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Short Reads for the Winter Solstice

With the winter solstice coming up tomorrow on the 20th of June, we’re set for the shortest day of the year. In order to squeeze in some reading time, we’ve put together a list of short stories and short books to enjoy in a time crunch.


Short Reads for the Winter Solstice

My love for him felt so total and so annihilating that it was often impossible for me to see him clearly at all.

Years ago, Sukie moved in with Nathan because her mother was dead and her father was difficult, and she had nowhere else to go. Now they are on the brink of the inevitable.

Sally Rooney is one of the most acclaimed young talents of recent years. With her minute attention to the power dynamics in everyday speech, she builds up sexual tension and throws a deceptively low-key glance at love and death.

‘I would like to ask that we begin to dream about and plan for a different world. A fairer world. A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how to start: we must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently…’

What does “feminism” mean today?

In this personal, eloquently argued essay – adapted from her much admired Tedx talk of the same name – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now – an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

From the internationally bestselling and prize-winning author of The Song of Achilles and Circe, an enchanting short story that boldly reimagines the myth of Galatea and Pygmalion.

In Ancient Greece, a skilled marble sculptor has been blessed by a goddess who has given his masterpiece – the most beautiful woman the town has ever seen – the gift of life. Now his wife, he expects Galatea to please him, to be obedience and humility personified. But she has desires of her own, and yearns for independence.

In a desperate bid by her obsessive husband to keep her under control, she is locked away under the constant supervision of doctors and nurses. But with a daughter to rescue, she is determined to break free, whatever the cost…

A wise and enchanting fable that, in teaching the secret of what is really important in life, has changed the world forever for its readers.

Often seen as a symbol of childhood innocence, Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s best-selling book The Little Prince is cherished by children and adults alike across the globe. Ideal for children aged 7 and up.

This beautiful new 80th anniversary edition with a glittering foiled cover contains the definitive translation by Katherine Woods and all the original illustrations. The Little Prince joins the ranks of A Little Princess, The Secret Garden & Peter Pan as a genuine children’s classic of the twentieth century.

A young woman is making a living faking it as a cut-price psychic (with some illegal soft-core sex work on the side). She makes a decent wage mostly by telling people what they want to hear. But then she meets Susan Burke.

Susan moved to the city one year ago with her husband and 15-year old stepson Miles. They live in a Victorian house called Carterhook Manor. Susan has become convinced that some malevolent spirit is inhabiting their home. The young woman doesn’t believe in exorcism or the supernatural. However when she enters the house for the first time, she begins to feel it too, as if the very house is watching her, waiting, biding its time . . .

The Grownup, which originally appeared as ‘What Do You Do?’ in George R. R. Martin’s Rogues anthology, proves once again that Gillian Flynn is one of the world’s most original and skilled voices in fiction.

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING CILLIAN MURPHY

WINNER OF THE ORWELL PRIZE AND THE KERRY GROUP IRISH NOVEL OF THE YEAR AWARD

SHORTLISTED FOR THE RATHBONES FOLIO PRIZE AND THE IRISH NOVEL OF THE YEAR AT THE DALKEY LITERARY AWARDS

It is 1985, in an Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant, faces into his busiest season. As he does the rounds, he feels the past rising up to meet him – and encounters the complicit silences of a people controlled by the Church.

Meet Keiko. She’s 36 years old, has never had a boyfriend, and she’s been working in the same supermarket for eighteen years.

Keiko’s family wishes she’d get a proper job. Her friends wonder why she won’t get married.

But Keiko knows what makes her happy, and she’s not going to let anyone come between her and her convenience store…

A cult hit around the world, Convenience Store Woman is both a feminist rallying cry and a must-read oddball comedy.

A global phenomenon, The Alchemist has been read and loved by over 62 million readers, topping bestseller lists in 74 countries worldwide. Now this magical fable is beautifully repackaged in an edition that lovers of Paulo Coelho will want to treasure forever.

Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. This is such a book – a beautiful parable about learning to listen to your heart, read the omens strewn along life’s path and, above all, follow your dreams.

Santiago, a young shepherd living in the hills of Andalucia, feels that there is more to life than his humble home and his flock. One day he finds the courage to follow his dreams into distant lands, each step galvanised by the knowledge that he is following the right path: his own. The people he meets along the way, the things he sees and the wisdom he learns are life-changing.

With Paulo Coelho’s visionary blend of spirituality, magical realism and folklore, The Alchemist is a story with the power to inspire nations and change people’s lives.

Yeong-hye and her husband are ordinary people – dutiful wife and mild-mannered office worker. One day, prompted by grotesque recurring nightmares, Yeong-hye decides to become a vegetarian. But in South Korea, where vegetarianism is almost unheard-of and societal mores are strictly obeyed, it is a shocking act of subversion.

Yeong-hye’s passive rebellion rapidly manifests in ever more bizarre and frightening forms, from sexual sadism to attempted suicide, and in increasingly erotic and unhinged artworks, as all the while she spirals further into her fantasies…

Disturbing and beautiful by turns, The Vegetarian is a revelatory novel about modern day South Korea; a tale of shame, desire and our faltering attempts to understand others.

Co-written by two award-winning writers, This Is How You Lose the Time War is an epic love story spanning time and space.

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.

Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.

Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That’s how war works. Right?

THE FIRST VOLUME OF THE EXTRAORDINARY SOUTHERN REACH TRILOGY – NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY ALEX GARLAND (EX MACHINA) AND STARRING NATALIE PORTMAN AND OSCAR ISAAC

For thirty years, Area X has remained mysterious and remote behind its intangible border – an environmental disaster zone, though to all appearances an abundant wilderness.

The Southern Reach, a secretive government agency, has sent eleven expeditions to investigate Area X. One has ended in mass suicide, another in a hail of gunfire, the eleventh in a fatal cancer epidemic.

Now four women embark on the twelfth expedition into the unknown.

Mara, Sadie, and Hannah are friends first, scientists always. Though their fields of study might take them to different corners of the world, they can all agree on this universal truth: when it comes to love and science, opposites attract, and rivals make you burn….

Under One Roof122 Pages
An environmental engineer discovers that scientists should never cohabitate when she finds herself stuck with the roommate from hell – a detestable big-oil lawyer who won’t leave the thermostat alone.

Stuck with You112 Pages
A civil engineer and her nemesis take their rivalry – and love – to the next level when they get stuck in a New York elevator.

Below Zero120 Pages
A NASA aerospace engineer’s frozen heart melts as she lies injured and stranded at a remote Arctic research station and the only person willing to undertake the dangerous rescue mission is her longtime rival.

A whirlpool of darkness churns at the heart of a macabre ballet between two lonely young women in an internet chat room in the early 2000s—a darkness that threatens to forever transform them once they finally succumb to their most horrific desires.

A couple isolate themselves on a remote island in an attempt to recover from their teenage son’s death, when a mysterious young man knocks on their door during a storm…

And a man confronts his neighbour when he discovers a strange object in his back yard, only to be drawn into an ever-more dangerous game.

Three devastating, beautifully written horror stories from one of the genre’s most cutting-edge voices.

What have you done today to deserve your eyes?

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