What seems to be always approaching yet somehow ending before it’s even arrived? The ever-elusive “weekend”. We love the thought of having spare time—until we find ourselves fresh out of ideas on what to actually do with it. Luckily, we’ve found ten talented writers who deliver entertainment that asks nothing of us—except, of course, that we turn the page (which sounds like a fair enough compromise to me).
So, here you have it: ten books to tear through in a weekend for a wild ride on the storied side.
Perfect Remains by Helen Fields
On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing. In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness. This mystery sent us on a hide-and-seek in more than one way: while devouring every word of Perfect Remains, we searched our whole vocabulary to discover that “boredom” was nowhere to be found.
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
If you want a read that keeps up the pace without sacrificing important details, you’ll be pleased to find that Commonwealth has struck gold. One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families. Delivering the best of eras passed with enough intrigue to keep you present, Commonwealth manages to span five decades while advancing the plot with terrific momentum.
A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
Storytelling and painting: two mediums of art that create magic when they meet. Oh, and how magically they’ve met, indeed, in Christina Baker Kline’s A Piece of the World. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina Olson seemed destined for a small life on her family farm. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century. For a story pulsing with history and artistry, A Piece of the World brilliantly unhinges the portrait of what we deem “picturesque”.
A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell
Don’t let the title mislead you: there’s nothing “simple” about this story’s thrill. It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together—just like she and Emily. But Emily doesn’t come back. Hosting a cast of unreliable narrators alongside such suspenseful plot is A Simple Favor’s foolproof way of keeping readers raptured and riveted.
Natchez Burning by Greg Isles
If “equal parts frustration and fervor” is the name of your reading game, Natchez Burning has got you covered—but not without an added twist. Penn Cage learned all he knows of duty from his father, Dr. Tom Cage. But now the beloved family doctor has been accused of murdering the African American nurse with whom he worked in the dark days of the 1960s. Once a crusading prosecutor, Penn is determined to save his father, but Tom refuses even to speak in his own defense. You’ll be craving more Natchez-Burning-style writing before you know it, but there’s no need to wonder what to read next—this scandalous story is a trilogy!
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This is one of those books so significant that it ends all too soon—simply because it ends at all. The uneasy balance between Starr Carter’s two worlds—the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends—is shattered when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her unarmed childhood best friend at the hands of a police officer. Angie Thomas saw a narrative need and stepped up to the plate—and to thunderous reception, at that: John Green wasted no time in (accurately) calling her work “stunning”. Though his is an endorsement we’d never dismiss, The Hate U Give stands on its own in exploring systemic racism, police brutality and furthering the important discussion surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement. We’ve needed The Hate U Give for so long, yet it’s still managed to arrive right on time.
Mitzi Bytes by Kerry Clare
When you don’t want to have to choose between a comedic narrative and a mysterious plot, reach for Mitzi Bytes—you won’t be disappointed. Fifteen years after she started an anonymous blog documenting her return to the dating scene after a devastating divorce, Sarah is happily remarried and blogging all her personal exploits under the persona of “Mitzi Bytes”—unbeknownst to anyone in IRL, including her husband and best friends. So, Sarah is in serious trouble when threatening emails arrive from the mysterious Jane Q. “Time’s up”, the first one says. “You’re officially found out”. Both fun and unpredictable, Mitzi Bytes has tapped into our favourite things about reading and relayed them back to us in an irresistibly endearing voice.
The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill
The Lonely Hearts Hotel’s Rose and Pierrot will win you over before you know it. Abandoned in a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1914, it’s not long before their true talents emerge: Pierrot is a piano prodigy; Rose lights up even the dreariest room with her dancing and comedy. As they travel around the city performing for the rich, the children fall in love with each other and dream up a plan for the most extraordinary and seductive circus show the world has ever seen. What unfolds when Rose and Pierrot reunite, however, will keep you awake reading The Lonely Hearts Hotel until its untimely close.
The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff
Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep. When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night. Like all worthwhile reads, The Orphan’s Tale is beautiful, heart-wrenching and life-changing.
What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan
What She Knew will sweep up your senses and not return them to you until long after the story’s end. Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes. Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As she desperately pieces together the threadbare clues, Rachel realizes that nothing is quite as she imagined it to be, not even her own judgment.
Do you have a go-to addictive book recommendation? What was the last book you read that had you flipping the page before you finished it? We want to know! Tell us in the comments below or chat with us on Twitter @SavvyReader!
We hope your weekend is full of fast-paced reading!