The mid-semester break is the perfect time to sit down and relax with a good book. Don’t know what to read? Emily Wind suggests five great novels that you won’t be able to put down.
1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Genre: Historical Fiction
My rating: ★★★★★
I’m not exaggerating when I say this is one of the best books I’ve ever read. The story (written by Taylor Jenkins Reid) takes place in both the past and the present and follows the lives of journalist Monique Grant and Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo. After years of silence, Evelyn opens up to Monique about her glamorous and scandalous life, explaining the truth behind her seven marriages. There is so much I could tell you about this story, but I think the less you know about the plot the better. All you need to know is that this is an emotional, tragic yet heartwarming tale filled with interesting, complex characters who will stick with you well after you’ve turned the final page.
2. The Nevernight Trilogy
My rating: ★★★★☆
If you love fantasy, you’re going to love this series by Australian author Jay Kristoff. And what better time to binge-read a series than during the break? In what some describe as ‘Hogwarts for murderers’, this story follows Mia Corvere and her journey into the Red Church– a school for assassins. If Mia can prove her skills in steel, poison and the subtle arts, she will pass initiation and be one step closer to avenging her family. The book contains footnotes and I’ll admit, it is difficult to get into, but push past those first few chapters to be rewarded with amazing writing (and an equally amazing plot).
3. Red, White & Royal Blue
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My rating: ★★★★★
This heartwarming novel will leave you smiling for days, maybe even weeks after you’ve read it. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston follows Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the U.S. President, and Prince Henry of Wales. The pair have quite the rivalry going on, and when a photo of an altercation between them goes viral, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse. The solution? Stage a truce between the two. What starts out as fake Instagram posts and staged photo-ops soon turns into something real and undeniable. This story is enemies-to-lovers perfection and I will never stop convincing everyone around me to read it (so, read it!!).
4. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
My rating: ★★★★☆
This book by Dr Yuval Noah Harari basically outlines the entirety of human history, from the very first humans who walked the Earth to various breakthroughs and Revolutions to the present day. As someone who never really learnt about evolution at school, I found this book so informative, interesting and accessible– you don’t need a science degree to understand what he is talking about. Throughout detailed descriptions of history, questions are woven about how our ancestor’s behaviour shapes us in the present, and what is it we are currently doing that will shape future generations. The final chapters lead perfectly into his companion novel Homo Deus.
5. Know My Name
My rating: n/a
I have not read this book yet, as it was only released this month, but it’s at the top of my ‘to read’ list so thought it was worth mentioning. I am sure that most people reading this will have heard of Chanel Miller’s story, you just don’t know her name. Known to the world as ‘Emily Doe’, Chanel captured the attention of millions with her victim impact statement to Brock Turner, who was sentenced to only six months for assaulting her. Now, she is reclaiming her identity to tell her story of trauma, transcendence, and the power of words. This is bound to be a thought-provoking and incredibly powerful read.