A big hello and thank you for reading! Passionate about literature, psychology, and life I launched Book Therapy as an alternative form of therapy using the power of literature. I train mental health professionals, librarians, teachers as well as readers on using bibliotherapy in their own work through our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course. We also curate reading lists/personalised book prescriptions for clients based on their individual needs. This is our signature personalised reading service.
The Best Books of 2022 So Far….
Posted by Bijal Shah on
Halfway through 2022, here are the bestselling books of the year so far across a variety of genres from Literary Fiction, True Crime, Business Books to Memoir and Romance. We'll be adding to this list for the final 40 books we loved this year so watch this space. Any others that should be here? Feel free to comment below.
Best Literature and Fiction Books of 2022 so far…
The Candy House (Literary Fiction) by Jennifer Egan
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan manages to dazzle us again with this deeply thoughtful novel about the meaning of memory and the search for privacy and authenticity in a world where technology is re-shaping everything we know and have known. Plus she brings back the very memorable characters from her previous book, A Visit from the Goon Squad.
Jennifer Egan takes us back to 2010, where 40-year-old ambitious tech entrepreneur Bix Bouton and dad of four stumbles upon an exciting idea where we can share memories with each other by ‘owning your own consciousness’. Whilst it’s been a hit with many people, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
And what Egan does in mesmerising detail — she takes us deep into the lives of these characters over decades using epistolary techniques, tweets and voices. There are what she calls “counters” who are tracking and taking advantage of desires and also “eluders” who intuitively appreciate what it means to take a bite of the Candy House.
A wake-up call reminding us that we may not be so far off from this type of world that is rapidly embracing virtual worlds through social media and gaming — and showcasing how the very human themes of connection, love, family, desire, and need for privacy remain important needs that take on new meaning in a world that is shape-shifting rapidly as a result of technology.
A fascinatingly inventive read.
My favourite quotes: “Friendship risks the end of friendship.”
“One horror of motherhood lies in the moments when she can see both the exquisiteness of her child and his utter inconsequence to others.”
“The need for personal glory is like cigarette addiction: a habit that feels life-sustaining even as it kills you.”
The School for Good Mothers (Literary Fiction) by Jessamine Chan
Drawing parallels with real life, this novel tells the tale of what happens to a young mother, Frida Liu, who with no support leaves her young daughter alone in her apartment, hoping to briefly step out and collect some work papers and return immediately. The government is alerted by a neighbour, leading to her enrolment in a government reform program which means that she may no longer have custody of her child.
Frida finds herself in the grips of an institution who monitor her every move — who watch and measure the devotion of her mother to their child. They set impossible standards for mothers — mothers who have to prove that they are worthy and capable of looking after their child. One wrong move landed her in this mess and she is desperate to get out now.
At home, she feels that she has failed — her husband lusts after his younger mistress, her parents feel that she is a disappointment and the one thing that she has, that made her feel adequate — her daughter — is now at risk of being taken away from her.
A satire of the pressures modern society put on mothers to be the perfect nurturing parents who are almost enslaved to their children, this is a witty and thought-provoking novel that’s much-needed in all its fictional-but-truth-poking form.
All the Lovers in the Night (Literary Fiction) by Mieko Kawakami
Fuyuko Irie, an introverted mid-thirty-something freelance copy editor, one day has an awakening. Having worked intensively night and day with limited contact and social interaction with the outside world, she realises how her life is passing her by — how she’s lost her spirit and charm and she embarks on a journey — to change this. However as well know change is difficult and the more she reaches out for it, the more she delves into her painful past and the more her behaviour in the present slips — promiscuity, detachment and internalised misogyny — this is an insightful and engaging, witty portrayal of the products of society we can so often evolve into.
Kawakami’s charm is derived from bringing to us conflicted characters whose narratives are not so different to ours and allowing us to see ourselves in them or simply experience moments that are so acutely similar to yearnings and pangs, pain or losses we experience on a day-to-day basis.
