My TBR Pile - Books I Can't Wait To Read This Summer

Sunday, July 21, 2019

My English literature degree consumes my life during term time and over the past few months I’ve accumulated a list of books that I want to read as long as my arm that I’ve simply not had time to get to. Now that it’s summer I have a lot more time to delve into these amazing novels, and I’m genuinely excited to get stuck into them all, so I thought I’d share which ones are at the top of my list!

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Frances, Bobbi, Nick and Melissa ask each other endless questions. As their relationships unfold, in person and online, they discuss sex and friendship, art and literature, politics and gender, and, of course, one another.
Twenty-one-year-old Frances is at the heart of it all, bringing us this tale of a complex menage-a-quatre and her affair with Nick, an older married man.
You can read Conversations with Friends as a romantic comedy, or you can read it as a feminist text.
You can read it as a book about infidelity, about the pleasures and difficulties of intimacy, or about how our minds think about our bodies.
However you choose to read it, it is an unforgettable novel about the possibility of love.
Described by the New York Times as a ‘new kind of adultery novel’, Conversations with Friends is also sharp, bitingly funny fiction that digs deep into identity and communication; slicing into the divide between who we are, and who we present ourselves to be. Hooking a reader from the first page, this modern love story about growing up and the infinite complexities of intimacy is a masterful debut from a major new talent.
Everyone has been raving about Sally Rooney's bestselling novel Normal People, which was also nominated the Waterstones Book of the Year in my work, so I feel as though it's a crime that her debut Conversations with Friends is left unread on my bookshelf. Rooney's minimal, almost bleak writing style perfectly encapsulates the raw emotions and regularity of the lives portrayed, and I surprisingly love her minimalism despite being someone who prefers more flowery and elongated descriptions. I genuinely can't wait to sink my teeth into this novel, and hopefully it'll live up to the continual praise it has received.

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

One house. Nine strangers. Ten days that will change everything...
The retreat at health-and-wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation. Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage, and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages.
Miles from anywhere, without cars or phones, they have no way to reach the outside world. Just time to think about themselves, and get to know each other.
Watching over them is the resort's director, a woman on a mission. But quite a different one from any the guests might have imagined. For behind the retreat's glamorous facade lies a dark agenda.
These nine perfect strangers have no idea what's about to hit them...
When this novel was one of the Waterstones books of the month a while back, I instantly knew that I wanted to read it. However, due to being extremely busy with uni and a TBR list a mile long, I'm only just getting to it now. The pervading darkness and intrigue behind the spa retreat setting really gripped me, and I'm a huge fan of mystery and psychological thrillers, whilst also carrying Moriarty's relatable and down-to-earth writing. I feel as though I'm simultaneously yearning for the soul-seeking relaxation of experiencing Tranquillum House when reading and also uncovering the dark secrets that lie behind it, and I can't wait to get stuck into this book.

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

I am old. That is the first thing to tell you. The thing you are least likely to believe. If you saw me you would probably think I was about forty, but you would be very wrong.Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret.
He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he's been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz-Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life. It’s a life he once had, long-since buried but buried secrets have a habit of catching up with you and nobody can outrun their own past.
Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover - working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he'd never witnessed them first-hand. He can try to tame the past that is fast catching up with him. The only thing Tom must not do is fall in love.
I've had my eye on How To Stop Time for quite a while and finally decided to pick it up, and I simply can't wait to get stuck into it. This fantasy historical hybrid catapults the readers across centuries in Matt Haig's beautiful and captivating writing style and inventive novel. Also, the film rights have recently been picked up and so I'm eager to give this a read before it becomes popular!

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

A chair, a table, a lamp. Above, on the white ceiling, a relief ornament in the shape of a wreath, and in the centre of it a blank space, plastered over, like the place in a face where the eye has been taken out. There must have been a chandelier, once. They’ve removed anything you could tie a rope to.
Offred lives in The Republic of Gilead. To some, it is a utopian vision of the future, a place of safety, a place where everyone has a purpose, a function. But The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed.
If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.
Brilliantly conceived and executed,The Handmaid's Tale is a bold evocation of twenty-first century America that gives full rein to Margaret Atwood's devastating irony, wit and astute perception.
Dystopian novels are one of my favourite genres to read, and I simply don't know how I haven't got around to reading this novel yet. With the sequel, The Testaments, just a few months away, now seems like the perfect time to read it. I also think that in our present day, novels dealing with misogyny and the subjugation of women are incredibly important, yet it's equally scary what could come of our future. I've also been holding off watching the TV series for ages in anticipation of reading this novel, so it's about time that I got to it.

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Welcome to the Kingdom, a dazzling fantasy theme park where 'happily ever after' is not just a promise, but a rule . . .
The Kingdom is a place where technology helps dreams come to life. Formerly extinct species roam the park, and seven beautiful 'Fantasists' - half-human, half-android princesses - entertain visitors and make wishes come true. But this fairytale ends in murder, and now Ana, one of the seven Fantasists, is in the dock after finding herself experiencing emotions and romantic feelings against all her programming . . .
Told through court testimony, interrogation records and fragmented flashbacks, The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg has the futuristic appeal of Westworld and the twists and turns of a true-crime thriller.
My young adult fiction days are distant, but I was instantly intrigued when I received the proof copy of this book. It seems to promise to fulfil my childhood fantasies of princesses and theme parks on the surface, yet having a more sinister and murderous plot lying beneath. It's also described as being perfect for fans of Black Mirror, so I definitely think this novel will be right up my street!

Recursion by Blake Crouch

What if someone could rewrite your entire life?
'My son has been erased.' Those are the last words the woman tells Barry Sutton before she leaps from the Manhattan rooftop. Deeply unnerved, Barry begins to investigate her death only to learn that this wasn't an isolated case. All across the country, people are waking up to lives different from the ones they fell asleep to. Are they suffering from False Memory Syndrome, a mysterious, new disease that afflicts people with vivid memories of a life they never lived? Or is something far more sinister behind the fracturing of reality all around him?
Miles away, neuroscientist Helena Smith is developing a technology that allows us to preserve our most intense memories and relive them. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss or the birth of a child.
Barry's search for the truth leads him on an impossible, astonishing journey as he discovers that Helena's work has yielded a terrifying gift . . .
I'm not a scientific person, but I find the whole discussion of false memories and the Mandella effect honestly fascinating, and from what I've gathered these seem to be encapsulated in this novel. Everything about it really called me when I received the proof copy, and although it's difficult to understand exactly what is going on from the blurb, I feel as though it's a really promising concept and the perfect blend of science and fantasy.

What books do you want to read this summer? I'm always on the hunt for new books and I'd love to hear some of your recommendations, so make sure you leave me a comment with a book you're dying to try this summer!

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