March: On The Pile

Name: Lucy Chatburn
Just Finished: Zadie Smith, NW. Second time round: I’d forgotten how good it is! Ooh, it’s gone all progressive. Was that really necessary? Or is she just having fun? Oh, right, so that’s what’s going on. Duh. Must pay more attention.
On The Go: Jean Echenoz, We Three. Review coming up soon.
Up Next: Angela Carter’s book of Fairy Tales. Some seriously weird fairy tales from around the world, curated by Angela Carter. Probably not suitable for children.

Name: Peter Wild
Just Finished: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
On The Go: All the Beloved Ghosts by Alison Macleod
Up Next: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. Whoop whoop!

Name: Valerie O’Riordan
Just Finished: The Witchfinder’s Sister, Beth Underdown. Massively gripping and beautifully written historical/literary debut novel. Have you seen The Witchfinder General? Well, it’s about that guy – get on it!
On The Go: Hangsaman, Shirley Jackson. Haven’t warmed to it as quickly as to some of her stuff, but I’ve heard great things so I’m sticking with it.
Up Next: Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders. Like Peter says: whoop whoop!

Name: James Doyle
Just Finished: William Boyd’s Sweet Caress, a war photographer experiences some of the key events of the twentieth-century while “Time is a racehorse, eating up the furlongs, as it gallops towards the finish line.” A thoughtfully gripping page-turner.
On The Go: Stepping Westward by Malcolm Bradbury. James Walker, an English novelist, “that kind of Englishman who seems to have been rained on too much”, goes to the USA and encounters the sexual freedom of the 1960s before asking himself: “Is the freedom all you wanted?”
Up Next: Sara Baume’s spill simmer falter wither. I have an impression of Sara Baume as a combination of John McGahern and W.G. Sebald, hard to see how that can fail.

Name: Dan Carpenter
Just Finished: Pseudotooth by Verity Holloway. A rather wonderful gothic fantasy novel published by the ever excellent Unsung Stories.
On The Go: Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous by Gabriella Coleman. A fascinating book about the inception and growth of the Anonymous movement. The chapter on the Tunisian protests and the start of the Arab spring is absolutely brilliant.
Up Next: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. George Saunders has a new book out, why wouldn’t it be the next thing on my list?

Name: Joe Phelan
Just Finished: SS-GB by Len Deighton. With all the hype about the tv series, I decided to read the book. Not disappointed. Alternative history. Britain has lost the war and now languishes under the nazi jackboot. A who done it which transmogrifies into an espionage classic.
On The Go: Vermilion Sands by JG Ballard. A collection of short stories set in the futuristic resort of Vermilion Sands. Ballard surpasses himself with images conjured form a  low intensity nightmare. A world populated by cloud sculptures, singing statues and lunatic, narcissistic celebrities.
Up Next: The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien. Required reading for my bookclub. Described as being a surreal comedy or a love story between a man and his bicycle. What wonders await between the pages?

Name: Lucille Turner
Just Finished: The Ravenmaster’s Boy by Mary Hoffman – Out next month: great for young adult history fans. Slipping by John Toomey – having a mid-life crisis? This is your book. [Reviews coming very soon!]
On The Go: Inside Syria by Reese Erlich – I feel, in reading this, how totally blind I have been to the reality of what Syria was, and is…
Up Next: The Lonely City by Olivia Laing. Can’t wait for it to arrive…

Name: Fran Slater
Just Finished: Darkmans by Nicola Barker. Although, ‘just finished’ would be a lie. Replace with ‘Just gave up on’. And I don’t give up on many books. I read 400 pages of nothing happening and couldn’t face another 400, especially when written in a style I struggled to warm to. I’ll be having words with the folk who recommended it to me: you know who you are.
On The Go: Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala. A very devastating memoir by a woman who lost her entire family in the Indian Ocean Tsunami that struck Sri Lanka. Beautifully written and brilliant, but will destroy anyone who isn’t completely hard hearted.
Up Next: The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner. Currently trying to clear the shelves of unread books and this one has been there the longest. Hoping it lives up to my expectations.

Name: Jim Dempsey
Just Finished: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I struggled with it for a month before finally giving up. Even though the writing is wonderful, the story didn’t grab me enough, not as much as my current ‘on the go’…
On The Go: Moonglow by Michael Chabon. I couldn’t wait any longer to get to this one. Not after reading the Bookmunch review – they really work!
Up Next: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Poor old Don keeps getting pushed back down the pile. Maybe I’ll get the audiobook and take it all in subliminally while I sleep.


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