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Top 5 summer reads of 2020

With everyone’s summer plans having changed so quickly this year, many of us are making more time to branch out and spend more time reading, or try something new to expand our personal libraries. To get you started, here’s five suggestions that either came out or have made a come back in 2020 to add to your to-read list:

Normal People by Salley Rooney

Even though this book came out in 2018, following the BBC Three series based on the novel there has been another massive surge of love for this best seller. The story follows the relationship between Connell and Marianne through secondary school to when they both start studying at Trinity College, Dublin. The novel features some beautifully and intelligently written characters, as well as some equally intelligent discussions, with class and gender discourses holding strong place. The book has won multiple awards, including Waterstone’s Book of the Year, the Women’s Prize for Fiction and ranking 25th on the Guardians list of the 100 Best Books of the 21st Century.

 

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If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha

This novel explores contemporary Seoul, South Korea. The story follows four women; Kyuri who works in an exclusive ‘room salon’ to entertain wealthy businessmen, her flatmate Miho an orphan who wins a competitive scholarship at an art school in New York City, their neighbour Wonna, who is pregnant with a child she and her husband aren’t sure they’ll be able to afford to raise, and Ara, who lives down the hall and is fully immersed in the world of K-pop idols. The novel’s preview reviews are glowing, including from Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians who called it ‘Remarkable’ and ‘devastatingly exquisite’.

 

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Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

Given we still can’t head out to the theatre, reading the novel that inspired one of the world’s most popular musicals could be the next best thing. Wicked follows the story of Elphaba form her childhood and time at school right up to showing her side of the story when Dorothy arrives in Oz. Going beyond the bright green wicked witch we grew up seeing on screen, Maguire expands out the character of Elphaba as an activist and revolutionary, with comments on class, racial and environmental politics woven into the fantastical setting of the world of Oz.

 

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Sharks in the Time of Saviours by Kawai Strong Washburn

Released in April 2020, this is the debut novel from Hawaiian born author Kawai Strong Washburn. The book is sent in Kailua-Kona in 1995, starting with when 7-year-old Nainona falls overboard a cruise ship on a rare family holiday. When he is safely returned to his mother in the jaws of a shark, his story is taking as marking the favour of the old Hawaiian gods, a belief that seems proven when he starts developing strange new abilities. At the core of a story filled with magic is family, how a family already struggling to make ends meet cope in the face of change and in the search for something more.

 

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The Ballad of Songbird and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The new book in The Hunger Games series came out in May 2020. This prequel novel follows a young President Snow before his rise to power as he comes to mentor Lucy Gray, the tribute from District 12, as she prepares for her participation in the 10th ever Hunger Games. This new instalment in the hunger games series was massively anticipated, receiving great reviews and with a film adaptation rumoured to already be in the works!

 

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Reading and letting yourself get lost in a good book is both a great way to pass time while we’re spending more time at home, and is just as great for your mind. Its a mindful activity and can help you be more creative and improve your focus. There are a lot of brilliant books set to come out this summer, and even though they might have a digital launch instead of in stores for now that shouldn’t stop any excitement for their release. Let us know if you read/have read any of the books on this list, and what you thought of them.