February: On the Pile

onthepile_feb

Name: Lucy Chatburn
Just Finished: Mimoun by Rafael Chirbes. Young Spanish teacher loses the plot in a small town in Morocco.
On The Go: I’m Off by Jean Echenoz. This one has been on the shelf for ages, finally got round to it in preparation to review one of his other novels. All a bit Houellebecq so far.
Up Next: NW by Zadie Smith. Rereading whilst waiting for Swing Time to come out in paperback.

Name: Jim Dempsey
Just Finished: The Professor of Truth by James Robertson. After this, I definitely need to check out more of James Robertson’s work.
On The Go: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. If this is the little life, I don’t think I want to see the big one. I’m guessing I’ll have this one on the go next month too.
Up Next: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Still hoping to get to this classic some time soon, but another epic after A Little Life? I wonder.

Name: Dan Carpenter
Just Finished: Nicola Barker’s brilliant novel on celebrity, genital tattooing, golf, and secrets: The Yips.
On The Go: First Love by Gwendoline Riley. Expect a review right here on this site quite soon (spoilers, it’s going to be very positive) [Ed: actually, as Dan is quicker than me, the review preceded this post..]
Up Next: Metronome by Oliver Langmead. Langmead’s last novel from Unsung Stories was a stone cold masterpiece. Early word is that this is just as good. I’m proper excited.

Name: Peter Wild
Just Finished: 4321 by Paul Auster (very enjoyable but ever so slightly not quite as good as I wanted it to be).
On The Go: Moonglow by Michael Chabon (slight in some ways – and overlaps a little with what Auster did in 4321 – but charming and enjoyable and full of good sentences…). [Ed: er, again, tardy posting… review here.]
Up Next: The Blot by Jonathan Lethem (having not truly been on board with Lethem for a bit now, I’m looking for a Lethem book that reaffirms my faith in him…)

Name: Valerie O’Riordan
Just Finished: A Line Made by Walking, Sara Baume. Brilliant stuff, especially if you’re into arty musings.
On The Go: Hame by Annalena McAfee. A doorstopper that’s not really doing it for me so far; review to follow
Up Next: The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerny. Been saying this is ‘up next’ for months now, but this time it really is…

Name: Lucille Turner
Just Finished: The Rise of the Vampire by Erik Butler. Fascinating. Full of strange remarks like this: “Vampire chic looks like the essence of cool, but one should be wary”. Yes, one should.
On The Go: SPQR A History of Ancient Rome – I know it was on last month’s list, but hey, Rome wasn’t read in a day.
Up Next: The Ravenmaster’s Boy by Mary Hoffman. History with a splash of magic and a delicate flick of gore

Name: Joe Phelan
Just Finished: The Islanders by Christopher Priest. The world Christopher Priest evokes is fantastic. This is an amazing body of work as Priest weaves a complicated tapestry of stories and islands together. Up with the very best sci-fi and fantasy.
On The Go: All Names have been Changed by Claire Kilroy. A young man returns to Dublin to fulfil a wish to become a writer. Set in the 1980’s it paints a vivid portrait of his attempts to obtain his dream in a dark, dank, dilapidated Dublin.
Up Next: The File by Timothy Garton Ashe. TGA lived in East Berlin in 1978. 15 years later he returned and discovered that while he lived in there the Stasi, the East German secret police, had him under surveillance. This is what happens after TGA opens his file and discovers who his friends at the time really were.

Name: James Doyle
Just Finished: Factotum by Charles Bukowski. Re-read for the 4th, 5th, perhaps more, time and it’s still my favourite example of Buk’s uncluttered style and equally uncluttered guide to life.
On The Go: The Humbler Creation, Pamela Hansford Johnson. A vicar inn 1950s London realises that he no longer loves his wife and is attracted to someone else, out of this comes an unblinkingly direct picking apart of human emotional needs and their consequences.
Up Next: Paula Spencer by Roddy Doyle. The sequel to the The Woman Who Walked into Doors. Paula is older and Ireland is changing.

Name: Tamim Sadikali
Just Finished: Jerusalem Ablaze by Orlando Ortega-Medina – a rich, diverse and frankly bloody clever collection of short stories, taking the reader from Japan to Israel.
On The Go: ‘Relations’, the latest issue of Critical Muslim magazine (which ahem includes a cracking review of my novel, Dear Infidel).
Up Next: Party Animals by David Aaronovitch. The tagline reads ‘my family and other Communists’, which makes me think of the Gerald Durrell classic, though I’m expecting one or two differences..

Name: Fran Slater
Just Finished: Stephen Baxter’s Wells Estate commissioned sequel to War of The Worlds, The Massacre of Mankind. Fair to say it’s unlikely to be my book of the year (or week) but I won’t say much more for now. A Bookmunch review is imminent.
On The Go: Rereading Stephen King’s Bag of Bones. One of his best.
Up Next: Hawthorn & Child by Keith Ridgeway. It was a Bookmunch book of the year when it came out and it’s been on my shelf ever since. It’ll be coming down shortly and I can’t wait.

 

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