So many books, so little time… Who hasn’t heard this before? We, the digital booksellers of 24symbols, are set on helping you make the best of your time and presenting you those books that everybody is talking about. However, this is more than just a bestseller list. We also want to point out hidden gems that have caught our special attention. Check out the best books of the moment and find your next read. We made sure to include something for everyone’s taste:
Evie of the Deepthorn
The title of this peculiar novel has a different meaning for each of its three protagonists. For Kent, “Evie of the Deepthorn” is a cult movie, for Sarah a novel she wrote as a teenager and for Reza a poem by the deceased poet Kent Adler. What links them all is a deep emotional bond with the movie/novel/poem and maybe even more than that. The storyline seems to be straightforward as each character narrates his part one after the other and their lives start to overlap. Yet, things do not quite add up, or maybe we should rather say that time is a flexible concept in Babyn’s puzzling debut novel. In the end the reader will have to decide which interpretation of time to believe, the fictitious or the realistic one. A wonderful read that will surprise you with its experimental joy.
A Mother’s Secret
A feel-good novel about two strong women who manage an emotional crisis and grow with the experience. Verity and Nathan are happily married but when a pregnant young woman shows up at their house, claiming that she is Nathan’s daughter, Verity’s seemingly perfect world is being challenged. Instead of giving in to grief or anger, she takes charge of the situation and tries to find a solution for everybody. She accepts Saskia as part of the family but is she being too trustworthy? Minna Howard beautifully describes family relations and how difficult times can be overcome. A nice read to distract from the current Corona crisis.
A powerful novel about gender, sexuality and power relations that will have you turn page after page without even realizing it. The main story is simple but fascinating: Three girls on the verge of adulthood have found a way to turn into boys. Thrilled by the experience, Kim, Momo and Bella start living as girls by day and boys by night. As boys, the three girls are treated differently by their peers and especially Kim is intrigued by her boyhood and the opportunities it offers. Suddenly her world changes from being objectified to being on the dominant side. At this point the novel gains depth and starts raising more complex questions about identity that will have you reconsider your own perspective on gender and identity.
Jessica Schiefauer is one of Sweden’s best-known authors for young adult fiction but don’t be fooled: GIRLS LOST is a must-read for teenagers and adults alike. Thanks to Saskia Vogel (translator and acclaimed author of PERMISSION) the poetic and empathetic voice of this novel has found its way into the English version.
Home is Nearby
A wonderful debut novel that transports you right to the tumultuous beginning of the Polish crisis in 1981. The main focus is on Ania, who moves to the city to study art and finds a new life, falls in love and experiences a creative awakening. Through her eyes you get to witness the political events of the era that lead to food scarcity and repression (of art and society alike) and serve as important background to the story. When Ania and her friends rebel against the authorities with their art, Ania starts wondering whether art can be a way to change the world. A captivating mix of art, history and love!
Set in the near future, HAPPY FAMILY revolves around an augmented reality game of the same name and shows how it affects the lives of different people, including its creator Tom Hannah. One of his biggest fans is Germaine, an art critic with a troubled childhood who is only able to express her feelings through HAPPY FAMILY. She plans to write her next book on Tom but after his mother’s death he moved to Spain and has shut himself off from the world. Germaine follows his trail and is forced to confront her own (made-up) reality while she is searching for the elusive artist. Wonderfully sarcastic and poetic, you will either love it or hate it but this book will not leave you indifferent.
With BORROWED, Chan Ho-Kei raised worldwide attention, so his follow-up novel was much awaited for and rightly so: The high-tech thriller SECOND SISTER is a ripsnorter! Not only will the plot mystify and surprise you, you will get a real sense of the dazzling Hong Kong lifestyle, be it the cyberworld or everyday situations at the local noodle-shop. Ho-Kei does a great job in mixing different characters and worlds and while the storyline is quickly summed up (digital know-nothing Nga-Yee is trying to find out who pushed her teenage sister to suicide with the help of hacker N), the underlying themes are much more complex, ranging from cyberbullying and sexual harassment to corporate greed and revenge. A page-turner that will have you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
The Good Killer
Can there be “good killers”? Sean kills a gunman on rampage and thus turns into a national hero. What sounds like glory is the worst case scenario for Sean and Molly who were following strict rules to keep their profiles low and lead a calm but happy life in Houston.
From the beginning Dolan makes it clear that Sean is haunted by dark memories. As his heroic deed puts him in the center of national interest, he needs to escape once again enemies of the past. What follows is a nerve-racking cat and mouse game with a final showdown that will make you hold your breath. With several different narrators, Dolan keeps the story at a fast pace and allows you to connect with all main characters, showing that the boundaries between good and evil are often blurry. This is a captivating thriller whose ending will surly please you.
The Bermondsey Bookshop
When a book by bestselling author Mary Gibson hits our shelves, you know you are in for a treat. Once again she has found a particularly interesting setting for her story and as booklovers we cannot recommend this novel enough.
