Five books to read this Christmas
2020 has brought a lot of turbulence into our lives. While this Christmas will be very different from any previous traditions, a cosy, quiet evening with a book can still take us away from reality for a while during the winter holidays. Below are some of the most intriguing releases of the year to cuddle up with or gift this season.
The First Woman by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
This is a brilliant coming-of-age tale that takes us to Idi Amin’s Uganda: a patriarchal country tormented by corruption and war. The protagonist Kirabo is surrounded by many powerful women but she is constantly looking for the one she has never seen – her mother.
The novel is especially remarkable because of its engagement with indigenous feminism and multilayered folklore tales about the first females who walked the Earth.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
The television presenter’s fictional work is a smart and funny crime story with masterfully constructed twists. The elderly main characters live in a quiet retirement village. Every week the group meets up to investigate old, unsolved misdemeanors, but one day they get a real murder case right on their doorstep.
The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish
This psychological thriller is based in contemporary London – a place that brings not only joy and comfort to its inhabitants, but also many difficult moments. The author shows us poverty, jealousy, class inequality and crime in the shadows of a beautiful modern city. Despite its focus on complicated social topics, this book is a light and captivating read with some brilliant and unexpected curveballs.
Just Like You by Nick Hornby
The British author’s novel is divided into dual sections which tell the story from the different viewpoints of two protagonists: a young working-class black man in his 20s and a 42-year-old middle-class white mother. Their romance turns into a comedy, but also raises many wide social issues. Hornby gently reveals how class, generational and racial differences can impact relationships between people.
This Lovely City by Louise Hare
Echoing Samuel Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners, this narrative explores the life of the Windrush generation: migrants from Caribbean countries who arrived in the UK after the Second World War. Jazz musician Lawrie Matthews moves to London, where he works as a postman in the daytime and visits Soho’s music halls at night. Very soon, however, he learns that underneath the metropolis’s exciting opportunities are concealed hostilities and prejudices.