Each month we pick four books relating to our monthly theme that we think you should read. Here’s this month’s suggested reading, all linking – in one way or another – to this month’s theme of HOME.
How I Live Now by Meg Rostoff
Daisy is sent across the Atlantic to stay with her aunt and her cousins in the English countryside for a summer. She’s aghast at leaving the US for a bumbling family and a country that is so foreign to her. But when it becomes under threat, from terrorism and war, and their idyllic farm life is invaded, Daisy and her cousins embed themselves even further in their landscape, living in barns, amongst animals, to free themselves from the tyranny of occupation. It’s a novel about finding solace in your home, and a connection with the environment you live in, even when all else challenges it.
‘Things Happen and once they start happening you pretty much just have to hold on for dear life and see where they drop you when they stop.’
Home is Burning by Dan Marshall
loss; support; parents
At the age of 25, Dan Marshall leaves the life he has set up in LA and returns home to look after his sick mother and dying father, along with his four siblings. Told with an irreverent humour and many, many swear words, it is the saddest book you’ll read this year, and the funniest. This is a story of returning home when the home you knew doesn’t exist in the same way anymore.
‘The whole dying-parents mess interrupted that path. I was pulled from what I thought was the real world into a situation that made the real world seem fake.’
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
family; marriage; relationships
The house that the Whitshanks live in has been the family home since anyone can remember, with numberless summers spent on the wooden porch. As Abby and Red Whitshank get older, things are about to change for their children and grandchildren. Sprawling decades, reaching back and then back again into one family’s history, Anne Tyler explores the relationships upon which families are built. It’s fascinating, utterly readable, and so entirely real. If you’ve never read Anne Tyler before, it’s the perfect place to start.
‘We’re young for such a small fraction of our lives, and yet our youth seems to stretch on forever. Then we’re old for years and years, but time flies by fastest then. So it all comes out equal in the end.’
The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon
immigration; London; displacement
Set in 1950s post-war Britain, The Lonely Londoners tells the experience of immigrants from the West Indies arriving in London – a strange, foggy and unwelcoming city. Heralded as one of the great twentieth-century London novels, this should be at the top of the reading pile of anyone who has recently moved to London. Mixing humour with tragedy, it’s full of quotes you want to read aloud, as well as a sadness you won’t soon forget.
‘It was a summer night: laughter fell softly: it was the sort of night that if you wasn’t making love to a woman you feel like you was the only person in the world like that.’