I am currently working in a senior boarding school, and part of my role is getting the girls to bed in the evening. The girls aren’t allowed their phones overnight, and so when I go to say goodnight, many of them are reading.
In the busy-ness of the last few months, my own reading schedule has been sadly lacking. Instead of picking up a book before bed, I quite often revert to YouTube, or Instagram. This is, in some part, because my days are so busy and require a lot of brain energy, so by the time I get to bed I don’t want to use my brain any more… and when you’re tired, compilations of Bondi Rescue do perfectly!
However, I have had many conversations with my students about their favourite books, what they’re reading next, their literature likes and dislikes, and the benefits of reading. Even if English isn’t their favourite subject at school, many of them revert to reading for pleasure as a means of relaxation. And so, as inspired by them, over December I made a conscious effort to read more. If you feel inclined to do the same, here are three of my recent recommendations.
As always, please make sure to check the content warnings for these books before reading them yourselves.
Dance of Thieves
Mary E Pearson is one of my all-time favourite authors, largely due to her masterful world-building. Dance of Thieves (and its sequel Vow of Thieves) is the subsequent duology to her Remnant Chronicles trilogy. We take a side-step away from our previous protagonist Lia, and focus on Kazi, a member of Queen Lia’s esteemed guard.
This book is seductive, intricate, and the epitome of a slow burn. The slow burn is not only tangible in our main love interests, but in every element of the drama throughout the book. Full of tension, Dance of Thieves has my personal favourite enemies-to-lovers trope, and Pearson really takes her time to build rich details into the plot, relationships and characters.
I love it. Please read it.
Moving away from fantasy, my next recommendation is an urban Greek mythological reimagine. Lore is one of the best books I have read in a while, and firmly pulled me out of my reading slump. In this fresh and innovative reworking of Greek gods and their various shenanigans, we are thrown into a Hunger Games-esque hunt, called the Agon. Nine Greek gods walk the earth as mortals, and descendants of their bloodline hunt them down, eager to gain their immortality and power. We follow Lore, the last descendant of her bloodline, as she attempts to leave the hunt behind forever.
This book was so captivating because it is original, brutal and really cleverly constructed. It is also a standalone, so suits all you readers who don’t want to invest time in a trilogy! Alexandra Bracken expertly places us in a New York City that feels equally terrifying, deadly, and just like home. This world-building is assisted by some fantastic character writing, and topped off with a complex plot full of twists, and compromised morals. It may take some concentration to fully grasp the intricacies of the Agon, but it is well worth the brain power.
The Girl Who Reads on the Métro
This book by Christine Féret-Fleury was in equal parts quirky, sad and inspiring. We follow Juliette, a melancholy office-worker whose only moments of happiness come from imagining the lives of strangers who read on the metro on her commute to work. One day, Juliette stumbles into the secret and shadowed Soliman, a strange and alluring bookseller, and from that point on her world changes.
This book was a bittersweet read for me. I read through it very quickly, and it was easy to follow, but at the same time was tinged with poignance and darkness. It was not as romantic as I thought it would be, but is crammed with love nonetheless. It is the sort of book that feels almost forgettable when you are reading it, but then weeks later you can’t seem to forget about it.
The Girl Who Reads on the Metro reignited a relationship with books for me, insofar as it reiterates how special and binding books can be (excuse the pun.) Even if that message is all this book gives you, I think it’s done its job.
Please do let me know if you have read any of these, or if they are on your current TBR. I would love to know what you think! In the meantime, here is what I’ll be reading over the next few weeks.