Books To Get You Talking

This month’s books are perfect for discussing at your book club, dissecting over dinner and chatting about on social media.

The Silence of the Girls – Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls is a vivid retelling of Homer’s Iliad. However, this time the focus is on the minor characters, namely the women taken as ‘spoils of war’. Queen Briseis is taken as a sex slave by Achilles when he destroys her city. Through Briseis we hear of the other female slaves in the encampment – women who are forced to serve the men that killed their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons.

This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

From 100-hour weeks to moral conundrums and emergency operations, the life of a junior doctor is far from easy. Adam Kay reveals all through six years of diary entries. Surprisingly, This is Going to Hurt is an incredibly funny book, particularly the numerous footnotes explaining hospital lingo. However, Kay also gives us an insight into the stark reality of life on the frontline of the NHS.

Once Upon a River – Diane Setterfield

A man stumbles into The Swan Inn carrying the body of what appears to be a dead girl in his arms. A few hours later, the little girl stirs. But who is she? Part adult fairy tale, part folk tale, Once Upon a River celebrates the art of storytelling and weaves numerous stories into one rich tapestry. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Codename Villanelle – Luke Jennings

If you loved the BBC’s Killing Eve, don’t miss the book it was based on. Villanelle is a cold-blooded assassin who you just can’t help but root for. Eve is the woman tasked with stopping her. The storyline is quite different from that of the TV series and has less dark humour, but there’s still plenty of suspense to keep you reading.

Roar – Cecelia Ahern

Ahern’s latest book is a collection of satirical short stories. Each focuses on an unnamed female protagonist and most are a literal interpretation of a stereotype or saying. The trophy wife’s partner builds her a shelf to sit on, where she can be admired by his friends and family. The woman who feels invisible to society starts to slowly disappear. There are plenty of themes to digest and discuss and a lot of enjoyment to be had in each tale.

Sunny Side Up – Susan Calman

Comedian and Strictly star Susan Calman is on a mission to encourage ‘joy, kindness and community’ with her latest book. There are anecdotes from her own life and examples of random acts of kindness that have been shared by her fans. Sunny Side Up is full of warmth, positivity and (of course) plenty of humour.