With the year well underway, it's nearly World Book Day. On the 4th of March, readers, authors, publishers and critics come together to celebrate the wonderful world of literature, sharing their love for books with the international literary community.
With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the regular events commemorating World Book Day have been called off, but because of that same pandemic, our favourite books are more important than ever. Our libraries, however big or small, help us escape the four walls of our homes, giving us somewhere to retreat to from the anxieties and rush of the world we live in today.
So, in recognition of World Book Day and the value literature has for our lives in lockdown, here's a list of books that readers around the world are getting lost in for you to try out this spring:
For a beautiful tale about a boy and his three animal friends that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike, look no further than The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse by artist and cartoonist Charlie Mackesy. Mackesy's wonderful story, embellished by elegant illustrations, carries readers into a thoughtful and gentle world, populated by characters who delve in the best parts of human (and animal) nature to draw out life lessons that people of all ages can learn from. With its swirling artwork and meditative ideas, The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse is a chance to carve out a slice of tranquillity from the chaos of day-to-day life.
Being grown up is hard. Accomplished author Marian Keyes is well aware of this and dives into the idea of being 'grown up' with her celebrated comedy novel Grown Ups. Grown ups tells the story of the Caseys, a happy family on the surface with a host of secrets and resentments underneath. After the wife of a family member gets concussion and starts revealing hidden truths over a birthday party, the façade starts to crack and collapse. A witty and character-driven book, filled with rapid dialogue and driven at a quick pace, Grown Ups is a hugely entertaining reveal of just how grown up most families actually are.
Many of us know him as comedian, TV presenter and Pointless brainbox, but alongside all of that, Richard Osmon's debut novel about septuagenarian detectives is proving his chops as an author too. This snappy little murder mystery has just the right amount of old-fashioned charm, mixed with sharp and sneaky crime writing to produce a fun cocktail of mystery and suspense. Infused with vibrant characters and good humour, this is a mystery story to keep you hooked and guessing to the last page.
A tremendous story of love, hope and overcoming loss, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a testament to the spirit of those who find themselves displaced by war. Written by Tattooist of Auschwitz author Christy Lefteri, the books tells the story of Nuri, a beekeeper living and thriving with his wife, Afra, in Aleppo, Syria. After war tears through the city, destroying Nuri and Afra's homes and livelihoods, the couple must traverse the devastation, while keeping hold of their humanity in the wake of their loss. Charged with human emotion, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is compassionate and beautiful, a story that puts indomitable human spirit up against terrible hardship and sorrow.
We may be used to David Attenborough's breath-taking nature documentaries that have graced our TV screens for the better half of a century, but his recent book A Life on Our Planet, based on his series of the same name, is well worth a read. In an era of human history where changing our relationship with the Earth is of paramount importance, Attenborough's book gives his educated and expert perspective on not only the state of things, but what we need to do to make a difference. His prose is simple, effective and straight-to-the-point, drawing from his expertise to give it to us straight, without pulling any punches.
The winner of the Booker Prize in 2019, Girl, Woman, Other is a compelling piece of literature that opens up the history of Britain with a diverse set of viewpoints from mostly black women. The novel is split across the lives of twelve characters, each with their own stories and hardships, all interwoven with each other to paint a powerful picture of what it means, and what it has meant, to be a black woman living, working and growing up in Britain. With different backgrounds and aspirations, Girl, Woman, Other sees its characters overcome hurdles and challenges, but it also seeks to express joy in the support and encouragement that black women through the ages have found in each other.
Those are just some our favourite reads for you to discover just in time for World Book Day 2021 on March 4th. There are plenty more out there for when you've made it through our list - for some extra ideas, take a look through Goodreads selection for the best books of 2020.
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