Our fiction-loving librarians on Auahatanga | Level 4 | Tūranga have made their selection, and these are their choices for best fiction for 2019, and you're sure to find just the right thing for your summertime reading! A Christchurch City Libraries list.
Dan's pick: A literary folk-horror thriller, an intriguing alternate history, and a marvel of storytelling gathering momentum at a rapid speed as the pages fly by. What if early in our region's European history, a mountain was discovered in the Southern Ocean that dwarfs Everest in every way, and it's elemental presence has been felt by a select few? McGahan was one of Australia’s most gifted and inventive authors and sadly, he died from cancer in early 2019. Released posthumously, this is his 11th and final contribution to the world of literature and is truly a masterpiece of fiction.
Pru's pick: A fast paced, gripping work of speculative fiction, presented as a series of government reports and emails. Offers a realistic (and alarming) glimpse at the devastating series of events which could transpire should relations between the United States of America and North Korea break down completely. If you’re interested in modern politics, and thinking about 'what-if' scenarios, you’ll probably find this a difficult one to put down.
Cait's pick: A darkly humorous one-of-a-kind novel which tells the story of Korede, a Nigerian nurse whose dream of a simple life keeps getting interrupted by her sister's annoying tendency to murder her boyfriends. Korede always helps her sister clean up, but things get complicated when Ayoola starts to date Korede's co-worker and secret love interest. Braithwaite does an amazing job of mixing thriller and satire, and the result is a compelling and somehow realistic take on modern relationships, social media and family obligations.
Rob's pick: This beautifully drawn and engagingly written graphic novel by New Zealand comic book artist Ross Murray tells a story of acute social anxiety and the impacts it has on one person’s life. It made me think about the fact that so many people we meet in our everyday lives, who appear on the surface to be happy and content, may in fact be concealing self-destructive internal monologues that must be very hard to live with. Graphic novels seem particularly well suited to communicating feelings like this in ways that make it possible to empathise, and this book does a brilliant job of demonstrating that.
Fee's pick: Read Aunt Lydia's side of the story, along with two young women from different sides of the border... As well as co-winning the 2019 Booker Prize with Bernadine Evaristo, Margaret Atwood has won in two categories for the Good Reads' Best Reads this year; in Fiction for The Testaments, and in Graphic Novels for The Handmaid's Tale. Read Aunt Lydia's side of the story, along with two young women from different sides of the border..
Susan's pick - (in Dutch): Renate Dorrestein wordt als gastschrijver uitgenodigd door de stad Almere. Ze is nog niet gesetteld en de wereld vergaat op Almere na. Renate blijft samen met een aantal Almeerders over. Een Apocalyptische roman in een uniek humoristische setting met een stevige serieuze ondertoon. Beklemmend maar heel goed bedacht, met fantastisch taalgebruik. Ik kon het niet wegleggen en heb me voorgenomen om Almere eens uitgebreid te gaan bezoeken.
Renee's pick: A fantastic piece of romantic historical-fantasy that pulls you right in. In a world where books are met with fear and stigma, Emmett Farmer is torn from his father's farm to become a binder's apprentice. Only this is not normal book binding; here people have their memories and secrets bound into books, to be stored away forever or sold by unscrupulous binders. All goes relatively smoothly until Emmett discovers a book in his teacher's storehouse with his own name on it. What memories has Emmett lost? And at what cost?
Rosie's pick: A family saga following siblings Danny and Maeve through the dark fairy tale of their past, with the Dutch House forever on the periphery of their minds. The house becomes a metaphor for love, loss and forgiveness in this poignant and tender exploration of the meaning of home and family. At once engaging, I could not put this down.
Hayley's pick (in Tagalog): Katulad ng ibang nobela ni Lualhati Bautista na ang nilalaman ay ang mga pangyayari noong Martial Law. Kumpara sa Dekada ’70, ang mga eksena dito ay mas brutal at mas “graphic”. Ipinakita dito ang mga torture na sinapit ng mga aktibista mula sa mga sundalo kung sila ay napaghinalaang mga myembro ng New People’s Army. Ipinakita din dito kung paano naghiwa-hiwalay ang mga pamilya dulot ng Martial Law. Isa na namang powerful na mula kay Ms Bautista at isa sa mga must reads lalo na sa panahon ngayon.
Clare's pick: This novel was one of this year's delights, brimming with a bewitching blend of darkness, myth, and a young woman's coming-of-age. In a rural village in Jazz Age Mexico, a headstrong young woman named Casiopea Tun exists in a sort of servitude in the household of her tyrannical grandfather. After she frees an ancient dark lord of the Mayan underworld from imprisonment in her grandfather's safe, Casiopea is drawn into a tumultuous revenge-quest as the god's assistant. Rife with dualities and self-discovery, Gods of Jade and Shadow is fast-paced tale of light and dark, magic and myth - with moments of humour, romance, and the underworld horrors of Xibalba converging in a novel that really is 2019 supreme.
Sofia's pick: The palate cleanse I needed in between all the horror and feminist reads I read this year. Oozing Great Gatsby vibes and frivolity, this book is set in the summer at Cape Cod, a coming of age story about a woman who is an assistant to a well known author. Lush settings, great literary quotes and heavenly characters. Read this if you are in the mood for a nice escapist story.
We've got more Best of 2019 picks, including non-fiction, film, and kids and young adult titles.