I've been reading such great books, I couldn't wait to do this post - a mini collection of all the best ones - you could get them for book club, or just for you to read. If you click the covers, you'll see my full review of each book, and then come back to see the rest of the list.
Just Mercy is one of the most profound, moving books I have ever read. According to IMdB it'll be a movie in 2020. It tells the various stories of prisoners fighting for justice (and their lives) on death row, simultaneously with that of Bryan Stevenson, a philosopher-turned defence attorney, who tries to help them. It's about justice, mercy (I suppose that's obvious) but also brokenness, judgement and redemption. Powerful stuff.
I love it when one of my favourite authors hits it out of the park. Belinda Bauer did it with Snap, which Val McDermid calls 'The best crime novel I've read in a very long time'. And then it got long-listed for a Man-Booker. Read about Jack, Joy and Merry Bright, who were left on the side of the highway in their mother's car on the hottest day of the year, the day she never came back, before everyone else does.
Speaking of heart-wrenching and storytelling, Khwezi is one of those we should all read. Redi Thlabi is passionate, and the limelight, which hurt Khwezi so much when she experienced it in life, is gentler than reality in this account. We learn of her humanity, her mistakes, her hopes and her dreams, starkly contrasted by the violent and abusive behaviour of her perpetrators and their supporters. It's a wonderful book.
You won't all go for this one, but I know there are some of you who will, and if you decide to, you won't be sorry. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz knows a lot about our information age, the data available, and why and how (especially on Facebook) everybody lies. Big deal. But what's interesting here is the way that, despite the lying, the truth finds a way to tell its own stories, and how fascinating those tales can be, if we listen.
The Great Alone could so easily have become the worst cliché. Troubled teen, parents who fight all the time, never in school long enough to make friends, and they get to go to Alaska, to start over, where mere survival is tough enough. And with all that's happened, being isolated in a cabin with broken people could be the greatest danger of all. I couldn't put this down.
Suzan Hackney had an interesting childhood. She also writes about it with great distance, humour and unique insight. 'I was made in Coffee Bay. Right there on the beach, in the sand' is the start, and it sets the stage, the tone and the context for a truly enjoyable memoir that you will read in one sitting.
The Paris Secret by Karen Swan is about a family who owns an apartment, with some art that needs evaluation. Of course they haven't opened the front door since WWII, so there are some secrets lurking amongst the dust and hiding under the old furniture.
Read all these? Here are my other book club picks from earlier this year.