10 minutes 38 seconds in this strange world by Elif Shafak

Tequila Leila is a sex worker in Istanbul who has been murdered. Her spirit takes 10 minutes and 38 seconds to die and in that time she revisits her life and we discover how she ended up here. We meet her family and friends in this time and discover a rich and beautiful life that has been cut short. It is a beautiful read with wonderful characters who had me laughing and crying until the very end.

All of Elif Shafak’s books are thoughtful and compelling commentaries on life in Turkey. I love her!

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepra Anapara

Jai lives in a shanty town in India. When one of his classmates goes missing he convinces his two friends, Faiz and Pari to join him in his search. What starts as a game soon becomes more sinister as other children begin to disappear from their neighbourhood. Rumours begin to circulate that the Djinn (or soul-snatching spirits) are the culprits. Anapara writes with humour and compassion about some real events that occurred in metrapolitan India.

Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane

 “A beautifully observed and deeply funny novel of May Attaway, a university gardener who sets out on an odyssey to reconnect with four old friends over the course of a year.” This is the Goodreads opening paragraph from its review. I could not have written it better.

I’ll Never Tell by Catherine McKenzie

After their parents’ death, the McAllister siblings return to the camp where they spent their summers to read the will. They are faced with coming to terms with the murder of a camper twenty years prior. Their father’s will makes demands upon them that makes the process quite painful. It is suspensful, really well written and has a depth that many who dunnits lack.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyle

Cyril Avery’s life is reminded frequently that he isn’t a real Avery. He spends a lifetime trying not to look too deeply into who is is, what he wants and where he’s going. This gets him into trouble throughout his life, until he finally takes a long look at himself. His story is sad, witty and wise (my three criteria for a great read). It is quintessentially Irish!

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Danny and Maeve are thrown out of the Dutch House – an immense, fairy tale-like home that their father, Cyril, built for his wife. The house maintains a hold on them and as the book progresses we begin to understand why. The book is well written, suspensful and the characters are wonderfully sketched out.

How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper

This hilarious, profound book reminded me of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Andrew has a ho-hum job, lives alone in a ho-hum apartment and seems stuck as the years roll on. He, reluctantly, falls in love and as he grapples with how to express his love I found myself rooting for him to face whatever stopped him from living.

Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout

Read Olive Kitteridge before you read Olive Again. In Olive Again we follow Olive in her later years and find out even more about her life through the people in her hometown. It is as profound, funny, sad as Olive Kitteridge – it will not disappoint.

The Innocents by Michael Crummy

After their parents die unexpectantly, a young boy and girl must figure out how to survive on the remote island in Newfoundland upon which their family has lived. The book is heartbreaking and oh- so- dark. It is beautifully written but beware – it is very sad.

Akin by Emma Donaghue

Noah, retired professor, reluctantly “inherits” his great nephew, Michael. Noah, again reluctantly, brings Michael on a trip to France. The two battle a huge generational divide and come out a little scarred but changed forever. It’s a brilliant, funny, wise look at how much we all have to learn about life and living – regardless of our age.