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5 Books to Read in 2017

As a languages student with an ever-increasing pile of obligatory cultural books permanently residing on my desk, one of my New Year’s Resolutions this year is to make a conscious effort to read for pleasure- original, I know, but important nonetheless. Here’s an insight into the top five books I am keen to read throughout 2017:

Graeme Macrae Burnet-‘His Bloody Project’

‘A fiendishly readable tale that richly deserves the wider attention the Booker has brought it’ – The Guardian

Having been part of St Chad’s College’s reading group who recently shadowed the 2016 Man Booker prize, I am keen to read Burnet’s second novel, which was included on the shortlist.  Reviews promise a psychological thriller set firmly in the 19th century, presented to the avid reader as a selection of ‘found’ memoirs. This all seems promising as a major fan of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. Similarly to both of these novels, I am intrigued by Burnet’s use of multiple unreliable narrators, something which the intrigue of successful thrillers thrives upon in my opinion.

Ruby Wax-‘A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled’

‘Ruby Wax has an extraordinary mind, and has brought it to bear with trademark wit and searing honesty’- Steven Fry

This self-help book written by much-loved comedian, actress and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax, was brought to my attention earlier this year. As students, we are all too aware of the sometimes overwhelming nature of University life and the struggles it can bring along with all of its excitement and opportunity. Keen on improving my own mental health, I started reading this book a couple of weeks ago and was instantly drawn in by its chatty and honest tone, a plethora of witty anecdotes alongside clear and concise guidelines and tips. The book progresses in weekly instalments, each providing mindfulness techniques, with the aim of the reader trying to implicate these methods throughout everyday life. Given its recent glowing reviews, I am excited to discover the secrets of this book, a guide suitable for those who, like me, are completely new to the notion of mindfulness.

I also saw Ruby Wax perform at the Gala theatre this month!

Phillip Pullman-‘Northern Lights’

‘Rarely, if ever, have readers been offered such a rich casket of wonders’ – Independent

A well-loved and infamous tale, I have been recommended this novel so many times and I am determined that this is the year that I will finally get round to reading it when I’m not reading for lectures. A guest at 2015’s Durham Book Festival, Pullman is widely renowned as the author for a generation, penning this novel as the first in his highly successful trilogy His Dark Materials.

Stephanie Perkins-‘Anna and the French Kiss’

‘Very sly. Very funny. Very romantic. You should date this book.’ –Maureen Johnson

Despite the fact that I have now surpassed my teenage years and supposedly left my multitude of dog-eared chick-lits behind, I must admit that I am still a sucker for the occasional YA novel. The Parisian-inspired cover instantly drew me in, given that I am due to embark on my own French adventure this year as part of my year abroad. A classic whirlwind tale of teenage romance, this is the kind of easy read that never fails to cheer me up on a rainy day and, given the raving reviews of my friends, I can’t wait to get started.

Rose Tremain- ‘The Gustav Sonata’

‘A powerful, profound and unexpected love story about envy, ambition and the enduring damage of unrequited love. It is a masterful, meditative novel’- The Guardian

Having read the first chapter of this book and having heard much of Tremain’s prowess as a writer of compelling historical fiction, I am so excited to have the time to delve back into it. Set in a small town in ‘neutral’ Switzerland post-Second World War, this touching tale of the transcendence of friendship through life’s hardships is enthralling from the outset. This novel is a powerful exploration of both the implications of the country’s quest for neutrality and the individuals’ quest for self-mastery, touching upon the difficulties and social tensions these may invoke.

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