My favourite quotes: “The light at night is special because the overwhelming light of day has left us, and the remaining half draws on everything it has to keep the world around us bright.”
“As I passed below the haloes of the green and red traffic signals, I was taken by this strange view of the evening, the city streets full of people — people waiting, the people they were waiting for, people out to eat together, people going somewhere together, people heading home together. I allowed my thoughts to settle on the brightness filling their hearts and lungs, squinting as I walked along and counted all the players of this game I would never play.”
To Paradise (Literary Fiction) by Hanya Yanagihara
If you loved Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, then you’re in for another equally moving treat with her next novel, To Paradise. To Paradise brings together 3 stories set in America across 3 different centuries (1893, 1993 and 2093) exploring the lives of 3 very different protagonists as they strive for paradise, but instead are thrown into the complexities of life, love, family and loss.
With meticulously thought-out characters and gorgeous world-building we are all searching for something — for paradise and specifically love in paradise — we are taken back to New York in 1893 America where a young man, at the risk of estranging her family, rejects an eligible, wealthy suitor for a struggling, charismatic music teacher; to 1993 Manhattan where a young man in a relationship with an older partner desperately seeks to hide his childhood and his relationship with his father; and then we are taken to the future, to 2093, where in a world besieged with plagues a young lady struggles to work out where her husband has disappeared to amidst countless affairs. Essentially three novellas in one, the bittersweet nature of each of these stories, will make you fall head over heels. Plus, the rich, seductive language pulls you right into the heart of the story.
My favourite quotes: “The problem, though, with trying to be the ideal anything is that eventually the definition changes, and you realize that what you’d been pursuing all along was not a single truth but a set of expectations determined by context. You leave that context, and you leave behind those expectations, too, and then you’re nothing once again.”
“…but because he had enough of being someone’s legacy; he knew the fear of feeling inadequate, the burden of disappointing. He would never do it again; he would be free. What he wouldn’t know until he was much older was that no one was ever free, that to know someone and to love them was to assume the task of remembering them, even if that person was still living. No one could escape that duty, and as you aged, you grew to crave that responsibility even as you sometimes resented it, that knowledge that your life was inextricable from another’s, that a person marked their existence in part by their association with you.”
“It’s funny — of all the things I was scared of, I was never scared of the dark. In the dark, everyone was helpless, and, knowing that, that I was just like everyone else, no less, made me feel braver.”
Best True Crime Book of 2022 so far…
The Betrayal of Anne Frank (True Crime) by Rosemary Sullivan
The question that’s been haunting all our minds — who betrayed Anne Frank is finally resolved. Using a selection of recently discovered documents plus sophisticated technology, we now have some possible answers, whilst not definitive, this book is a deeply human read and explores a moral question: would we betray a family at the cost of their lives so that we can protect ours?
Her journal’s been read by more than thirty million people over the decades — yet it’s never been clear how they managed to remain in hiding for so long in the Amsterdam apartment during World War II, and who eventually tipped the Nazis that they were there. Thanks to Vincent Pankoke, a retired FBI agent and his team, after careful examination of never-been-seen-before documents, some of which included scouring over 10s of 1000s of documents and pages, comes to an intriguing resolution, giving us access to the lives of the suspects and also how Anne and her family actually lived in wartime Amsterdam. If you’re curious and intrigued by this story, be sure to pick this one up.
My favourite quote: “In attempting to determine how Adolf Hitler had taken control, the US Office of Strategic Services commissioned a report in 1943 that explained his strategy: “Never to admit a fault or wrong; never to accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time; blame that enemy for everything that goes wrong; take advantage of every opportunity to raise a political whirlwind.”8 Soon hyperbole, extremism, defamation, and slander become commonplace and acceptable vehicles of power.”
