A guide to the top five books you should be reading right now

A guide to the top five books you should be reading right now
Photo credit: Instagram/Bookety Book Books

With Aucklanders locked down in COVID-19 alert level 3 and the rest of the country doing their bit by social distancing and limiting gatherings, we've all once again found ourselves with a bit more time at home on our hands. 

This is a time for hobbies to flourish, forgotten chores to be seen to, and new skills to be honed. But let's be honest, you've exhausted all your streaming options, your attempts to learn to crochet were a fail and your house remains unvacuumed. Sometimes, it's best to go back to basics and lose yourself in a good book. 

Just ask voracious reader and lover of the traditional bound form Mandy Myles, who has just launched her own independent online bookshop, Bookety Book Books. 

Noticing the annual rise in book sales in New Zealand and with a 'shop local' mantra, Myles wanted to start an online bookstore that replicates the classic bricks and mortar bookshop experience - complete with a booklover on hand to guide you. 

She says she spent "a good few minutes just smelling all the books" when her first shipment of stock arrived, but she's helpfully stopped that long enough to compile her top five list of books you can bury your nose in right now. 

Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Such a Fun Age follows the story of a young black woman who is wrongly accused of kidnapping the white three-year-old she is babysitting. Reid's ability to write about big issues in a subtle way will leave you mulling this one over in your head for some time. 

Before the Coffee Gets Cold, by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

A cafe in Tokyo offers customers the unique experience of time-travel - but to qualify, customers must get past the quirky rule first. Before the Coffee Gets Cold follows four heartfelt characters on their journeys through time and is a work of complete magical brilliance.

Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman

You may recognize the title from the Netflix mini-series loosely based on this memoir about the author's repression and escape from her ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, New York. Well worth the read - even if you've already seen the show. 

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

What would have happened if Hilary Rodham had turned down Bill Clinton? How different would the world be? This fictional story reimagines the Clintons as we know them today with a focus on how Hilary’s political career could have been without the shadow of her husband's former presidency as we know it today. 

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

A psychodrama that follows one man's extreme pursuit to become a successful novelist. The protagonist Maurice has a chance encounter with a famous but lonely author in a Berlin hotel, who shares a story in confidence. We then learn very quickly Maurice will stop at nothing until he gets to where he wants.