Zomorodi, Manoush (2017) Bored and Brilliant: How spacing out can unlock your most productive and creative self. St Martin’s Press. Bored and Brilliant builds on a 2015 experiment where listeners of a popular podcast and radio show unplugged their devices to get bored and jump-start their creativity. Zomprodi explores the concept of boredom and original thinking – the benefits of “mind wandering” which can be undertaken without totally abandoning technology. She advocates moving ‘doing nothing’ to the top of your to do list and provides a series of challenges to help you rebalance your life. Got bored reading this book, and it certainly did nothing to raise my creativity! Unplug yourself and see what happens. Rating: 7/10.
Sullivan, Matthew (2017) Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. Heinemann. Lydia keeps herself hidden amongst her beloved books at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. One night Joey Molina, Lydia’s friend and one of the store’s lost and lonely regulars, hangs himself amongst the shelves. Lydia inherits his worldly goods only to find defaced books amongst his possessions that reveal his disturbed psyche. As she untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide her own long-buried memories resurface to solve a cold case. Complex bookish crime novel with eccentric characters. Rating: 8/10.
Hood, Ann (2017) Morningstar: Growing up with books. Norton. Ann Hood explores the transformative power of literature in this coming of age memoir. Growing up in a Rhode Island mill town Hood devours books to channel her curiosity, imagination, and aspiration. She showcases the beloved novels that enabled her to find her place in the world, from learning how to dream with Herman Wouk’s Marjorie Morningstar to broadening her worldview with Boris Pasternak’s Dr Zhivago. Morningstar is a love letter on the power of books to instruct and change lives. A graceful and charming journey. Rating: 8.5/10.
Marshall, Laura (2017) Friend Request. Sphere. The fateful night of Louise’s school leavers’ party continues to haunt her. Maria Weston has been missing, presumed dead, for over twenty-five years so when out of the blue Louise gets a Facebook friend request from Maria she is forced to discover the truth about really happened at the party. Obsessive fast-paced on-trend psychological thriller. Exciting. Rating: 8.5/10.
Rouda, Kaira (2017) Best Day Ever. Graydon. Paul Strom has promised his wife that their romantic weekend at the lake house will be the “best day ever”. Paul and Mia lead a perfect life, but as they drive out of the city towards the countryside the tension rises – how perfect is their marriage? We see their world from narrator Paul’s perspective but as the story unravels the creeping rot is exposed and it begins to spin out of control. Darkly warped and creepy page-turner, with psychotic tendencies. Brilliant must read for domestic-noir fans. Rating: 9/10.
Miranda, Megan (2017) The Perfect Stranger. Simon & Schuster. Leah has lost her job and destroyed her reputation as a journalist. With her old roommate Emmy she relocates to a small Pennsylvanian town and begins work as a teacher. But not long after she arrives a women who looks like Leah is left for dead and Emmy goes missing. As Leah begins her search for Emmy she becomes unsure of who she can trust and soon her credibility is at stake because it appears that Emmy does not exist! How can Leah uncover the truth when she is in hiding? Fast-paced and atmospheric psychological thriller. Rating: 8.5/10.
McRaven, William H (2017) Make Your Bed: Little Things that can Change Your Life …and Maybe the World. Grand Central. This little motivational bestseller reinforces the fact that if you take care of the little things bigger things are possible. In making your bed you accomplish the first task of the day. This action encourages you to take on another task, then another and so on. McRaven a retired Four-Star Admiral, now Chancellor of the University of Texas, expands on a graduation speech and promotes ten fundamental life lessons, insisting we need ongoing encouragement to stop being a “sugar cookie” and keep moving forward. Rating: 8.5/10.
Zevin, Gabrielle (2017) Young Jane Young. Algonquin Books. Aviva Grossman made a big mistake as a young congressional intern – she had an affair with her popular congressman boss. She is “slut-shamed” which forces her to change her name and move to a remote Maine town. Here she tries to be smarter about her life, takes on a new career and raises a daughter, until she decides to run for public office. Then the mistake from her past catches up with her and she is once again marked with a Scarlet A. A redemptive novel, inspired by the Monica Lewinsky ordeal, involving mothers, daughters, and wives, and double-standards. Honest, smart and entertaining. Rating: 8.5/10.