Best Business and Leadership Books of 2022 so far…
The End of the World is Just the Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalisation (Non-fiction) by Peter Zeihan
“2019 was the last great year for the world economy.” This is the pretext of the book and geopolitical strategist, Peter Zeihan carefully crafts a possible future of how the world is about to rapidly change. No longer are we going to enjoy rapid access to all the products and services we have once been so fortunate to have access to. For so long, we have been able to access pretty much every good or service we want — with the quality and rates of delivery only getting better and better. The reason for this has always been the relatively peaceful decades we have enjoyed since WWII, plus the mutual cooperation of governments across the world. Zeihan opines that this is largely due to the American Navy making security pacts across the globe and providing those countries with relatively inexperienced armies with military support and protection. This has led to the delivery of incredible trade, innovation and large-scale educational systems being set up across the planet. However, Zeihan makes the case that this is all about to unravel.
He believes that countries will no longer be able to rely on other countries for supplies of food, energy and multiple other services and goods. Instead, they will each have to develop their own food and energy systems plus their own armies — with the biggest threat facing them all: shrinking and ageing populations. A hyper-connected world is about to face disconnection and it could be an insightful but terrifying look at the new world. Read at your own risk.
My favourite quote: “A deglobalized world doesn’t simply have a different economic geography, it has thousands of different and separate geographies. Economically speaking, the whole was stronger for the inclusion of all its parts. It is where we have gotten our wealth and pace of improvement and speed. Now the parts will be weaker for their separation.”
The Metaverse (Non-fiction) by Matthew Ball
This was one book I’d been looking forward to for a long time — an insight into a new world of possibilities, as technology rapidly involved from Web 2 to Web 3. Leading theorist of the Metaverse, Matthew Ball gives us an impeccable insight into what the metaverse will be and how it will affect our lives.
It’s been a label thrown around lots recently but what do we mean by the “Metaverse”? It’s a new online interconnected network of 3D virtual worlds that will not only help us navigate the online world but also the physical one. For so long we have limited our ideas of the metaverse to the stuff of science fiction and fantasy or video games but now it’s rapidly on course to become part of our everyday lives and realities, underpinning everything through blockchains and NFTs: finance, healthcare, education, shopping, dating, leisure and retirement.
It will reshape society by immersing us fully into the Metaverse beyond the 2D experience we currently enjoy. Brace yourself for the future, it will be here before we know it, and this book gives us a helpful and valuable picture of what to expect.
Best Mystery & Thriller Books of 2022 so far…
The Paris Apartment (Mystery) by Lucy Foley
Always wanted to live in a Paris apartment and get to know its residents? Then this one’s for you — except each one has something to hide. Lucy Foley, the NYT-bestselling author of The Guest List brings this page-turning mystery.
The protagonist, Jess is looking for a fresh start after leaving her job and finding herself broke. And when her half-brother Ben didn’t make a fuss about her heading to his Paris apartment, she couldn’t be more excited. However, when she arrives at the unexpectedly lavish apartment her brother is nowhere to be seen. Uncertain as to how he afforded the apartment and where he might be, she embarks on a full-scale investigation — beginning with the neighbours, who are incredibly unforthcoming, branding them all suspects. There’s the socialite, the nice guy, the concierge, the alcoholic and a variety of other supporting characters; however, the concierge asks her to stop asking too many questions knowing the secrets of the others in a bid to warn her of the dangers that she might be at risk of.
Gripping, a great summer read to finish in one sitting — and where else better to be, than a virtual Paris? Plus if you like the build-up of anticipation, then this one’s for you.
Best Political Books of 2022 so far…
How the World Really Works (Non-fiction) by Vaclav Smil
Ever wondered how the world really works? Well you don’t have to any more. Despite the enormous amount of information at our fingertips, most of us still don’t know how the world really works.
Professor Vaclav Smil has written a range of fascinating books yet this one brings transparency and insight into so many operations of the world, from food and energy production to the environment, that are not understood or known to the everyday person.
