It’s safe to say 2020 gave us plenty of time to – finally – smash through our book collection. So, to celebrate World Book Day, some of the Oliver’s Travels team have created a reading list for the year ahead – whether you take them on holiday, or use it as a basis to keep up the newly-found bookworm within. These books got us through lockdown, so they’re really worth a read.
If you’re a fan of physical books but also want to be more eco-conscious, World of Books is a great second-hand bookshop – or of course, there’s the trusty Kindle.
Here are our top 10 books to read in 2021.
This is a beautiful collection of stories following the lives of 12 black women living across the UK. The interconnecting storylines told over a number of decades are diverse and complex, woven into a tapestry of paths crossing where you’d least expect it to. Read this book. You will love it!
Evie, Senior Wedding & Events Consultant
I would recommend The Other Hand by Chris Cleave. It is a highly captivating and thought-provoking dual narrative story about a Nigerian asylum-seeker and a British magazine editor – beautifully written, very moving and eye opening.
Emma Gastinel, Project Manager
‘Conversations with Friends’ which was written by ‘Normal People’ author, Sally Rooney. It’s a drama based around two uni students in Ireland that form a bizarre connection with a married couple and things start to unfurl. It’s a bit dark and definitely not a romance novel but that makes it all the more interesting! I literally couldn’t put it down. There’s also a new BBC adaption being filmed this year so that’s one to look out for!
Genni, Marketing & Content Executive
The Beekeeper of Aleppo is super emotional and amazing, and I just loved it. I couldn’t stop reading. It’s about hope and loss, and war and love, and everything life is about. Thank God most people will never experience what these refugees have, but the story is beautiful and you just hope for the best for them. It’s amazing.
A brilliantly funny and moving depiction of an extended family, warts-and-all. The characters are beautifully vivid; I felt so immersed in their lives and woes that I was bereft when the book finished.
Marina, SEO & Content Manager
The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami by Radhanath Swami
Journey Home is a superb reading experience of a Monk. I recommend also reading The Journey Within, which is the follow-up and looks at the inner self.
This book was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, and follows a 16-year-old girl as she juggles the disparity of living in a poor neighbourhood with going to high-school in a posh area. She becomes the only witness to the police shooting of her unarmed best friend, and this book follows the fallout from this and her struggle for justice. It’s a powerful and eye-opening book, and I couldn’t put it down. Not long after reading it I found they’d made a film of the book too – also well worth a watch!
Rachael, Senior Content Executive
A true story about a couple emigrating to New Zealand in 1973 and they actually decided to sail there. A whale hit their boat hard so it sank, and they had to use a life raft to survive – that’s where they stayed for about 4 months! The book is about their adventure of survival as a couple and their interaction with sea life in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. How they connected and interacted with ‘their aquatic neighbours’ and the true life experience of living so close to them for 4 months. They were finally rescued by a ship that spotted them, but the memories and experience was unforgettable, even though it could have been tragic. It’s basically about making the best of a bad situation and living with these extraordinary memories. What started as a negative ended very positive.
Nuala, Spain Product Team
I wanted to read an owner’s account of buying a property in France and found this hilarious book that follows the ups and downs of the buying process and subsequent integration into French village life of Tony Hawks. He is a British comedian and writer that manages to perfectly capture what it must be like to buy a house in France, on what is practically an impulse purchase, and the lengths he must go to in order to get the approval of the local community. He even decides to build his own swimming pool, and brings his builder over from the UK to live with him while the work is done – as you can imagine, this sets tongues a-wagging!
David, France Product Team
I read this book at least once or twice a year, and it was needed more than ever during the madness of 2020! It helps me ‘reset’ when needed. It helps me quieten my mind and deal with things I cannot control whilst helping me to ‘come back to myself’ and find my spiritual and mental balance, and inner joy.
Claudia, France Product Manager
We hope this list of books to read in 2021 has given you a good start for bulking up your book collection. Have you read any books recently you feel like other people should definitely add to their list? Tell us in the comments below. Or have a read of our other Oliver’s Book Club posts.