One of favourite things about Bookstagram is the community feel. That you can literally start a conversation with people from across the world about a book you’re both reading or have read. It’s been an absolute life-saver, especially during those furlough days last summer.
So to celebrate the fantastic Bookstagram community and support we give each other, I’ve asked 12 of my favourite Bookstagrammers to pick a book to feature on my 2021 TBR! Thankfully, they picked some of the books I’ve been wanting to read for quite a while now and there’s a great range of different books to keep me occupied in what looks like yet another year of lockdowns.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
Georgia Reads Books: The Mountains Sing
Georgia is one of my faves purely because she has two dachshunds and a gorgeous cat called Max. She also lives in Brighton and is always making me so jealous of being by the sea every day. She has a great taste in book (obviously) and she picked The Mountains Sing for me!
The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Tran family, set against the backdrop of the Viet Nam War. Tran Dieu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Noi, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Ho Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that will tear not just her beloved country but her family apart.
Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Viet Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope. This is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyen Phan Que Mai’s first novel in English.
Eva’s Book Corner: My Best Friend’s Exorcism
I’d say that Eva is the Queen of Bookstagram! Her pictures are fantastic and always bring a smile to my face. She actually once had a Bookstagram photoshoot whilst jumping out of plane… She absolutely LOVES horror and dark thrillers and when she was reading My Best Friend’s Exorcism it looked fantastic, so I was unbelievably happy when she picked this one for me. I also have Grady Hendrix’s The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires which is supposed to be just as good!
Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, when they bonded over a shared love of E.T., roller-skating parties, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act….different. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behaviour start to pile up, Abby realises there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favourite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not about to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
Double Booked: Twisted
Me and Jess found each other through a mutual friend and couldn’t believe how many people we both knew when we started talking. She’s a fellow Mancunian (which is always a great thing) and we have VERY similar reading tastes too. When she picked a Steve Cavanagh book for me, I was so unbelievably happy because Fifty Fifty was INCREDIBLE and Twisted looks just as good.
BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:
1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for you next.
After you’ve read this book, you’ll know: the truth is far more twisted…
Molly’s Book Club: Rodham
Molly is a beautiful soul inside and out. She reads some incredible books and is definitely the go-to Bookstagrammer if you’re searching for some feminist, women-empowered book recommendations. When she read Rodham earlier last year, I remember being so intrigued so couldn’t wait to read this one.
In the real world, Hillary followed Bill back to Arkansas, and he proposed several times; although she said no more than once, as we all know, she eventually accepted and became Hillary Clinton.
But in Curtis Sittenfeld’s powerfully imagined tour-de-force of fiction, Hillary takes a different road. Feeling doubt about the prospective marriage, she endures their devastating breakup and leaves Arkansas. Over the next four decades, she blazes her own trail—one that unfolds in public as well as in private, that involves crossing paths again (and again) with Bill Clinton, that raises questions about the tradeoffs all of us must make in building a life.
Rodham was my January book and if you’d like to read my review, you can find it here!
Read With Ro: Long Way Down
Ronah is a little Scottish beauty! She is always reading and sharing her knowledge and insight into being a University student in the midst of a pandemic. She has incredible taste in books and I was so intrigued when she picked this graphic novel of me. I’ve never read a graphic novel before and the synopsis sounds SO GOOD…
Will’s brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator?
Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.
Veronkia’s Volumes & The Bibliomaniacxo: The Vanishing Half
Veronika and Charley are two of my favourite Bookstagrammers that have been there ever since I created my account. We are always sharing new insight into what we’ve learnt about Bookstagram tips etc and their pictures are truly stunning!
I am also a rep for Charley’s new business The Biblio Book Shop and by using my discount code STUCKINTHEBOOK1 you can get 10% off any order.
Anyway, I’ve wanted to read The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett for a while now so when both of these fabulous ladies picked this book for me, I was OVER THE MOON!
Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing.
The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?
A Bookish Scientist: Thirteen
Jen is probably one of the most loveliest and cleverest people I think I’ve ever met. We actually used to work together back in our Cath Kidston days! She has the best taste in books and her Science Saturdays were the highlights of my lockdown weekends. She picked Steve Cavanagh’s other book, Th1rt3en, I was thrilled (pardon the pun haha). This book, out of all of Steve’s book, is the one I’ve been waiting to read for some time now!
The serial killer isn’t on trial. He’s on the jury…
They were Hollywood’s hottest power couple. They had the world at their feet. Now one of them is dead and Hollywood star Robert Solomon is charged with the brutal murder of his beautiful wife. This is the celebrity murder trial of the century and the defence want one man on their team: con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn.
All the evidence points to Robert’s guilt, but as the trial begins a series of sinister incidents in the court room start to raise doubts in Eddie’s mind. What if there’s more than one actor in the courtroom?
Words, Wine and Wit Book Club: City of Girls
Jemma runs her own book club and her Bookstagram feed is truly beautiful. She takes beautiful Bookstagram pictures and creates gorgeous templates for anyone to us. She is also just the loveliest person too and I was so delighted when she picked City of Girls because I’ve been wanting to read this one for so long. It looks so boujie and I feel like it matches Jemma so much haha!
In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves – and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.
Now ninety-five years old and telling her story at last, Vivian recalls how the events of those years altered the course of her life – and the gusto and autonomy with which she approached it.
Dear Katherine Anne: The Hate U Give
Katherine is a the definition of entrepreneur. She is currently studying for her Masters AND also runs her very successful bookish shop From Katherine Anne which features some incredible pins, bookmarks and stationary all made from her own designs.
Katherine picked The Hate U Give for me and told me it was one of her favourite books of 2020 so I have high hopes for this one…
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
Drafted Dreams: The Thursday Murder Club
Lucy is one of my closest friends and this Welsh beauty was also my housemate at University. We have very similar tastes in books, so when she was reading The Thursday Murder Club and she loved it, I was hoping she’d pick this one for me!
In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves The Thursday Murder Club. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.
When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late?
Read Em and Weep: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Me and Em are constantly loving and reacting to each other’s Bookstagram stories and Em’s pictures/aesthetic is honestly beautiful. When I asked her to recommend a book for me, she couldn’t stress enough how much she was surprised by A Court of Thorns and Roses so now I’m ridiculously excited to delve into this one.
Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
Book Club and Chill: Cold Sunflowers
The support I get from Samantha is unlike no other. I held my first ever Instagram Live with Samantha where we had a Q&A on our favourite books and hobbies. She runs her own book club too and some of the books picked are so thought-provoking and gripping.
Cold Sunflowers is one of Samantha’s favourite books so I couldn’t believe my luck when she picked this one for me!
It’s 1972. Raymond Mann is seventeen. He is fearful of life and can’t get off buses. He says his prayers every night and spends too much time in his room.
He meets Ernest Gardiner, a gentleman in his seventies who’s become tired of living and misses the days of chivalry and honour. Together they discover a love of sunflowers and stars, and help each other learn to love the world.
Ernest recounts his experiences of 1917 war-torn France where he served as a photographer in the trenches … of his first love, Mira, and how his life was saved by his friend Bill, a hardened soldier.
But all is not as it seems, and there is one more secret that will change Raymond’s life for ever.
So that’s my 2021 TBR and I have to say, my favourite Bookstagrammers have done VERY well with their picks. Let’s see what this year has to offer!
What’s on your 2021 TBR?