The 4 pillars that truly drive the world are Ammonia, Plastics, Steel, and Concrete and the amount of labour, energy and resources required to mobile these 4 key resources is fascinating. Our lives are so tightly entwined to these, and they drive the carbon load contributing to the immense climate changes we face — but all hope is not lost. We can turn things around for the better and Smil proposes initiatives that may work long-term but anybody 40 and above will unlikely be around to see its impact or the decarbonised world that we are all eventually hoping for.
My favourite quotes: “Even though the supply of new renewables (wind, solar, new biofuels) rose impressively, about 50-fold, during the first 20 years of the 21st century, the world’s dependence on fossil carbon declined only marginally, from 87 percent to 85 percent…”
“Robert Ayres has repeatedly stressed in his writings the central notion of energy in all economies: “the economic system is essentially a system for extracting, processing and transforming energy as resources into energy embodied in products and services.” Simply put, energy is the only truly universal currency.”
Backed by data, this one is a compelling read for sure and perhaps, one of the most interesting books you’ll read this year.
Best Romance Book of 2022 so far…
Book Lovers (Romance) by Emily Henry
The protagonist, Nora Stephens loves books. In fact, her life is books and she has read them all. She is a literary agent after all. Then she goes on a sisters’ trip away to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina with her sister Libby. There she keeps having chance encounters with a book editor from the city, a chap called Charlie Lastra. Charlie is a bad-tempered editor and ever since Nora’s catastrophic, first meeting with him, she has avoided future meetings with him. However fate has different plans for them, and they find themselves thrown together in situation about situation in picturesque Sunshine Falls — and what’s at risk is their stories — stories they have carefully crafted about themselves.
Perfect for book lovers, who’ll totally resonate with many of the lines in there! Plus, you’ll feel as though the book is written for you.
My favourite quotes: “Is there anything better than iced coffee and a bookstore on a sunny day? I mean, aside from hot coffee and a bookstore on a rainy day.”
“A reminder that there are things in life so valuable that you must risk the pain of losing them for the joy of briefly having them.”
“Life in New York was like being in a giant bookstore: all these trillions of paths and possibilities drawing dreamers into the city’s beating heart, saying, I make no promises but I offer many doors.”
“Maybe it’s possible to have more than one home. Maybe it’s possible to belong in a hundred different ways to a hundred different people and places.”
Best Biography & Memoir Books of 2022 so far…
Hollywood Ending: Harvey Weinstein and the Culture of Silence (Biography) by Ken Auletta
This story began with an article published by Ken Auletta two decades ago for the New Yorker, who initially exposed Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s volatile and violent nature with everyone he worked with — from his employees to other producers and directors. However the story was way darker than that — his rise to a towering giant in Hollywood he began using his enormous power to appease his equally voracious sexual appetite. And then of course his disastrous fall to a sexual predator of the century, despite the repeated probes and denials into his sexual behaviour over the two decades.
Then along came along Ronan Farrow, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey — who with the help of Ken Auletta finally revealed the truth in his book, Catch and Kill. For Ken, this led to a series of unanswered questions: what was the origin of Weinstein’s inhumane behaviour? How come so many people let it run unchecked? How was he able to live a shadow life that was ignored as he amassed wealth and power employing hundreds of employees. Ken had to examine the Hollywood culture that enabled this and in this book, he looks at Weinstein and how he managed to hold such power and sway through his extraordinary talent as a film producer and director, his vicious and predatory personality and the gradual power and wealth that he built making movies that enjoyed great success, in the backdrop of the stories of the lives that he ruined.
Lost & Found (Memoir) by Kathryn Schulz
A beautiful bittersweet account of the things that we lose and the things we find — that take us by surprise — a sense of discovery and novelty. Examining the bittersweet nature of life, Kathryn Schulz in this deeply moving memoir talks about the loss of her dear father months after she met the love of her life. She discusses how loss and discovery shape us into who we are whether it’s a loss of a person or changes to our environment such as the pandemic and war to the discovery of new planets or new love. And how both our private lives and our communal lives are each shaped together, intertwined in wonder, joy, grief, suffering, and pain and how we must accept and embrace the co-existence of love and loss — one always at the risk of the other — and hold the emotions of gratitude and grief together.
