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2021 Reads

5 Books | by Audree Ho

Books I’ve read in 2021

The Giver

The Giver

Books

Now a major motion picture, Lois Lowry's powerful and provocative Newbery Medal-winning tale has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The story focuses on twelve-year-old Jonas who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world full of contentment and conformity. But when he's given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory, he begins to understand the dark secrets that form the foundation of his fragile community. This movie tie-in edition features cover art from the movie and exclusive Q&A with cast members, including Taylor Swift, Brenton Thwaites and Cameron Monaghan.

The Binding

The Binding

Books

NATIONAL BESTSELLERA NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS' CHOICEProclaimed as “truly spellbinding,” a “great fable” that “functions as transporting romance” by the Guardian, the runaway #1 international bestseller "A rich, gothic entertainment that explores what books have trapped inside them and reminds us of the power of storytelling. Spellbinding.” — TRACY CHEVALIERImagine you could erase grief.Imagine you could remove pain.Imagine you could hide the darkest, most horrifying secret.Forever.Young Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a strange letter arrives summoning him away from his family. He is to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder—a vocation that arouses fear, superstition, and prejudice amongst their small community, but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.For as long as he can recall, Emmett has been drawn to books, even though they are strictly forbidden. Bookbinding is a sacred calling, Seredith informs her new apprentice, and he is a binder born. Under the old woman’s watchful eye, Emmett learns to hand-craft the elegant leather-bound volumes. Within each one they will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, a binder can help. If there’s something you need to erase, they can assist. Within the pages of the books they create, secrets are concealed and the past is locked away. In a vault under his mentor’s workshop rows upon rows of books are meticulously stored.But while Seredith is an artisan, there are others of their kind, avaricious and amoral tradesman who use their talents for dark ends—and just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: one of the books has his name on it. Soon, everything he thought he understood about his life will be dramatically rewritten.An unforgettable novel of enchantment, mystery, memory, and forbidden love, The Binding is a beautiful homage to the allure and life-changing power of books—and a reminder to us all that knowledge can be its own kind of magic.

Half Life

Half Life

Books

A brilliant sliding-doors reimagining of the passionate life of the first woman to win the Nobel Prize - and the life Marie Curie might have led if she had chosen love over science. In Poland in 1891, Marie Curie (then Marya Sklodowska) was engaged to a budding mathematician, Kazimierz Zorawski. But when his mother insisted she was too poor and not good enough, he broke off the engagement. A heartbroken Marya left Poland for Paris and the Sorbonne to study chemistry and physics. Eventually Marie Curie would go on to change the course of science forever and become the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. But what if Marie had made a different choice? What if she had stayed in Poland, married Kazimierz at the age of twenty-four, and never attended the Sorbonne or discovered radium? What if Marie had chosen her first love and a life of domesticity, still ravenous for knowledge in Russian Poland where education for women was restricted instead of studying science in Paris and meeting Pierre Curie? Seamlessly entwining the sliding-door moments of Marie Curie's real life with Marya Zorawska's fictional one, Half Life is an inspired and utterly compelling story of love and identity that explores the meaning of loyalty and friendship, motherhood and sisterhood, fame and anonymity - and the consequences of the choices we make. It explores what would have happened if a great scientific mind was denied opportunity and access to education. But instead of delivering a predictable outcome of how the life of one remarkable woman and the people she loved might have been irrevocably changed, the truth is Marie or Marya would still have led a full and passionate life. Intelligent, thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining, this is historical fiction at its best. 'Explores not only the fascinating inner life of the famous scientist Marie Curie but also the life that might have been if she'd chosen love over science in her early years ... This thoughtful, compelling story delves into issues faced by modern women, while inviting readers to ruminate on their own life choices and the domino-effect of those decisions.' Marie Benedict 'A dazzling must-read. A poignant exploration of ambition, family, gender and love. A tender, nuanced and inspiring novel for anyone who's ever been torn by conflicting passions and loyalties; in other words, a book for all of us.' Jean Kwok

This is where I Leave You

This is where I Leave You

Books

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey Jane Fonda, and Adam Driver "Often sidesplitting, mostly heartbreaking...[Tropper is] a more sincere, insightful version of Nick Hornby, that other master of male psyche." --USA Today The death of Judd Foxman's father marks the first time that the entire Foxman clan has congregated in years. There is, however, one conspicuous absence: Judd's wife, Jen, whose affair with his radio- shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public. Simultaneously mourning the demise of his father and his marriage, Judd joins his dysfunctional family as they reluctantly sit shiva-and spend seven days and nights under the same roof. The week quickly spins out of control as longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed and old passions are reawakened. Then Jen delivers the clincher: she's pregnant. This Is Where I Leave You is Jonathan Tropper's (One Last Thing Before I Go) most accomplished work to date, and a riotously funny, emotionally raw novel about love, marriage, divorce, family, and the ties that bind-whether we like it or not.

The Widow

The Widow

Books

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER“A twisted psychological thriller you’ll have trouble putting down.”—People“If you liked Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, you might want to pick up The Widow by Fiona Barton. Engrossing. Suspenseful.”—Stephen KingFollowing the twists and turns of an unimaginable crime, The Widow is an electrifying debut thriller that will take you into the dark spaces that exist between a husband and a wife.There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.   Now her husband is dead, and there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.   The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything...An NPR Best Book of the YearOne of The Wall Street Journal’s 5 “Killer Books” of the YearA Publishers Weekly Best Book of the YearIncludes a Readers Guide and an excerpt of Fiona Barton’s The Child.

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