As you'll probably know from my various social media platforms that I'm currently in Spain on holiday (well deserved for sure!) and so writing blog posts isn't exactly priority on my list. 

The creator of The Hels Project got in touch with me a while back saying that she was interested in sharing her favourite books in a guest blog post whilst I was away. Plus, her blog full of parenting, fitness and travel has been one of my favourite reads this year. I myself haven't read none of these books before so the post itself was really insightful for me and added more books to the ever-growing to read list.

I absolutely love reading, there is no bigger escape for me than diving into a different world, be it fantasy, sci-fi, history or someone else’s life story. I studied English for my degree, and I loved the diverse range of books I got to read, and I really enjoyed analysing them (I even got to write a whole essay on feminism in Harry Potter!) but once the essays were done and the dissertation complete, I was so excited to get back to reading for pleasure.

I’ve put together a selection of my five favourite books that I hope you’ll find the time to read…

I Am Pilgrim (Terry Hayes)

If you love crime thrillers, this is one of the best I’ve ever read. I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes is one of those books that I just HAD to get to the end of. From the second I picked it up, I was absolutely hooked. Released in July 2013, I Am Pilgrim is an espionage thriller. The central character is a former spy, brought up by a wealthy American couple, who embarks on a secret mission known only to a handful of people, under the code name Pilgrim. It’s a pretty huge read, but it was one of those books that, as soon as I’d started, I made the time for.

The French Lieutenant’s Woman (John Fowles)

This is my favourite book. It was written in 1969 and is a post modern, historical fiction. Set in the mid-19th century, the ‘Woman’ of the title is Sarah Woodruff, a disgraced woman living in Lyme Regis who catches the attention of Charles Smithson, an engaged man. She is a strong, independent female, and the book draws a lot of attention to gender issues. The narrator intervenes repeatedly in the story, drawing the reader to a number of important 19th century texts and ideas, such as the works of Charles Darwin, Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens. If you love post modernist stories, a feminist approach and intelligent storytelling, I’d highly recommend this book.

The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt)

This was one of those books that suddenly it seemed everyone was reading, and it didn’t disappoint. The protagonist in this coming-of-age story is Theo Decker, a young boy living in New York whose life is suddenly turned upside-down by tragedy. Drawn into a world of art and crime, I don’t want to give too much away, but the story is beautifully woven together, the characters are incredibly vivid and it all comes back to a small Dutch painting, The Goldfinch.

The Circle (Dave Eggers)

Social media lovers should definitely give The Circle a read. It’s been adapted into a film starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks. The Circle is a novel based on a world where everyone is connected and everything is being watched. Initially appearing perfect, heading towards what is portrayed as a utopian society, The Circle itself is a social media corporation, and has swallowed sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google – people now use Zing, which is basically an impressive, state-of-the-art social media site. Every photo, every video, every comment is stored in the Cloud and deleting is not an option.

My Brilliant Friend (Elena Ferrante)

Poignant, intense and beautifully written, My Brilliant Friend is written by Italian author Elena Ferrante. First published in 2012, it has been translated by Ann Goldstein.
Set in a neighbourhood in Naples in the 1950s, My Brilliant Friend is one of the most accurate portrayals of friendship I’ve ever read. While the prose itself is quite simple and easy to read, the descriptions of the characters, the neighbourhood and the city are beautifully rich and I was gripped from the moment I started reading. I was so pleased when I realised the novel was the first in a series of four books, I’ve already started on the second!

I started reading it on holiday which was perfect as I had the time sit and properly enjoy it, it’s definitely one of those novels you can lose track of time with because you just need to know what’s going to happen.

Have you read any of these books?
Make sure you give The Hels Project a read, thanks to Hels for guest posting on Carpe Diem Emmie.

thanks for reading,