept me coming back even though parts of it felt like a bit of a slog and I thought there were good characterisations throughout. I’d recommend this one for the nightstand or the bath – wherever you like to spend a good 15 minutes lost in another world. Written by the author of ‘Big Little Lies’, it’s definitely worth a go before Hollywood inevitably turns it into a movie or tv show.
We hope you like the book recommendations above but if none of these floats your boat then why not head over to the Good Reads website and find something more up your alley? With book news, author interviews and thousands of reviews, you’re sure to find something to enjoy. You can find all the books we have reviewed on Amazon, or if you prefer to support your local bookshops, Booksellers will help you find them.
If you have a book you’d like to recommend to us, or if you’d like us to share a book review you’ve written, tag us on Instagram @So.Just.Be
Right, we’re off to curl up with a good book!
Until next time….