While they’re great for as a backdrop for my virtual calls, I felt I should probably made use of my books a bit more. Here are seven random titles that I recently got lost in.
Out – Natsuo Kirino
Summary: Natsuo Kirino’s novel tells a story of random violence in the staid Tokyo suburbs, as a young mother who works a night shift making boxed lunches brutally strangles her deadbeat husband and then seeks the help of her co-workers to dispose of the body and cover up her crime.
Tea’s Thoughts: While the story isn’t amazingly original, what made this book great was the incredible descriptions of the setting, the interesting take on female friendship and the way it didn’t shy away from a realistic depiction of violence.
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
Summary: Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard. But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?
Tea’s Thoughts: After binging Bridgerton, I felt going back to the era where it all began. I love this one for several reasons, but I keep coming back to it because it’s less formulaic than some of the other classics written by women in that period. Everyone may have soft spot for Mr Darcy, but Mr Rochester will always be the one for me.
Remainder – Tom McCarthy
Summary: A man is severely injured in a mysterious accident, receives an outrageous sum in legal compensation, and has no idea what to do with it. One night, an ordinary sight sets off a series of bizarre visions he can’t quite place. How he goes about bringing his visions to life–and what happens afterward–makes for one of the most riveting, complex, and unusual novels in recent memory.
Tea’s Thoughts: This is a very unique story, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the weird surreal plot just makes me want to keep on turning the page. Amazingly, it’s actually set in my local neighbourhood, even referencing a street I regularly walk down. And even more strangely, I worked on and was an extra on the film adaptation starring Tom Sturrige.
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories – H. P. Lovecraft
Summary: This collection spans Lovecraft’s literary career, and charts the development of his ‘cosmicist’ philosophy; the belief that behind the veil of our blinkered everyday lives lies another reality, too terrible for the human mind to comprehend.
Tea’s Thoughts: These stories that are written in the early 20-century was a bit intimidating to start off with, due to the old-fashioned language, but once you get into it’s perfect for a dark, stormy winter nights.
American Gods – Neil Gaiman
Summary: Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.
Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.
Tea’s Thoughts: The magical thing about this book is that it takes the familiar – the Gods we all know – and throws them into a strange mix that you never expect.
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Summary: It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City- and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.
Tea’s Thoughts: Amid some rather heavy going list, this palette cleanser that took me to New York was everything I needed from a book. While I love the characters, setting and soundtrack, the star of the story for me has to be the Yugo car.
Starting Point: 1979-1996 – Hayao Miyazaki
Summary: A hefty compilation of essays (both pictorial and prose), notes, concept sketches and interviews by (and with) Hayao Miyazaki. Arguably the most respected animation director in the world, Miyazaki is the genius behind “Howl’s Moving Castle,” Princess Mononoke” and the Academy Award-winning film, “Spirited Away.
Tea’s Thoughts: An insightful look at the creator of some of my favourite animated films, taking in history, politics and crashing a car in the middle of a field. It really gave me a new understanding of everything from Kiki to Totoro and Chihiro, and really emphasised how people’s life experience can influence their art.
Do you have any recent (re)discoveries?