Holi Festival of Colours! Celebrate with six colourful books

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Holi Festival of Colours – one of the world’s most beautiful, and, indeed colourful, celebrations is taking place today.

To mark the occasion I’ve put together a list of the most colourful books I could find. So, if you’re not celebrating this weekend by pulling out the powdered paint why not curl up with one of these instead?

Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

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The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?


Oranges are not the Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson

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This is the story of Jeanette, adopted and brought up by her mother as one of God’s elect. Zealous and passionate, she seems seems destined for life as a missionary, but then she falls for one of her converts.

At sixteen, Jeanette decides to leave the church, her home and her family, for the young woman she loves. Innovative, punchy and tender,

Oranges are not the Only Fruit is a few days ride into the bizarre outposts of religious excess and human obsession.


The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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‘It is stripped off – the paper – in great patches…The colour is repellent… In the places where it isn’t faded and where the sun is just so – I can see a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure, that seems to skulk about…’

Based on the author’s own experiences, The Yellow Wallpaper is the chilling tale of a woman driven to the brink of insanity by the ‘rest cure’ prescribed after the birth of her child. Isolated in a crumbling colonial mansion, in a room with bars on the windows, the tortuous pattern of the yellow wallpaper winds its way into the recesses of her mind.


Green Eggs and Ham – Dr Seuss

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‘Do you like green eggs and ham?
I do not like them, Sam-I-am.
I do not like green eggs and ham.

Would you like them here or there?

I would not like them here or there.
I would not like them anywhere.’

When Sam-I-am persists in pestering a grumpy grouch to eat a plate of green eggs and ham, perseverance wins the day, teaching us all that we cannot know what we like until we have tried it!


A Spool of Blue Thread – Anne Tyler

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‘It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon…’

This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that day in July 1959. The whole family on the porch, relaxed, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before.

And yet this gathering is different. Abby and Red are getting older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them and their beloved family home. They’ve all come, even Denny, who can usually be relied on only to please himself.

From that porch we spool back through three generations of the Whitshanks, witnessing the events, secrets and unguarded moments that have come to define who and what they are. And while all families like to believe they are special, round that kitchen table over all those years we also see played out our own hopes and fears, rivalries and tensions – the essential nature of family life.


The Color Purple – Alice Walker

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Set in the deep American South between the wars, The Color Purple is the classic tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.

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