Name: Peter Wild
Just Finished: Perfidia by James Ellroy. When Fran reviewed this for us he found it a slog and it’s certainly demanding but I love James Ellroy, he is absolutely unique and each new book feels like one more floor in an absolute edifice of alternative history. By which I mean to say I liked it.
On The Go: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Review coming soon.
Up Next: 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster. Properly excited…
Name: Dan Carpenter
Just Finished: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. It’s as good as everyone says it is. Springsteen is a terrific writer, and his autobiography is full of deep thought, heart and soul.
On The Go: Tenth of December by George Saunders. Fantastic short fiction. I’d heard about, but not read any of Saunders’ work before, but it lives up to the hype, and then some.
Up Next: The Yips by Nicola Barker. One of the last of Barker’s novels for me to read, which feels like a bit of a bittersweet event for me. She’s one of the most unique voices in British literature.
Name: Lucille Turner
Just Finished: Britain BC by Francis Pryor. Absolutely superb book about ancient Britain from year zero to the Roman period. Pryor punctuates his account with amusing anecdotes, often about himself and other equally ‘spade-type’ archaeologists, and always takes a step back to put things in the larger context – for me a vital part of any historical account.
On The Go: SPQR, A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard. So far so good. Bit of a slow read though…
Up Next: The Rise of the Vampire, by Erik Butler. Bought for a song online out of curiousity.
Name: Lucy Chatburn
Just Finished: Elena Ferrante, The Days of Abandonment. Good, but preferred her later novels.
On The Go: Margaret Atwood, Hag-Seed. Never got my head round Shakespeare so this modern reworking is just the job.
Up Next: Elif Shafak, The Architect’s Apprentice. Promises a vivid recreation of Ottoman Istanbul.
Name: Joe Phelan
Just Finished: Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere by Jan Morris
On The Go: Hidden Dublin: Deadbeats, Dossers and Decent Skins by Frank Hopkins
Up Next: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
Name: James Doyle
Just Finished: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. An often brutally revelatory portrait of one woman getting older, coping with loss and her impact on those around her.
On The Go: D.J. Taylor’s The Prose Factory. A group portrait of Britain’s twentieth-century writers and the changes they encountered through the century, full of fascinating snippets of information and observations that could keep a literary-themed QI going for years: Vanity Fair (the great Victorian novel) only sold 10,000 copies in Thackeray’s lifetime.
Up Next: Miss Read, Tyler’s Row. Miss Read’s comic novels of middle England village life in the mid-century have a darker edge than might be supposed from their covers.
Name: Ben Granger
Just Finished: A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. Strings out the mind at times, but brutally engaging, lived up to the Booker-hype for me.
On The Go: The Secret History of Twin Peaks (Mark Frost) (review to follow, soon, honest!), Keeping On Keeping On (Alan Bennett), Tess of the D’Urbervilles (Thomas Hardy).
Up Next: Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (Chris Ware) or maybe Alan Partridge: Nomad
Name: Valerie O’Riordan
Just Finished: amongst a glut of Christmas reads, The Outrun by Amy Liptrot – a memoir that’s at its best when describing the history and geography of the Orkney Islands – and Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, an extraordinary discussion of race in contemporary America.
On The Go: Chelsea Girls by Eileen Myles. Myles is coming to Manchester later this month, so I thought I’d finally check her out. Enjoying it a lot so far.
Up Next: The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney. Echoing Peter, I’m being excited about this one: review to follow later this spring…
Name: Jim Dempsey
Just Finished: The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker. A little too long-winded to push a point made in the first few chapters.
On The Go: The Professor of Truth by James Robertson. Intriguing mix of fact and fiction.
Up Next: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Will 2017 be the year I finally get to it?
Name: Tamim Sadikali
Just Finished: Userlands – New Fiction Writers from the Blogging Underground. Frequently disgusting but also unputdownable.
On The Go: Helping Britain Prosper 1765-2015. The tagline reads ‘..from industrial revolution to digital revolution. A social history of Britain and Lloyds Bank…’, and it should be stomach churning but is actually pretty interesting.
Up Next: Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. Time to find out if the reputation holds up…