In an age of technology, social media and endless time-devouring apps, what better gift to give this festive period than a quality book to unplug from the world with? As this week is Book Week Scotland here is our top 7 best reads published in 2016 that will keep you and your beloved ones enthralled during the winter months through to the New Year.
Small Great Things (Jodi Picoult)
#1 New York Times bestselling author for Leaving Time Jodi Picoult, now presents an empathic novel which tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice and compassion through the story of Ruth Jefferson, an Afro American labour and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital. After being reassigned to a different patient at the request of white supremacist parents, the baby goes into cardiac distress. Ruth hesitates to perform CPR, and as a result is charged with a serious crime.
Before the Fall (Noah Hawley)
This book has made it to the Goodreads final round for Best Mystery & Thriller novel. Going from the tragedy of the disappearance of ten people in the ocean after a crash near New York, and their back stories, Before the Fall raises questions of fate, human nature, and the ties that bind people together.
The Summer Before the War (Helen Simonson)
Touching, profound and inspiring, The Summer Before the War is set at the end of the last calm summer at East Sussex before the First World War starts. The arrival of a free thinking and attractive Latin teacher at the coastal town of Rye, stirs up the small village. Meanwhile the unimaginable is coming and soon the limits of progress, as well as the old ways, will be tested as the people from Rye go to war.
A gentleman in Moscow (Amor Towles)
Modern Russian history will get you hooked quickly with this historical fiction written by Amor Towles. Count Alexander Rostov is the main protagonist, who is sentenced to home arrest for writing a poem. Rostov is confined to the corridors of Moscow’s Metropol Hotel, just across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov adjusts to the life inside the hotel, while the most tumultuous decades in Russia are happening outside. He explores the hotel, creates bonds with the staff and ends up having a meaningful relationship with the attractive and spirted young girl Nina. Reviewers agree that “this book more than fulfils the promise of Towle’s stylish debut, Rules of Civility (2011)”.
Homegoing (Yaa Gyasi)
This is the story of two half-sisters with very different fate: one is sold into slavery and the other married to a British slaver. Homegoing is a portrait of the memory of captivity, along three centuries of history and two continents. Gyasi was born in Ghana and immigrated to the United States and now has given voice to those suppressed people in a very captivating novel.
All the Birds in the Sky (Charlie Jane Anders)
All the Birds in the Sky is a fantasy novel about the end of the world, and the beginning of the future. Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead are childhood friends living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. The first is a genius engineer working to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing of global climate, and the latter has been educated in the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted. Let your imagination fly with this story of love, life and a dark future.
The Nest (Cynthia d’Aprix Sweeney)
Family and money are the mainstays of this warm and funny novel by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. Four siblings reach a breaking point when an accident endangers the family’s joint trust, “The Nest”. They need the money to pay daily american expenses such as a mortgage, university tuition fees or give back money they had borrowed. This is a story of how money affects relationships, what happens to human ambitions over the time and ties we share with the ones we love.