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25th Nov 2021

5 books to nestle down with over this chilly weekend

Katy Thornton

With snowfall forecasted for this weekend, you might want to tuck yourself up somewhere cosy and settle down with a good book.

We’ve all felt that bite in the air. It’s gone past feeling fresh; the weather is just plain freezing. With snow expected to fall in some regions around the country, maybe consider staying indoors this weekend. If you’ve seen everything on Netflix, or just want to get back into reading, these novels are for you.

1. My Dark Vanessa – Kate Elizabeth Russell

While this novel won’t be for everyone, it is an incredible piece of work. My Dark Vanessa follows the story of a teenage girl, Vanessa, who is groomed and manipulated by her teacher. She cannot come to terms with her trauma in her adult life, still seeing their relationship as love. But when another girl accuses the same man of sexual assault, Vanessa must interrogate everything she knows, to devastating conclusions. Proceed with caution ahead of reading this novel; there are issues of sexual abuse discussed in great depth and at times it can be very difficult to read. It reads as a modern day Lolita, from the point of view of the victim, and the tale will not leave your mind for days later.

2. The Heart’s Invisible Furies – John Boyne

This is a long book, but you will fly through it. It tells the story of Cyril, a boy born out of wedlock during a time in Ireland when that was extremely frowned upon. He’s given up for adoption, and taken in by the Averys, a rich family who continuously make it known he’s not really an Avery. As Cyril grows, he tries and fails to come to terms with who he is, during a tumultuous time in Irish history. This novel follows Cyril throughout his whole life and his struggles will both have you weeping and laughing out loud.

3. The Perfect Sister – Zoe Miller

If you’re looking for a quick thriller, The Perfect Sister is the perfect tale. Alice has always been protective of Holly, especially since their mother died. When Holly moves away with her husband, Alice is devastated, until new evidence comes to light about a murder that occurred where Holly used to live. Alice doesn’t want to believe her sister is capable of violence, but Holly is not forthcoming with information on the night in question. A well written and fast paced thriller, this story will keep you occupied all weekend.

4. Shuggie Bain – Douglas Stuart

This novel moved me beyond words. Shuggie Bain follows Hugh “Shuggie” Bain, a lonely boy who lives with his alcoholic mother in a public housing estate in Scotland in the 80s. While Shuggie’s mother Agnes tries desperately to overcome her addiction, Shuggie tries to help her, but is often bullied for his sweet nature. This novel is hard going; like My Dark Vanessa, there are many difficult scenes to get through. However, it is written beautifully and so emotionally poignant that I must implore you to give it a go.

5. The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett

Brit Bennett did a magnificent job writing this novel. Desiree and Stella are twin sisters, running away from their hometown in the Deep South  at the age of 16. Along the way, Stella abandons Desiree, and the girls begin very different paths in life. While Desiree returns to her hometown with her daughter, Stella meets a man and begins passing as white, creating a family of her own. It seems that their lives will never cross again… until their daughters meet by chance. This novel conveys so much about race, family, class, and it will keep you enthralled the whole way through.

What books have you been loving lately?

Header image via Instagram/katysnovelstonote

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