Schulz’s magical writing enables us to explore the ordinariness of life with extraordinary tenderness, curiosity and a sense of meaning and hope. I could not help but highlight so many passages that I loved — you can find them below.
My favourite quotes: “So many losses routinely precede the final one now: loss of memory, mobility, autonomy, physical strength, intellectual aptitude, a longtime home, the kind of identity derived from vocation, whole habits of being, and perhaps above all a certain forward-tilting sense of self — the feeling that we are still becoming, that there are things left in this world we may yet do.”
“Grief, by contrast, is a private experience, unconstrained by ritual or time. Popular wisdom will tell you that it comes in stages — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance — and that may be true. But the Paleozoic era also came in stages — Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian — and it lasted two hundred and ninety million years.”
“What an astonishing thing it is to find someone. Loss may alter our sense of scale, reminding us that the world is overwhelmingly large while we are incredibly tiny. But finding does the same; the only difference is that it makes us marvel rather than despair.”
“But, like Anteros, it is largely overlooked in our culture, victim of the general consensus that happiness is pleasant but uninteresting.”
“I lost my father; my father lost everything. That is the absolute loss that his silence in the hospital foretold: the end of the mind, the end of the self, the end of being a part of all of this — the harbor, the city, the poetry, the world. “He became his admirers,” a different poet, W. H. Auden, wrote of Yeats when the latter died. Now we who loved my father are all that is left of him.”
The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness (Memoir) by Meghan O’ Rourke
An interesting premise but one that’s been afflicting millions of those who live in the West: autoimmune disease. Written with precision, insightful experience and urgency, Meghan O’Rourke brings her knowledge and expertise over the last 15 years based on her own painful account and experience of living with a variety of autoimmune conditions (including Hashimoto’s disease, endometriosis, Lyme disease, and hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome) and her countless interviews with doctors, patients and public health experts, to assist readers and anyone with an interest in these modern but debilitating conditions that fall under the label of ‘autoimmune conditions’; offering a sense of hope, new research and ideas on the treatment and management of this invisible condition. Her writing also channels an empathy that only readers of autoimmune conditions can appreciate — the difficulties in obtaining a diagnosis, of understanding what is going on with our bodies and the challenges of helping others close to you understand what exactly these conditions are — so much of it is invisible and therein lies two layers of issues to resolve: the pain and suffering brought about an illness you cannot physically see in the exterior but only feel in the interior. And secondly the anxiety of how this illness may progress or develop given its chronic and incurable nature. It will most certainly resonate with many autoimmune condition sufferers. /.,.Plus it’s written against the backdrop of Covid19 and the intensive research in infectious disease that has recently gripped the world as a result of Covid-19, she brings a new understanding to autoimmune disease and its origins.
My favourite quotes: “There is a loneliness to illness, a child’s desire to be pitied and seen. But it is precisely this recognition that is elusive. How can you explain and identify your condition if not one has any grasp of what it is you suffer from and the symptoms wax and wane? How do you describe a disease that’s not always there?”
“After all, a terrible anxiety attends chronic illness. Over time, it becomes difficult to untangle the suffering from symptoms like pain from the suffering inflicted by the anxiety over the possibility of more pain, and worse outcomes, in the future. This does not mean that the illness is in the mind; rather, the mind — that machine for making meaning — makes endless meanings of its new state, which may themselves influence the experience.”
“Only a few friends realized at the time how much physical suffering I was undergoing. We are bad at recognizing the suffering of others unless we are given clear-cut clues and evidence. And so invisible illnesses often go unacknowledged, while less serious conditions get attention.”
Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage (Memoir) by Heather Havrilesky
A brilliant account of a long-term marriage — a modern marriage and how to navigate the ups and downs that come with committing yourself to a person for life at each and every stage — the feelings and frustrations from the pre-marriage peak of exciting love to the gradual comfort of committed, domestic life that can often evoke feelings of boredom, frustration and conflict. Razor-sharp accuracy, wit and wisdom this book will not disappoint, whether you’re married, thinking about it, or a fulfilled singleton, the writing illuminates truths that we can all appreciate or laugh at. Heath Havrilesky is a brilliant writer and columnist of ‘Ask Polly’ whose advice and wisdom have helped thousands. She brings a similar writing style and years of collective wisdom on marriage to shed light on that niggling doubt, to help resolve an unresolved conflict or to put to rest an old itch.
Refreshingly honest, whatever the issue the book is sure to delight, enlighten and at times make you laugh out loud.
My favourite quotes: “I wrote this book to explore that tedium, along with everything else that marriage brings: the feeling of safety, the creeping darkness, the raw fear and suspense of growing older together, the tiny repeating irritations, the rushes of love, the satisfactions of companionship, the unexpected rage of recognizing that your partner will probably never change. And in writing this book, I discovered new layers within my marriage and myself, haunting and chaotic, wretched and unlovable.”
“That’s the irony of escaping urban elitism: the consistent mediocrity of the suburbs will make you into more of an elitist. You start to look down on the people around you for having the bad taste to live there, even though they are exactly like you. So you have to decide that you’re better than they are in order to avoid hating yourself. But you still hate yourself. You hated what the Nespresso owners at the private school reflected back at you, but you also hate what the woman buying the two-pound bag of shredded Mexican cheese reflects back at you. You’re Holden Caulfield now. You’re inferior and superior, like an immature prep school kid, like a self-hating hipster, like a sad suburban newbie on Nextdoor, decrying the dearth of quality pho in the neighborhood.”
Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of 2022 so far…
Sea of Tranquility (Science Fiction & Fantasy) by Emily St John Mandel
Best-selling author of Station Eleven brings us this beautiful story of time travel and art, love and survival. Turn back time to 1912 and we meet 18-year-old Edwin St. Andrew who leaves England to explore British Columbia. Astounded by the beauty of Canada’s natural landscapes, he explores the deep, dark forests and comes across the surprising sound of a violin.
Then in 2112, there’s writer Olive Llewelyn who lives in the second moon colony but is travelling earth for a book tour during a time when it is plagued by a pandemic. Her best-selling novel captures the very same moment when Edwin St. Andrew comes across the sounds of a violin. And then there’s detective Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, who is seeking to resolve an anomaly in time and his work brings him to uncover the lives of both Edwin St. Andrew and Olive Llewelyn,
The book explores the possibility of parallel lives and draws us into an obsession that we all have — what is the purpose of our existence? And is the world ending? And perhaps it’s always ending or perhaps do these questions even matter or do we always need to be the generation experiencing the heightened threat to earth in order to feel significant, important or that are lives are important? What is real and what is an illusion? A deeply thoughtful novel it brings with a sense of nostalgia, curiosity and new ways of looking at the world and the meaning of life. If you loved Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel, you’ll love this.
My favourite quotes: “My point is, there’s always something. I think, as a species, we have a desire to believe that we’re living at the climax of the story. It’s a kind of narcissism. We want to believe that we’re uniquely important, that we’re living at the end of history, that now, after all these millennia of false alarms, now is finally the worst that it’s ever been, that finally we have reached the end of the world.”
“Pandemics don’t approach like wars, with the distant thud of artillery growing louder every day and flashes of bombs on the horizon. They arrive in retrospect, essentially. It’s disorienting. The pandemic is far away and then it’s all around you with seemingly no intermediate step.”
“This is the strange lesson of living in a pandemic: life can be tranquil in the face of death.”
