The winter season is a joy to behold for reading fans; the scope of engaging, absorbing books out the past few weeks should satisfy the appetite of even the most avid bookworm and the stories just keep on coming. We chose four that we couldn’t put down over yonder, but because there wasn’t room for them all, here are three more that you should add to you must-read lists before the month is out.
The Power by Naomi Alderman
Could you imagine a world where gender stereotyping was flipped on its head? A world where women were the persons who totally run the show? This is the concept that author Naomi Alderman explores in her intriguing novel The Power. Alderman worked with – and was mentored by – the great Margaret Atwood a year before this release and it shows. Like Atwood, she has created a unique dystopia; a universe in which teenage girls discover they develop a “skein” — a muscle in their chest which then means have the ability to electrocute men at will – and they use it to their advantage; suddenly they are physically stronger than men. There are many role reversals throughout the novel, but what jumps out is that even the secretaries are male, and referred to only as “he” for the most part. It’s not meant to be sexist or derogatory; it’s just the way it’s always been… or has it? This story is a fascinating look at what the world might be like if sexism went the other way. It will unnerve you, stay with you and like The Handmaid’s Tale is destined to become a classic.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
Very few debuts have the power to dazzle from the get go and yet Brit Bennett’s The Mothers does exactly that. The story focuses on our protagonist, a beautiful 17-year-old African-American named Nadia Turner who, after a brief romance, falls pregnant by the pastor’s son. This is a coming-of-age tale that starts off as a story of a high-school unwanted pregnancy, yet it is anything but predictable. It soon becomes something else – an astute and shrewd look at what transpires when women at various stages of life betray each other. From the eponymous “mothers” of the community; casting a watchful eye over everything and passing judgement on the younger women, to a female friendship that rapidly dissolves, each thread of the narrative is dealt with in a beautifully sensitive way. It’s a book about trauma, what it means to come to terms with a loss and the after-effects of a decision that must be made, yet can never be undone. This one will make you think and anticipate every book to come from this talented young writer.
The Wangs VS The World by Jade Chang
“Where do we go when we have nothing? Home. It’s where we reclaim and revive our purest selves.” Just one sentence from a witty, wonderful debut which made for a captivating read. Jade Chang’s funny effusive, heartfelt novel The Wangs vs. the World has the literary world talking, and for a good reason. This riches to rags tale of the book’s titular Asian-American family is a brilliant one. They are wealthy and have much to show for it: a multi-million dollar business, two wives and three children, that is, until 2008. A financial crash hits and suddenly sees them lose it all and thus, they embark on a road trip to visit their only hope and make amends. This is a timely look at what it means to be American, set in a time when it’s not quite the land of opportunity it once was.
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