Best Books Beginning with B
In the new Best Books Beginning with series, today I’m sharing the best books beginning with B. Based on my own reading to date, these are my top recommendations.
First up is a stunning novel, adapted from a play. Set in Japan, this imaginative and highly emotional read incorporates themes of time travel with stories of grief, love, revenge and forgiveness. It’s a story about regret at its heart but it’s timidly and beautifully done.
A classic that everyone should read. Sylvia Plath only wrote one novel in her lifetime and it had a major impact. Partially autobiographical, The Bell Jar depicts the story of a young girl who gets her dream job in the city and everything she ever wanted and yet still struggles with depression and major mental health lows. Sylvia’s life was a mix of major ups and downs, and the Bell Jar depicts them all in heavy and heartwrenching detail. Unlike her life though, the story has a hopeful almost uplifting ending.
Whenever I try to explain this story to people, they think I’m crazy. But that’s what makes it brilliant. This story is written from the perspective of a bee in a hive. A real-life bee. Hives, in reality, have extremely strict ‘rules’ in order for the hive to survive, and Laline has cleverly turned this natural way of life into a mystery drama set in a real-life beehive. It’s brilliant, utterly brilliant.
A personal favourite of mine, Birdsong is a story set in the years prior to and during the First World War. Set in two parts, we follow the character of Stephen Wraysford who falls madly in love with a married woman in 1910 and who volunteers for the First World War in the years after to deal with his grief that she didn’t choose him. It’s a stunning novel, and one of the finest World War One stories I’ve read to date.
Another war novel, but this time set in the Second World War. In The Book Thief, we follow Liesel, the titular book thief, who is adopted by an older couple in the heart of Germany during the Second World War. Liesel is a fascinating character who is abandoned, struggling with grief, at a young age. She experiences family, friendship and young love within her new home, all whilst Death – another character in the book – narrates her story. After stealing a book from her brother’s graveside she becomes fascinated by words and reading. When her family harbours a Jew during the Nazi regime, her life changes forever. Have tissues nearby!
A fan-favourite, I do enjoy Bridget Jones’ Diary even though it is incredibly out of date these days. Also, nine-stone is not overweight! However, the love story and the silliness of the friendships and Bridget’s mishaps in work and life, in general, are still hilarious.
And finally, Brooklyn is a historical novel set between Brooklyn in the US and in Ireland. The main character of Eilis is sent away to Brooklyn to work. There are very few opportunities in Ireland for young women, so she lives in a boarding house, works in a store and attends church. Struggling with loneliness she goes to a dance and falls in love with a young Italian man. But then her sister dies and she is forced to return to Ireland. Can their love endure? And what will happen when she meets and falls for a young Irish man at home?
Those are my recommendations for the best books beginning with B. Which books would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.