Your 2024 Reading List
In 2023, I made a New Year’s resolution to read more, and remarkably, I’ve stayed true to it!
Amidst all the talk about the benefits of reading, I’ve managed to find pockets of time for it— be it during my daily commute, lone lunch breaks in the park, or going to bed 20 minutes earlier for a few chapters—to indulge in a good book. It’s turned into a self-care routine and honestly, I can’t recommend it enough.
Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you! Here’s a curated list of my top 15 reads that I read last year, all penned by incredibly talented female authors.
1. Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson
This zeitgeisty debut novel follows three women in an old Brooklyn Heights family: one who was born with money, one who married into it, and one, the millennial conscience of the family, who wants to give it all away. A beautifully observed exploration of class, money and different kinds of dreams. Full of recognisable, loveable if fallible characters (and a few appalling ones!) Brilliant!
2. None Of This Is True by Lisa Jewell
Once you start – prepare to be totally drawn in and stay up all night reading. Lisa Jewell deftly creates a sense of growing menace which starts off as the vague unease podcaster Alix feels about the slightly weird subject of her next podacst – Josie. And which then continues to mount into full blown, stomach churning, hair prickling, unease with every page you turn. Unsettling, compelling, well paced.
3. My Husband by Maud Ventura
This follows a woman who is deeply obsessed with her husband. Her seemingly perfect life— a successful career, stunning appearance, beautiful home, and an ideal husband— hides uncertainties. In a bid to maintain their flawless facade, she meticulously engineers every interaction, hiding effort behind ease. Monitoring his actions, she corrects mistakes and tests his love, until a sudden realisation dawns: she might have pushed too far. I still find myself thinking about this book often. One of the best books I’ve read in years.
4. Next of Kin by Kia Abdullah
On an ordinary working day, Leila Syed’s life is shattered by a panic-filled call from her brother-in-law. Little Max is missing from his nursery, and she was supposed to drop him off that morning but forgot. Racing to the carpark, the horror of her mistake grips her. Leila’s worst nightmare unfolds, leading to an explosive, family-tearing trial. However, as the case progresses, it becomes evident that there’s more to this incident than meets the eye. An absolute masterpiece.
5. Yellowface by R.F. Kuang
A rollercoaster of deceit and despair unfolds as writer June, grappling with friend Athena’s untimely death, plagiarises her Athena’s unpublished manuscript under the guise of Juniper Song. This gripping tale delves into the dark underbelly of the publishing world and the perils of social media.
A total rollercoaster, couldn’t put it down, read it in 24 hours.
6. The Story of Art without Men by Katy Hessel
How many women artists do you know? Who makes art history? Did women even work as artists before the twentieth century? And what is the Baroque anyway?A beautifully written (and unpretentious!) overview of the many women who make up and have made up the wonderful art world. From the Cornish coast to Manhattan, Nigeria to Japan, this is the story of art for our times – one with women at its heart. If you have any interest in art, you must read this.
Ola Olajide, a high-profile journalist, is marrying the love of her life. Young, beautiful, successful – she and her fiancé Michael seem to have it all. That is, until one morning when they both wake up to the same message:
‘Oh my god, have you seen The List?’ It began as a list of anonymous allegations about abusive men. Now it has been published online, and Michael’s name is on it. Gripping, witty and beautifully written, a must read.
8. All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien
There were a dozen witnesses to Denny Tran’s brutal murder in a busy Sydney restaurant. So how come no one saw anything? This book explores the pervasiveness of addiction, the beauty of a good, reliable family, and the reality of what it’s like to have no support system. The book is a meaningful story that touches on grief, friendship, anti-Asian sentiment, and how to continue on when it seems impossible. Set in Sydney, this is a moving and unflinching debut novel.
9. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
I have recommended this book to friends, family, complete strangers on the tube, EVERYONE. This is the story of childhood friends Sam and Sadie who reunite, reigniting a childhood spark that leads to a creative partnership in the ’90s. Their decades-long journey explores friendship, rivalry, fame, art, betrayal, and tragedy, navigating perfect and imperfect worlds. Above all, it explores our need to connect: to be loved and to love. You will love it regardless of what kind of books you like/ what kind of reader you are.
10. Confessions by Kanae Minato
When Yuko Moriguchi’s toddler daughter died in the school where she teaches, everyone thought it was a tragic accident. It’s the last day of term, and Yuko’s last day at work. She tells her students that she has resigned because of what happened – but not for the reasons they think. Her daughter didn’t die in an accident. Her daughter was killed by two people in the class. And before she leaves, she has a lesson to teach. Dark, unhinged at times, a wild read!
11. Wild Hope: Healing Words to Find Light on Dark Days by Donna Ashworth
Full transparency, I can’t say that i’m usually into poetry, but I was gifted Wild Hope: Healing Words to Find Light on Dark Days, last month and I’m very glad I was! Donna has written a collection of poems that help us find hope, peace, self-acceptance and inspiration on the days we feel worn down, helpless or sad. Written with love and understanding, this book reminds us that amidst our daily struggles and constant outpourings of bad news we have so much to hope for, and that every one of us can play a part, big or small, in making the world a better place. A lovely book to dip in and out of.
12. I Who Have Never Known Men by Jacqueline Harpman
A post-apocalyptic tale of female friendship and intimacy set in a deserted world. Deep underground, thirty-nine women are kept in isolation in a cage. Above ground, a world awaits. Has it been abandoned? Devastated by a virus?
This is a devastating tale of humanity – of womanhood, evilness, of cruelty, of loneliness, of friendship, of survival, of death, and of all the unanswered questions we leave earth with. Yes, it sounds a bit weird and depressing (and it kind of is!) but it’s also GREAT! Read it!
13. All’s Well by Mona Awad
Miranda Fitch, a former actress with chronic pain and a failing marriage, is on the brink of losing her job as a college theatre director. Desperate to stage Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, she faces a rebellious cast set on Macbeth. Enter three mysterious benefactors with insight into her past, offering a tempting promise—a future where the show prevails, unruly students face consequences, and Miranda’s hidden pain takes centre stage. A wonderfully weird book! I also highly recommend Mona’s other books, particularly ‘Bunny.’
14. The Mothers by Brit Bennett
After her mother dies, 17-year-old Nadia is on a rebellious path and ends up in a secret relationship with the pastor’s son, Luke. But after an unexpected pregnancy and concealment, Nadia and Luke’s relationship changes. She then finds comfort in Aubrey, the quiet and shy girl from church. Both girls are growing up without their mothers, and the book follows the relationships of the trio from the adolescent years to adulthood. That’s where the story really begins.
15. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
When Addie La Rue makes a pact with the devil, she is convinced she’s found a loophole―immortality in exchange for her soul. But the devil takes away her place in the world, cursing her to be forgotten by everyone. Addie flees her tiny home town in 18th-Century France, beginning a journey that takes her across the world, learning to live a life where no one remembers her and everything she owns is lost and broken. Honestly, I don’t usually like fantasy books and I nearly gave up after the first few pages, but I’m so glad I persisted. A great starter novel into the fantasy genre, and will definitely be picking up V. E. Schwab’s ‘Vicious.’
Not by a female author, but “A Man Called Ove” is a must on the list. It made me cry, laugh, get frustrated, and cry even more—most notably, during an awkward sobbing commute on the Northern Line during rush hour.
Ove, a short-tempered, retired old man, visits his wife’s grave everyday but finally gives up on life. He suddenly begrudgingly develops a bond with his neighbours, who turn his life around. Tom Hanks portrayed him in ‘A Man Called Otto’ (which I haven’t seen), but I bet the book is even better. Honest, beautiful and heartwarming. 10/10!