Ten of the best of my reading in fiction and five of non-fiction.
- The Trees (2022) Percival Everett. A detective novel that is harrowing and hilarious. Inspired by the real-life 1955 lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Money, Mississippi. Literary fiction.
- Maps of our Spectacular Bodies (2022) Maggie Mortimer. A woman’s life told in part through the voice of the cancer which kills her. Lyrical literary fiction.
- Demon Copperhead (2022) Barbara Kingsolver. Coming-of-age during the opioid crisis: David Copperfield relocated to the 1990s Appalachians. Literary Fiction.
- Babysitter (2022) Joyce Carol Oates. Craving an identity of her own, the wife of an affluent businessman embarks on an affair with an enigmatic stranger. A hustler has ambitions to make something of himself. A serial killer known only as Babysitter preys upon young boys. These three lives intersect in 1970s Detroit, a city festering with patriarchy and racism. Power is all in this suspenseful thriller. Literary Fiction.
- The Slowworm’s Song (2022) Andrew Miller. An ex-soldier and recovering alcoholic is summonsed to an enquiry in Belfast about the Troubles. Literary Fiction.
- The Lucky Ones (2017) Julianne Pachico. Vibrant interconnected short stories, set in Colombia. Literary fiction.
- Outline (2014) Rachel Cusk. A woman writer goes to Athens to teach a writing course and becomes the audience to a chain of narratives, as the people she meets tell her one after another the stories of their lives. Literary Fiction.
- Checkout 19 (2022) Claire-Louise Bennett. The artist as a young woman. Bildungsroman Literary Fiction.
- Shadowplay (2019) Joseph O’Connor. Fictionalisation of Bram Stoker’s struggles to create Dracula while working as theatre manager for Henry Irving. Witty, bitchy. Historical fiction.
- Cotillion (1953) – Georgette Heyer. Kitty must marry one of her guardian’s nephews to inherit his fortune. Hilarious. Regency Romance.
- Where I end and you begin: a memoir (2022) Leah McLaren. A mother-daughter relationship with few rules and no boundaries. Memoir.
- Blurb your enthusiasm: an A-Z of literary persuasion (2022) Louise Willder. Book blurbs, how to write them, and how we read them. Literary theory.
- Faith, Hope & Carnage (2022) Nick Cave & Sean O’Hagan. The musician talks faith, art, music, freedom, grief and love. Memoir.
- Getting Lost (2022) Annie Ernaux (transl. Alison L. Strayer). The author’s journal of her 18-month affair with a younger, married Russian diplomat. Powerful writing, loaded with raw emotion. Memoir.
- The Insect Crisis: the fall of the tiny empires that run the world (2022) Oliver Milman. What is causing the collapse of the insect world? Why does this alarming decline pose such a threat to us? And what can be done to stem the loss of the miniature empires that hold aloft life as we know it? Natural Science.