I've been thinking recently about sharing the books I have read and enjoyed with you. I would recommend this small collection to everyone. I've enjoyed each of them for very different reasons, so let me tell you why...
Toast by Nigel Slater
Toast is a reflective look back at Nigel Slater's childhood, where each memory is told through a particular food. It focuses on family life and their most loved and most loathed foods of the time. Each chapter is named after a specific food and my favourite is Arctic Roll, his "special dessert...quite the achievement for something I always thought tasted like frozen carpet". His charming witty humour shines through and it will surely bring back memories of your own childhood, particularly if you grew up in the north, like me! A warming, tongue in cheek read, to learn more about one of Britain's most loved cooks.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
A recent favourite of mine, it was an impulse purchase on Amazon and I'm so happy I did buy it as I finished it within two days. Based on two characters, Eleanor being a new girl in town and Park is a lonely boy who thinks he's invisible. It's a book about two young people falling in love for the first time, how complicated it can be yet still make it work, but I also fell in love with the book and how the author wrote. I couldn't put it down, with me even walking down the street and reading at the same time. I've already noted a few books by Rowell to buy to read in Bali.
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman
When there's a quote by Lena Dunham on the front cover of a book talking about how much she loves a book, you know it's a great book. I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, but my word it's brilliant. Not for the younger generation, it tells a tale of Nathaniel Piven who is a New York writer, a rising star and gains a lot of attention from desirable women. It's a glimpse into a man's mind about how they think about women, sex and love. Many questions are answered and it's another book you just can't put down.
Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey
After winning many awards, Elizabeth Is Missing became a best seller and the book of the moment for a while. A story of an elderly lady, Maud, who is very forgetful, but she's positive that her friend, Elizabeth, is missing. After finding a note in her pocket telling her so, the book follows Maud's journey to figuring out what is going on. A very touching story and one which will stay with you for a while, it's unlike anything I've ever read before. The Sunday Times describes it as 'No conventional crime novel but a compelling work that crosses literary genres'.
Saving Grace by Jane Green
With the tag line 'A perfect stranger wants her perfect life', it's a tale of Grace Chapman and her best-selling author husband Ted. Before hiring a new assistant, they are living in a picture-perfect farmhouse on the Hudson River in New York. But post hiring a new assistant, things starting to go wrong but Grace isn't the crazy one. A few things can be taken away from the book, one being that you have your suspicions about someone then you're probably right and don't trust people too easily. Although the main reason why I picked up the book was because the cover jumped out at me and it was too pretty to walk away from, I never realised that Jane Green is a best-selling author who also wrote The Other Woman and many more.
Us by David Nicholls
I'm a sucker for a David Nicholls book, they always capture my imagination and always need to finish them as soon as possible. The main reason why it took me so long to read this is because it's in hardback as when I put it onto my Christmas list, it wasn't available in paperback yet. This book was no exception, I fell in love with it and was taken on a rollercoaster of emotions by the characters. After falling deeply in love, when they were younger, Douglas expected that him and his wife, Connie, would rediscover themselves together, rather than having his wife announce that she's going to leave once their son leaves for university. The book follows them on a trip around Europe for the summer, whether they are together or not, Douglas wants to make this work.