best reading books

There’s nothing quite like curling up under the covers with a good book, but as busy parents, between working and school pick ups and keeping the kiddos entertained on the weekend, it’s not always easy to find the time to make that happen. And when you do, the last thing you want is to be stuck with a book that you can’t get into and wish you hadn’t wasted the time on.

That’s where we come in! We’ve got the Kiddo Community approved 12 books to read in 12 months, guaranteed page turners that you’re not going to want to put down.

So book in some time and get reading!

Where the Crawdads Sing

Delia Owens

This book topped The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2019 and 2020 for 30 non-consecutive weeks and for good reason; it’s a cracker.

For years, rumours of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she alls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand.

Where the Crawdads Sing is an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming of age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. The story delivers a heck of a powerful punch and is sculpted with quite a humble hand, a delicate wind that builds until ultimately it emphatically blows your mind.

Conversations with Friends

Sally Rooney

conversations with friends

Conversations with Friends is the 2017 debut novel of Irish author Sally Rooney. It’s a sharply intelligent story of two college students, centring around the strange, unexpected connection they forge with a married couple.

Ostensibly it’s a book about four people: two ex girlfriends and best friends, Frances and Bobbi, and a married couple Nick and Melissa. But before you get it into your head that it’s a book about cheating, it’s not. The book refuses to make it that simple. The six connections formed within this circle are all given both page time and weight within the narrative. On some level, it’s impossible to root for any one character over the others, because they all feel starkly real and as a reader you find yourself vacillating between liking none of them to loving them all.

This is a book made up of tiny moments of humanity vulnerability and tenderness that will ultimately stay with you for a long, long time.

We need to talk about Kevin

Lionel Shriver

we need to talk about kevin

This gripping international bestseller is about motherhood gone awry.

Eva never really wanted to be a mother, and certainly not the mother of an unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker and a much adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood and Keven’s horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband.

Famous for being a gritty, slightly disturbing read, We need to talk about Kevin is unsettling and harrowing and at times not an easy read, but well worth it.

A Man called Ove

Fredrik Backman

a man called ove

A Man called Ove is a 2012 novel by Fredrik Backman, a Swedish columnist, blogger and writer, and was on the New York Times Best Seller list for 42 weeks.

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. Behind the cranky exterior there is, of course, a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, so begins a comical and heartwarming tale of unexpected friendship.

Me Before You

Jojo Moyes

me before you

A love story that captured over 20 million hearts, Me Before You, is the story of Louisa Clark, an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life.

Taking a badly needed job, Louisa begins working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will had always lived a huge life – big deals, extreme sports, world wide travel – and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody and bossy but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common – a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks what do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

Pants on Fire

Maggie Alderson

pants on fire

A wonderfully witty, entertaining debut novel in the same vein as Marian Keyes. This is a light and clever woman’s romp, set around loveable heroine Georgiana Abbot, a magazine editor for London who comes to Sydney to work as deputy editor of a girlie magazine, after her heart is broken.

At first things seem promising as she is swept up in a whirl of parties, dancing and debauchery. But Australian men are starting to look all too familiar.

Frivolous, filthy and funny, just the escapism we all need in fun chick lit!

The Help

Kathryn Stockett

the help

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty two year old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy until Skeeter has a ring on her finger.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobodies business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

In pitch perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own, forever changes a town, and the way women, mothers, daughters, caregivers and friends view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humour and home.

The Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini

the kite runner

The Kite Runner is the first novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini, telling the story of Amir, a young boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons – their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

A sweeping story of family, love and friendship, told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one of a kind classic.

The Book Thief

Markus Zusak

the book thief

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

Big Little Lies

Liane Moriarty

big little lies

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbours secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realises how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive. One of those books that you just can’t put down.

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine

Gail Honeyman

eleanor oliphant

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living. Ultimately, it is Raymond’s big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. If she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.

Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realises the only way to survive is to open your heart.

The Rosie Project

Graeme Simsion

the rosie project

An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realisation that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.

 

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