Autumn happens to be my most favourite time of the year. To me, it always feels like a fresh start; where the hot and stuffy last days of summer are past us, and the crisp freshness of the winter lies ahead of us.
It could be the wistfulness that hangs in the air, but I always find myself in ‘Life Review Mode’ , reviewing my read list and looking for some thought provoking reading material to help me put things into perspective.
For those of you who find themselves in a similar place, no matter the time of the year, I have curated a short list of books that could be your reading inspiration, if you are looking for something that is thought-provoking and inspires perspective:
- The Nickel Boys – Colson Whitehead
“We must believe in our souls that we are somebody, that we are significant, that we are worthful”
Based on a true story, this Pulitzer prize winning book by Colson Whitehead is set in the America of 1960’s, starting in segregated Tallahassee, where the civil rights movement is just beginning to take a firm hold.
A young, idealist, Elwood is learning to make sense of his identity and values, but being a black boy, a simple mistake means he ends up in the Nickel Academy – a “reform home”, but in reality, a pit of darkness and unthinkable horrors, from where the only way out is through.
With Elwood and Turner at the centre of the plot, the book focusses on themes of humanity, freedom and the basic human right of survival. In a nutshell, this book demands to be read, and needs to be high up on your read list!
- Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
“Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground, and start over”
A brilliant book by Celeste Ng, that is now available to view as a miniseries with Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington in the lead roles, Little Fires Everywhere is set in the fictional Shaker Heights, a suburb in Cleveland, where everything is carefully planned – the town architecture, as well as the picture- perfect lives of its citizens, including Elena Richardson.
When Mia Warren – mysterious and non-conformist – arrives in this town, it’s all Elena can do to stop herself and her perfect family from getting deeply involved with this outsider.
Thought provoking and defying norms, this book examines and delves into themes of family, discretion, unfair society standards and expectations and above everything else, the importance of defining and living by your own rules.
- The Beekeeper of Aleppo – Christy Lefteri
“But in Syria there is a saying: Inside the person you know, is a person you do not know”
During her time volunteering in the refugee camps in Greece, Christy Lefteri experienced first-hand the unspeakable horrors of war, which inspired the moving and compassionate account of Nuri and Afra.
Nuri, a Beekeeper, with his wife Afra, lives an idyllic life in the Syrian city of Aleppo, until one day their world comes crashing down around them. Forced by circumstances, Nuri and Afra must now embark on a journey, travelling through a world ravaged by war, at the same time learning to find a way back to each other.
Narrated in a unique manner, from the POV of Nuri, the book forces us to take note of the tribulations faced by the millions displaced by war, and makes us realise the importance of family, love and how simple acts of kindness from strangers can go a long way.
- Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi
“The family is like a forest : if you are outside, it is dense; if you are inside you see that each tree has its own position”
In her debut novel, Yaa Gyasi tells a story of breathtaking proportions, spanning centuries and generations.
Effia and Esi are sisters, bound for very different worlds – one sold into slavery and the other marrying a slave trader. Spanning three continents and seven generations, Homegoing casts a light on the origins and the (devastatingly) lasting effects of slave trade and how it shaped the world we live in today.
This book has been a personal favourite of mine and is one that I always recommend as a must have on your read list, especially if you are struggling to make sense of the crazy world we live, as well as anyone who is unafraid to look truth in the face, no matter how uncomfortable it is.