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Books: five to read this month

What better way to embrace a new season that with a new slew of books? Surrey author Nikki Smith offers up her five all-time favourites.

What better way to embrace a new season that with a new slew of books? Surrey author Nikki Smith offers up her five all-time favourites.

The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

CS Lewis

I read this as a child and was obsessed with the idea of being able to find a magical country in the back of a wardrobe. I literally dragged my brother into any wardrobe I could find to see if we could manage it. There was something so appealing about children having the power normally given to adults and the themes of innocence and sacrifice are universally relatable.

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’m not sure whether this novel is so attractive because we’ve been in lockdown and so the idea of attending one of Jay Gatsby’s decadent parties is, quite frankly, heaven. But the portrayal of the decline of the American Dream in the 1920’s is fascinating and love that iconic last line, ‘So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.’

The Secret History

Donna Tartt

This novel follows a clique of smart, attractive students at an elite university in 1980’s Vermont, and an outsider who finds himself forced to conceal a dark secret. I remember being absolutely gripped by the word Tartt created when I first read it – an incredible literary thriller and one of the few books I enjoy re-reading.

Gone Girl

Gillian Flynn

I find it too difficult to choose between this novel, and one Flynn’s other books; Sharp Objects. The characters of Amy Dunne and Camille Preaker are so sharply drawn they seem to live off the page and Flynn’s twists set a high bar for psychological suspense thrillers.

The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret Atwood

Despite this dystopian novel being published in 1985, it still feels just as relevant today. Atwood’s story focuses on the subjugated women in the patriarchal society of Gilead and her novel is a horrifying glimpse into a possible future. It was made into a TV series recently starring Elisabeth Moss which was also brilliant.

Nikki Smith studied English Literature at Birmingham University, before pursuing a career in finance. Following a ‘now or never’ moment, she applied for a Curtis Brown Creative course where she started writing her debut novel All In Her Head. She lives near Guildford with her family and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. Her second novel, Look What You Made Me Do is out in hardback in this month.

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