Daughter of the Moon Goddess (Science Fiction & Fantasy) by Sue Lynn Tan
Something a little different — this is a beautiful, Chinese mythological story based on the legend of the Chinese moon goddess.
The protagonist, Xingyin, lives in solitude and tranquillity on the moon with her mother where she grows up. Little does she know that she and her mother are in hiding and have been exiled to the moon. The Celestial Emporer exiled her mother after she stole his elixir of immortality. Xingyin is not new to magic and when a spell goes wrong, she has to leave her mother and her home. Lonely and afraid, Xingyin heads to the Celestial Kingdom, a spectacular land full of secrets. In a stroke of luck, she gets a chance to work in the Crown Prince’s service, further advancing her knowledge of magic but also her deep desire between her and the emperor’s son, and more importantly the possibility of freeing her mother from exile.
Perfect film fodder for Hollywood, this is a striking debut novel filled with conflict, love, loss, fantasy and fascinating characters that’s the perfect Summer read.
Best LGBTQIA Book of 2022 so far…
First Time for Everything (Young Adult) by Henry Fry
Protagonist and journalist Danny Scudd finds himself amongst a new community of friends in East London after a devastating break-up with his long-term partner Tobbs, who cheats on him. After moving in with his childhood best friend Jacob, he embarks on an incredible journey of self-discovery — does he truly understand his sexuality? Does he really know what he wants in a partner? Forced to re-examine every decision he has taken with the help of his therapist and newly found community, he’s forced to go inwards — to face all his insecurities that he’s avoided all his life.
Highly relatable for anyone who is navigating life, relationships and work this will leave you with lots of food for thought.
Best Young Adult Books of 2022 so far…
You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty (Young Adult) by Akwaeke Emezi
New York Times bestselling author Akwaeke Emezi brings us this dazzling story about a young, bisexual woman, Feyi Adekola, who is desperately trying to find joy whilst grieving and struggling to heal from the pain of loss. She wants to feel alive again. Five years ago, an accident killed her partner and since then she has retired herself to an artist’s studio and lives with her best friend Joy. Joy’s keen for Feyi to get back into the dating scene. Then a passionate affair at a party leads to an exciting summer romance on a luxurious tropical island in the home of a celebrity chef and an art curator who’d love to find her place as a major artist. Sounds perfect? Of course not — whilst it might seem like she’s nailed the perfect guy, Nasir — there’s a threat of someone else — the celebrity chef, Alim who is also Nasir’s father, a forbidden desire and fantasy. Can she risk everything for a fresh second chance at real love? Will she be able to welcome new love alongside the grief she is still processing? And give her future a chance? A novel is as much about finding one’s self as it is about finding love.
My favourite quotes: “And that’s something I’ve learned in the years since, that there are so many different types of love, so many ways someone can stay committed to you, stay in your life even if y’all aren’t together, you know?”
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And also our online course:
Bibliotherapy, Literature & Mental Health
You can also check out Book Therapy’s other free reading lists and A- Z of book prescriptions (covering both fiction and non-fiction). These suggest books based on your existing life situation (e.g. anxiety, job change, relationship heartache) as well as interests (e.g memoir, historical fiction, non-fiction, crime etc). There’s also a Children’s A — Z of Book Prescriptions. Feel free to check out the blog for more literary gems. There’s also a post on my personal story of how I entered the world of bibliotherapy and book curation.
In this role, I have had the opportunity to publish a book called The Happiness Mindset, and write various literary essays and pieces for newspapers and magazines. I have undertaken bibliotherapy workshops for The United Nations, various libraries in New York and corporate organisations in the UK and US. My book recommendations have featured in the Guardian, Marie Claire, NBC News, Asian Voice, New York Observer, Sydney Telegraph and various other publications. If you are a parent you might enjoy a podcast I’ve recorded with speech and language therapist Sunita Shah on Raising A Reader & Storyteller. And if you’d like to connect, email me at email@example.com or www.booktherapy.io.
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