With all this rainy weather going on it just makes sense to rug up by the heater with a good book so here are our book recommendations.

These recommendations are essentially just things I have read recently that I have found to be quite good or enjoyable. Not all of these are recent releases and some you may have read before and keep in mind that I don’t have time to read every book released.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

This won’t be for everyone as it’s a massive fantasy book so it is a bit of a time sink and if you aren’t into dragons, this might not be for you. However, if this is your thing, you might have already heard about it.

Whatever the case may be, this is a fantastic book and a breath of fresh air for the fantasy genre. It isn’t the first to achieve what it has but it does do it well. Essentially, Shannon has created LGBT characters without their sexual orientation being a big deal or a central aspect of the plot. No one has an identity crisis, no one has to face the vitriol of bigots, some of the characters just happen to be gay. She does the same with race too.

The novel discusses different relationships, gender, sexual orientation all set on the backdrop of the impending apocalyptic return of a godlike dragon, The Nameless One. If that sounds interesting to you then pick this up!

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

I was late to the party on this one but like they always say, better late than never. So that’s why I’m recommending this to you all because even if you weren’t swept up in the initial hype, this book is worth getting into.

The story follows two young girls in Naples as they grow up in post-war Italy and everything that entails. It’s heartbreaking, it’s funny, and it’s simply fascinating. The way Ferrante is able to reveal to readers a whole way of life so specific to its time and place is reason enough to start reading.

The prose is beautifully written and the translation from Italian seems to be superb – at least I couldn’t notice too much lost but then again, I can’t read Italian so what do I know?

The War of the Roses by Dan Jones

Not fiction this time, but a little bit of history. Okay well popular history but that tends to make for better reading anyway. If you were ever curious about the historical inspiration for Westeros in Game of Thrones, then check out this book as it is where George RR Martin got a lot of his inspiration.

The book details the War of the Roses that ravaged England during the 15th century. It has stories of betrayal, violence, and love just like any good novel. It such a chaotic period of history that you can’t really put the book down because you really aren’t sure what’s going to happen next. How many times does that happen in history?

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor

This novel is absolutely fantastic. It’s also a brilliant celebration and exploration of the LGBT community, warts and all. The premise is fantastic. For reasons never concretely explained, the protagonist Paul can change his gender at will. On top of that, it’s a coming-of-age story where Paul can theoretically get into a relationship with anyone. Shenanigans and heartbreak ensue.

The premise alone generates questions about identity and sexual politics that you can’t help but find fascinating.

Be warned, this book can be very sexually explicit so if that’s not what you’re into then maybe avoid this one.  

Any Human Heart by William Boyd

Any Human Heart follows the fictional life of Mountstuart presented as his own personal journals kept over the course of his entire life. He encounters almost all of the big points in history during the 20th century and it’s all so intimate and real that I felt that he was a real historical figure. I’m embarrassed to admit that I did actually look him up when I first started as I wasn’t sure if it was fiction. That’s because everything is so well researched and fleshed out that it honestly feels real. For example, when Mountstuart meets Virginia Woolf at a certain date, it’s because in history she was there at that location at that date. It’s the little things.

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