The Bermondsey Bookshop was a real establishment which existed from 1921 to 1930 and was founded by Ethel Gutman. She wanted “to bring books and the love of books into Bermondsey” and make them available for the working class. Once our heroine Kate comes across this peculiar place, a whole different world opens for her. Filled with Dickensian hardship, this novel does not ignore the class divide of those times or the unjust relation of men and women and thus transports you right into the tough everyday life of a working girl in the early 1920s.
Game of Numbers
This is the fresh and dynamic story of a young Mexican who faces the consequences of a credit which he took to pay for his brother’s university studies; a story that allows us to enjoy the warmth of family and friendship when in need. From the very first page, the reader is sucked into a spinning stream of thought which dances around the obligations of debt. The constant calculations of the protagonist’s red numbers are intertwined with a personal search as he balances his fraternal responsibility with his own interests in life. A heartwarming read that shows us to never give up!
Needless to say, this is a tough read, especially baring in mind that we are talking about real events, real lives that were affected by this perfidious crime. Nevertheless, we feel the need to recommend TOXIC LOVE not only because Tomás Guillén, as can be expected from a prize-winning, investigative journalist, gives us a well researched and detailed account of the happenings; but also because he recreates the suffocating feeling of helplessness while racing to search for answers. With the help of scientific, medical and forensic evidence, the murderer is eventually convicted but the story does not end there. First published in 1995, this new edition of Tomás Guillén’s gripping crime story features additional chapters that reveal the sad aftermath of the Ohama poisoning.
This collection of Nordic folklore takes us right to the home of Santa and his elves. With stories about humility, magic and love, this is a great read for the holiday season with curious stories for those who are looking for alternatives to Grimm’s fairytales. Let yourself surprise by the ancient wonders from the North!
In the second part of her Compton Magna Series, bestselling author Fiona Walker continues to be as entertaining and heartfelt as we know her to be. It has been a year since Ronnie returned to her hometown but wounds take long to heal in the countryside and when she hires a new horsemen for her family’s stud farm, the newcomer is met with skepticism and awe alike. This is country life at its best, including complex family relations, wrongdoing and forgiving, hidden secrets from the past and of course: Horses.
The novel can be read as a standalone but if you are in for the full experience we do recommend you to start with THE COUNTRY SET to better understand the history of the characters. With its 600 pages, this is the perfect read for the upcoming holidays and yes, there is a third book in the pipeline…
The novel starts with a bombshell in the form of a letter that Mala left for her son Ronojoy to read after her death. In the letter she reveals that Ronojoy’s brother and he do not share the same father and asks him to decide whether to keep or disclose this secret. While this revelation explains many events of the past, it also pushes Ronojoy to further investigate his family’s history.
The story develops quickly and describes how one incident may affect many people in different ways and change their course of life dramatically. It is also a careful exploration of the mind, emotional heritage and family. Mukerjee is interested in the way our mind works to protect us from our darkest memories. In this sense, the dark circles under Ronojoys eyes reflect the dark circle his family is trying to break free from. Will he and his brother be able to defy the pattern?
The latest novel of the Jack Taylor series by the master of Irish Noir Ken Bruen is as gripping and shocking as it can get. Former member of the Irish Garda PI Jack Taylor has clearly seen better days. He may come off as a hard-boiled, egocentric brute who has lost interest in any type of companionship but it only takes a few pages to warm up to his rough edge (to put it mildly); especially as he is loyal and tries to protect the ones he loves. This time, a gang of psychos sets him up as the main suspect in a series of cruel murders and, as if this was not enough, is planning to kill him. An engrossing crime story that takes you through the streets of Galway while showering you with Irish sarcasm, cultural references and interspersed poetry.
Say hi to Major Ellie, a US pilot whose plane crashes in the desert and who finds shelter in the refugee camp he should have bombed. This awkward beginning already hints at the dark cynicism that sets the tone for RED BIRDS, a sharp-witted, sarcastic criticism of US military interventions in the Middle East.
Told from alternating perspectives, the observations are utterly comic until the brutal truth hits you and the laughter gets stuck in your throat. Add a good dose of absurdity and you’ll find yourself right in the middle of a post war zone where the missing are haunting the living and no-one can be sure to trust in what they see. Thankfully there’s a philosophical dog whose analysis of the situation puts things into perspective.
The Lives of Others
A wonderful collection of portraits that shows how colorful the world is. When Panayides started this project for the Cypris Mail newspaper, the idea was to present a different celebrity each week. However, it turned out that it’s not the famous peoples’ stories that are most interesting, quite the contrary. This mosaic of (extra-)ordinary lives allows us to meet all kinds of people ranging from an aging circus clown over a street sweeper to a survivor of the Turkish Invasion (highly recommended). As all people are tied to Cyprus in one way or another, the collection also serves as a portrait of the Greek island with all its problems and joys.
This debut novel by D.M. Siciliano is not for the faint hearted. A peculiar opening, INSIDE tells the story of a haunted house that bears a century-old secret. Nobody seems to know what exactly happened but everybody knows not to go near the house or ever talk about its gruesome past. Until one day a group of five teenagers decides to enter the house. Things get surreal when the one-room house suddenly reveals doors, stairs, basements and hidden corridors that give way to familiar places. Suddenly the five friends find themselves trapped and hunted down by a horrible shadow creature. Will they ever be able to escape? Find out if you dare but be careful not to lose yourself in this mad horror labyrinth. A perfect read for anybody who likes getting freaked out!
