It’s been a wonderful year for literature throughout 2015. There’s much to choose from in all kinds of genres. So, if you are looking for a great gift for a loved one, or just want some heart-warming and fascinating books for the New Year, we’ve listed our top 5 picks for a great January read.
Over the Top and Back: Tom Jones Autobiography
A riveting insight into the Welsh pop star whose career has spanned decades. There’s a lot to love about Tom Jones. The voice, the hits and those dance moves are synonymous with the Great British popular music scene. But what about the man himself? Over the Top and Back is everything that you need to know about the Welsh working class legend - and in his own words. It’s an interesting look at the life and times of a pop icon. And, dare we say it, the perfect read for fans of the man himself, or those interested in recalling those wonderful memories of the 60’s and 70’s!
Sinatra: Behind The Legend
More tales about Ol’ Blue Eyes that show he was always meant to be a star. Is there anyone that doesn’t like at least one Frank Sinatra song? Even in these modern times, there are reference points to Sinatra in almost every modern crooner, from Michael Bublé to Michael Ball. The interesting thing is, the end of 2015 would have seen Sinatra celebrate his 100th birthday. So, this revision of an earlier biography from J Randy Taraborrelli is a timely reminder of the wonderful talents of the Rat Packer. There are some fascinating tales about the entirety of Sinatra’s life, all taken from first-hand sources. If you or a loved one has any interest at all in Frank Sinatra, then this is a perfect page-turner for your collection.
Go Set a Watchman
The much anticipated sequel to one of the world’s most famous novels. Is there anyone out there who didn’t read To Kill A Mockingbird as part of their school syllabus? It’s one of the most popular books of all time, and Go Set a Watchman is author Harper Lee’s long-awaited sequel. It’s a fantastic story of different moral viewpoints and opinions, but at its heart it’s a serious look at the divisiveness of the civil rights movement. Old characters make reappearances - the story focuses on an adult Scout and her return to Maycomb after spending many years in New York. If you have read the original Lee novel, then this is a must. Even if you haven’t, you should try it out if you have any interest at all in American history - and the many issues that are still relevant today.
The Girl on the Train
A creepy thriller that makes an impression. For those of you with more interest in thrillers, look no further than The Girl on the Train. It’s a stunning debut novel penned by author Paula Hawkins that won the Goodreads Choice Award for 2015. If you love in-depth character studies and murder mysteries, then you should give it a go. The story focuses on several narrators with the main character, Rachel, struggling with life. She spends much of it toing and froing on a train, going to a job that doesn’t exist. It’s hard to go into too much detail without plot spoiling but Rachel’s journey - and those of the secondary characters - takes many twists and turns. Dark forces are at play, and the novel climaxes with a surprising ending. While The Girl on the Train won’t be for those faint of heart, it’s a psychological page-turner that brings something new to this well-worn genre.
The Story of the Lost Child
The final addition to a Neapolitan quadrilogy that chronicles a complex relationship between two women. If you have missed the previous three books by ‘Elena Ferrante’- a secret identity for an unknown Italian author - then now is the time to catch up. The series charts the lives and relationships of two childhood friends: Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo Carracci. The fourth and final volume is set when both women are in middle age, both back in the neighbourhood of their youth. The sisterly relationship between the two is described wonderfully, as are the tragic events that surround them. It’s an interesting study of friendship, womanhood, and the balance of power that exists in all relationships. It’s a read for those of you who love darker tales, and it has enough twists and turns to appeal to the mystery fans amongst you, too. But, if you do decide to embark on reading The Story of the Lost Child, we’d recommend reading the first 3 books too! It’s a truly absorbing series.