A Book Recommendation For Every Colour of the Rainbow

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Lockdown has got me doing some strange things with my time, which I can almost assure you that I'd never have had the energy or patience to do previously. I've tidied cupboards which have never been tidied before, moved furniture around the room just for the hell of it, baked things from scratch which really didn't need to be baked from scratch (see my DIY pasta post for proof on this one). And my most recent random-act-of-lockdown? Reordering my bookshelf into a rainbow.

I've seen a lot of people share their rainbow bookshelves on social media before and it's something which has always brought me joy and satisfaction, but not something I've ever thought to do myself. Lately though? I'll do anything to keep busy. So rainbow shelves it was! I actually really like how it looks. I find myself feeling a little happier every time I walk into the room and see all the ordered, brightly coloured spines. It's just so satisfying.

Organising my shelves like this made me realise how many lovely books I own which I've enjoyed reading over the years, but probably haven't raved about online. So, to celebrate my new rainbow shelves, and having a place to write about books again, I thought I'd share some colourful recommendations.

Disclaimer: we're going for a slightly discoloured rainbow because I have very few books with indigo and violet spines, but lots of greys and pinks!

stack of books on desk


The Power - Naomi Alderman

The Power was one of my favourite reads of 2017. It tells the interconnecting stories of a group of people who wake up in a world where girls have a biological power to inflict pain and death on other people without even touching them. The book weaves through the lives of these individuals and shows how this power affects their lives. I really loved this read. I enjoy any book which flips gender norms and shows what could happen if women had the upper hand, so I loved the way The Power explored this through supernatural themes. Definitely a gripping read!


The History of Bees - Maja Lunde

I have a very niche fascination with books about bees - don't ask me why, I've just always loved them! Alongside Laline Paul's 'The Bees', The History of Bees is one of my favourites of the theme. The book tells the story of three generations of bee keepers, one from the past, one from the present day, and one from the future. It explores their lives, their relationships with the bees and their families and also touches on some really important environmental issues. A very thoughtful book which I thought was incredible cleverly written.


Three Women - Lisa Taddeo

I read Three Women earlier this year and it's one which has really stuck in my head. Often I find that when I close a book I instantly break a connection with the characters and am ready to get to know new ones in the next book I choose. With Three Women, however, I've found the stories have kept a very strong place in my heart. The book explores the stories of three women in America and their relationships with men, sex, their bodies, and their daily lives. It's a blend of journalism and storytelling, as Taddeo spoke to three real women to shape the characters. I think this book is a really incredible piece of journalism and I think it's an important read.


The Defining Decade - Meg Jay

Another non-fiction contender in our rainbow, The Defining Decade was a real lifeboat for me in a time when I was really confused by what I wanted to do with my life. Growing up and entering your twenties is a really difficult time for many of us and The Defining Decade answers questions and offers solutions for those of us who feel like we're drowning through this pivotal period. I though this was a really helpful and insightful book for finding your feet as a twenty-something who is worried about not being enough.


Lullaby - Leila Slimani 

Lullaby is one of those books that I just had to stay up half the night reading, because I just couldn't put it down. I've not read many thriller books and it's a genre that I've only recently got into, but I think Lullaby is one of my favourites I've read. The opening chapter will confirm to you that it's definitely not for the faint hearted, as it opens on the scene of two children who have just been murdered in their home. The book then jumps back and follows the relationship between a mother and father, and a nanny, and how their lives become entwined. This book is creepy and slow paced and really gets under your skin. A great, short read!


The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas

A great YA read, The Hate U Give follows the story of sixteen year old Starr, who witnesses the fatal police shooting of her best friend. The book deals with Starr's grief, the grief of her family and community and how she navigates growing up with this weight on her chest. The Hate U Give is a really important read. It sheds light on the important issue of police brutality, but does so with care and emotion, painting a picture of the effects that this act of violence can have on a community.


The Keeper of Lost Things - Ruth Hogan

Maybe not a colour in your usual rainbow, but I wanted to include one last recommendation in our makeshift colourful list. The Keeper of Lost Things remains one of my favourite books, unexpectedly so.  It's a real sweet and simple book, but it's gained a special place in my heart. The Keeper of Lost Things is about Laura, who, after the death of a friend, is left the responsibility of looking after his extensive collection of 'lost things'. Through this simple task, Laura's life changes, bringing her new friends, challenges and questions. I won't give too much more away, but I will say this is such a lovely and sweet read and I found it incredibly uplifting.

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