So full disclosure, last year I didn’t even get near the 20 books I wanted to read in this challenge so this year I’ve decided to go for the 10 books of summer challenge instead to make it a bit easier on myself.
The challenge is hosted by Cathy at 746books, click there to have a look for yourself.
So here are my books this year, I am giving myslef some wriggle room to swap out and adjust the list. I have a couple of books arriving (fingers crossed) tomorrow which in this period of time are extremely important so they will be on the list when they arrive.
1. The Catcher in the Rye
It’s Christmas time and Holden Caulfield has just been expelled from yet another school. Fleeing the crooks at Pencey Prep, he pinballs around New York City seeking solace in fleeting encounters – shooting the bull with strangers in dive hotels, wandering alone round Central Park, getting beaten up by pimps and cut down by erstwhile girlfriends. The city is beautiful and terrible, in all its neon loneliness and seedy glamour, its mingled sense of possibility and emptiness. Holden passes through it like a ghost, thinking always of his kid sister Phoebe, the only person who really understands him, and his determination to escape the phonies and find a life of true meaning.
The Catcher in the Rye is an all-time classic in coming-of-age literature: an elegy to teenage alienation, capturing the deeply human need for connection and the bewildering sense of loss as we leave childhood behind.
2. The Handmaid’s Tale
Offred is a Handmaid in The Republic of Gilead, a religious totalitarian state in what was formerly known as the United States. She is placed in the household of The Commander, Fred Waterford – her assigned name, Offred, means ‘of Fred’. She has only one function: to breed. If Offred refuses to enter into sexual servitude to repopulate a devastated world, she will be hanged. Yet even a repressive state cannot eradicate hope and desire. As she recalls her pre-revolution life in flashbacks, Offred must navigate through the terrifying landscape of torture and persecution in the present day, and between two men upon which her future hangs.
Masterfully conceived and executed, this haunting vision of the future places Margaret Atwood at the forefront of dystopian fiction.
3. The Forgotten
Military criminal investigator John Puller is drawn closer to home when his aunt is found dead in her house in Paradise, Florida. The local police have ruled the death as an accident, but Puller finds evidence to suggest that she may well have been murdered.
On the surface the town lives up to its name, but as Puller digs deeper he realises that this town and its inhabitants are more akin to Hell than Paradise. His belief is confirmed as evidence of strange and inexplicable events come to light. And when Puller learns the truth about what is happening in this once sleepy town, he knows that his discoveries will impact far wider than Paradise.
4. The Letter
Tina Craig longs to escape her violent husband. She works all the hours God sends to save up enough money to leave him, also volunteering in a charity shop to avoid her unhappy home. Whilst going through the pockets of a second-hand suit, she comes across an old letter, the envelope firmly sealed and unfranked. Tina opens the letter and reads it – a decision that will alter the course of her life for ever…
Billy Stirling knows he has been a fool, but hopes he can put things right. On 4th September 1939 he sits down to write the letter he hopes will change his future. It does – in more ways than he can ever imagine…
5. The One Plus One
One stressed out single mum + one lost stranger = one unexpected love story?
Jess Thomas has two jobs and two kids and never enough money. And when life knocks her down she does her best to bounce right back. But no one told her it’s okay to ask for help.
Ed Nicholls is the good guy gone bad. He had it all, then one stupid mistake cost him everything. Now he’ll do anything to make it right.
Ed doesn’t want to save anyone and Jess doesn’t want saving, but could Jess and Ed add up to something better together?
Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent – even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101. . .
1984 is George Orwell’s terrifying vision of a totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to a tyrannical regime.
John Douglas is a former FBI Special Agent and expert in criminal profiling and behavioural science. He made a career of looking evil in the eye – and understanding it. No wonder that he was the inspiration for Special Agent Jack Crawford in The Silence of the Lambs, as well as the film’s consultant on the reality of serial killers.
Douglas invented and established the practice of criminal profiling, and submerged himself in the world of serial killers in a quest to understand why they killed, and to help prevent more innocent lives from being ended by future killers. As his serial crime unit developed from a derided two-bit operation in a dingy officer to one of the FBI’s elite task forces, Douglas personally confronted the most terrible crimes of the age, including those of Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, Ted Bundy and the Atlanta child murderer.
With the fierce page-turning power of a bestselling novel, yet terrifyingly true, Mindhunter is a true crime classic.
8. Butcher’s Crossing
Will Andrews is no academic. He longs for wildness, freedom, hope and vigour. He leaves Harvard and sets out for the West to discover a new way of living.
In a small town called Butcher’s Crossing he meets a hunter with a story of a lost herd of buffalo in a remote Colorado valley, just waiting to be taken by a team of men brave and crazy enough to find them. Will makes up his mind to be one of those men, but the journey, the killing, harsh conditions and sheer hard luck will test his mind and body to their limits.
9. The Testament
More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.
Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets.
As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.
10. The Cockmaker’s Daughter
In the depths of a nineteenth-century winter, a little girl is abandoned in the narrow streets of London. Adopted by a mysterious stranger, she becomes in turn a thief, a friend, a muse, and a lover. Then, in the summer of 1862, shortly after her eighteenth birthday, she retreats with a group of artists to a beautiful house on a quiet bend of the Upper Thames . . . Tensions simmer and one hot afternoon a gun-shot rings out. A woman is killed, another disappears, and the truth of what happened slips through the cracks of time.
Over the next century and beyond, Birchwood Manor welcomes many newcomers but guards its secret closely – until another young woman is drawn to visit the house because of a family secret of her own . . .
As the mystery of The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton begins to unravel, we discover the stories of those who have passed through Birchwood Manor since that fateful day in 1862. Intricately layered and richly atmospheric, it shows that, sometimes, the only way forward is through the past.