A Guide to Booktok Reads

As booksellers, and above all book lovers, we greatly admire the way Booktok has managed to bring so many new readers into shops and turn titles into bestsellers in the most unexpected and refreshing ways. While we have Booktok to thank for so many new readers, either themselves or loved ones might be panicking about what presents to buy to satiate this newly developed appetite for books once they’ve gone through the more popular titles. This is where your friendly neighbourhood booksellers come in with a few alternatives to some of our most popular Booktok reads.

  • For fans of Emily Henry and Taylor Jenkins Reid

Emily Henry and Taylor Jenkins Reid are two authors that the Booktok reader (as well as yours truly!) would support to the ends of the earth, rightfully so. What makes them stand out is the strange space they occupy between literary fiction and romance, so it seems only fair that the alternative to this would be something that delivers both stunning writing with depth and unputdownable romance. The View Was Exhausting is bound to be a big winner here! This novel explores the glitz and glamour, as well as the darker side of living in the public eye and the complicated connections those who survive this scene can form, with a slow-burn romance that will have you screaming at the book in no time.

  • For fans of Madeline Miller

So you discovered the power of breathing life into Greek myth with such spellbinding lyricism that it speaks to modern audiences and want more? Well, aren’t you lucky that Natalie Haynes has got you covered! If you want to go all the way back to Oedipus and Antigone and explore the turmoil of Greek myth’s most notorious family – try The Children of Jocasta. If you want a polyphonic, lyrical take on the Trojan War, then you simply must pick up A Thousand Ships. You may have already seen Haynes’ most recent – Stone Blind as one of our recommend reads, but let me reiterate how stunning it is; this novel makes you question what truly makes a monster, and whether such a creature is bred or rather shaped by what they must endure to survive. Never has such tenderness and dignity been offered to Greek myth’s most infamous gorgon, Medusa, before.

Alas, for those like myself that have had their breath and their hearts stolen by this masterpiece, the bad news is that nothing else in the world comes close to this level of perfection. However, to soften the blow I will tell you that if you are not opposed to more violence, more heartbreak and more anxiety-inducing conflicts whose protagonists your soul will ache for, R.F Kuang’s previous series, starting with The Poppy War is where you should go next. Prove it to me as well as yourself that she is your new auto-buy author. If you appreciated the way Babel rang true with real life historical tragedies, then I shall also point out that a lot of the conflict in this trilogy (even the very worst, most unbelievable disasters of it), has its roots in the suffering experienced during the Second Sino-Japanese War (book 1) and the Chinese Civil War (book 2 & 3).

If you loved the earnest, vulnerable and unflinching approach to mental health and mental illness encountered in this book, you will want to pick up Lori Gottlieb’s Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, which offers an insightful look into therapy and mental health from both sides of the desk. Both these titles are so matter-of-factly yet tender in their approach to mental health issues in a manner that will make many feel like they are not alone.

Don’t see your favourites here? Don’t be shy and visit our website or your local Dubray to ask our staff for more suggestions.

Dun Laoghaire's favourite blue haired bookseller. Gabbie loves nothing more than character-driven stories full of whimsy, the kind of stories that will grip your heart and refuse to let it go, but she will give any kind of book a chance. (she/her)

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