At the Jerusalem
Mrs Gadny has just arrived at “The Jerusalem”, a home for the elderly, but she is not happy with her new domicile and retrieves more and more to her memories. As she clearly prefers her past to the present, she starts paying more attention to the voices in her head than to the real people that try to engross her in conversation. Bailey shows an extraordinary sensibility in portraying the strains of aging and presenting the comic side of the Jerusalem’s monotony without mocking it. First published in 1967 at the age of thirty, this new edition features an insightful introduction by the Irish author Colm Tóibín which you might want to leave for the end.
For those who like modern poetry, i.e. #instapoetry, this is a perfect glimpse behind the scenes. Meet Verity, a 19-year-old introverted girl that suddenly becomes a social media star with her poetry. What might sound like a dream come true turns out to be quite a challenge. Being an international bestselling poet, Lang Leav knows what she is talking about when describing the dark side of celebrity and fandom. After all, Verity has to deal with the same problems of finding her place in the world as any other young adult. A heartfelt novel about love, friendship and emotional complications that will have you cheering for Verity from page one.
At the heart of this novel is a strange painting which stirs up the lives of three different people when an obsessed art collector decides to have it stolen. The thief, the curator of the gallery where the painting was exposed and the man whose job it is to recover the stolen piece are all struggling with their own demons and need to overcome their past. Just as the painting was created in an act of reclamation, each protagonist has to reclaim his life and take charge again. A novel about hope and finding a place where you belong.
The JEWEL is Neil Hegarty’s second novel and we look forward to reading more of this upcoming author.
Ithaca Forever – Penelope Speaks
We all know the story of Odysseus but this retelling of the Greek Epic puts the whole narrative into a new perspective. ITHACA FOREVER concentrates on the last part of the Odyssey, the reunion of Odysseus and his wife Penelope. Whereas Homer’s version leaves many questions unanswered, Malerba explores Penelope’s perspective and presents us her version of the happenings. Even though she recognizes Odysseus the moment she sets eyes on him (in the original it is not quite clear at what point she identifies him as her husband), she pretends not to know who he is in order to take revenge for his mistrust of her. What follows is a hilarious culmination of events which presents Penelope as a strong and reflected woman. A highly entertaining drama that can be read by itself or, for those who want to refresh their memories and make the most of Malerba’s intertextual references, in combination with the original.
The Barney Conroy Trilogy
If you are looking for a good laugh, we have the right book for you! Meet Barney Conroy, the slightly nerdy but charming hero of Guy Sigley’s Comedy Trilogy. Barney is the sum of all the confusion, cluelessness and humiliation you can imagine. There is a little bit of us all in this socially awkward guy who is just trying to get order into his life. This is what makes the book so great, you not only literally laugh out loud while reading but also cannot help to identify yourself with this hilarious hero. It is hard not to warm up to Barney, so be prepared for a new best friend and for a loooong session of non-stop reading because you just cannot get enough of his mishaps.
The River Twice
An associate professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University, Kathleen Graber is well known in professional circles. Her previous poetry collection THE ETERNAL CITY talked about our relation to objects and technology and came in as finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In THE RIVER TWICE, Graber once again takes up big topics and contemplates the fluid character of life, opening the book with the popular reference to Heraclitus: “You cannot step twice into the same river, for other waters are continually flowing on.” Maybe this is more relevant than ever, considering the fast pace of today’s world.
Inspired by the news that surround us, Graber takes us on a mind-spinning journey as we race along with her quick-witted thoughts that effortlessly move from one image to another. Even if you are not into poetry, do have a look at this collection and you will be swept away by the universal validity of her poems.
The Bad Place
A promising new crime series has found its way into our bookshelf! Meet DI Sasha Dawson who is confronted with an abduction case that seems to be linked to the very first case of her career when six children were held hostage for two weeks. Five of the children escaped and meet every year to remember their friend who died during the night of the flight. No-one ever speaks about what happened but it is clear that there is an underlying truth waiting to be told. Will Sasha uncover the secret in time to save the new missing girl?
M.K. Hill is an experienced crime writer who skillfully jumps back and forth from past to present, thus slowly unravelling the horrendous story of the original kidnapping without giving away too much information. You will be be kept in the dark until the very end, so prepare for a grand finale.
Every day we receive thousands of new books and we carefully select the ones that we believe will interest you most. Our recipe? A great book should give food for thought, it should move, educate and fascinate the reader. A book is a door to another world, and it is while reading how we discover different perspectives and widen our horizon. A book can change a person but be no fool, because just as Edmund Wilson said, “no two persons ever read the same book.” That is another beauty of books. There is always room for interpretation, imagination and discussion. That is why we invite you to comment the books you read, recommend them to your friends and discuss them with fellow digital readers on 24symbols.
Whether you like thrillers, romance, contemporary novels or any other genre, there is always time for a good book! And what’s better than reading? Reading without limits! So if haven’t yet signed up as a Premium Member on 24symbols, make sure to sign up now to read as much as you want.
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