Sahara Book Club | Winter Reads
As temperatures begin to dip and the winter sun sets early, there’s little else more pleasurable than cosying up with a book in front of the fire. This month, Sahara Book Club has selected six seasonal must-reads, perfect for bookworms of all genres…
Milkman by Anna Burns
Don’t be put off by the Booker judges describing this years’ winning novel as ‘challenging’, for although the style is unusual, it is easy to get into and well worth the attention.
Milkman is the story of an unnamed protagonist who, while trying to navigate life in her teens during The Troubles in 1970s Northern Ireland, attracts the unwanted attention of a murky character known only as ‘Milkman’.
With the growth of the #MeToo movement over the last 12 months, plus increasing uncertainties regarding the Irish border situation, this unusual and highly inventive novel takes an unflinching look at the devastating, suffocating effects of how a bullied society bullies its own.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
A woman who defies categorisation and requires no introduction, former First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama this month releases her much-anticipated memoir – charting a life filled with accomplishment, emerging as one of our era’s most iconic and compelling women.
Making history as the first African-American women to serve as FLOTUS, she has firmly established herself as an advocate for women and girls not just in the US but across the globe.
This dazzling memoir, told with great aplomb, charts her life from the South Side of Chicago to her career as a lawyer before entering the global political spotlight to become the woman we know and respect today.
Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak
Journeying from Istanbul and Oxford and back, spanning the 1980s to the present day, Three Daughters of Eve is a far-reaching tale of faith, friendship, tradition and modernity, exploring the lifelong effect of love and unexpected betrayal.
The novel opens with protagonist Peri who, while making her way to a dinner party in Istanbul, has her handbag stolen. During the struggle, she catches a glimpse of a long-forgotten photograph as it falls from her bag, resulting in Peri’s attempts to make sense of her past relationships, friendships and her faith.
Told with equal amounts of tenderness and energy, Shafak creates a complex, intelligent and beguiling heroine within a rich and nuanced story that’s unafraid to pose pertinent philosophical questions.
Work Like a Woman: A Manifesto For Change by Mary Portas
Queen of retail and television personality Mary Portas publishes her must-read manifesto, scrutinising the effects of male-dominated workplace culture on women as they climb the career ladder half a century after being granted greater access to the world of work.
A breaker of glass ceilings by anyone’s standards, Portas achieved notoriety in the retail space during her tenure at Harvey Nichols in the 90s – becoming a board member by the age of 30. No small feat.
However, this book tackles what Portas did next. After decades teetering atop the corporate and creative ladder, she rebuilt her own business – the eponymous creative agency Portas – around values that are important to her: collaboration, empathy, instinct and trust.
Everything Here is Beautiful by Mire T Lee
A debut full of promise from Mira T Lee, Everything Here Is Beautiful charts the life of two Chinese-American sisters, Lucia and Miranda as they navigate life’s trajectory – love, marriage, career, and children – all while grappling with mental illness.
Exploring the tenacity of the sisterly bond, coupled with the ever-present tumult of loving and caring for someone living with mental illness, the story is told through a variety of perspectives as different characters come and go from the sisters’ lives.
A sensitively handled and evocative first novel that just scratches the surface of what this emerging literary voice is capable of.
Zaitoun: Recipes and Stories from the Palestinian Kitchen by Yasmin Khan
Award-winning food writer Yasmin Khan combines recipes and stories from her travels through Israel, the West Bank and Gaza in Zaitoun (Arabic for ‘olive tree’), a gorgeously evocative book that expands far beyond typical cookbook fare.
With over 80 recipes from across the region, from rich stewed lamb and aubergine and feta kefte to indulgent pomegranate passion cake, you’ll not be short on new and delicious dishes to try. Plus a trip to the Taybeh brewery, which is producing the first Palestinian craft beer, adds another delightful layer.
But what makes this book truly special is the way Khan weaves in the personal stories of the people and places across the region that she visits. She achieves what no news broadcast ever could; bringing to life the Palestinians’ pride in their heritage and their determination to sustain it.