Name: Dan Carpenter
Just Finished: Strange Labyrinth by Will Ashon. This is a fascinating look at the history of the hippies, punks, criminals and artists who have inhabited Epping Forest for the past few hundred years. It’s kind of brilliant.
On The Go: Red Shift by Alan Garner. A reread of one of the stranger books from my childhood. Will it be as impenetrable as it was back then? We’ll see.
Up Next: The Night Visitors by Jenn Ashworth and Richard Hirst. Quite excited about this co-written horror novella from Dead Ink. Keep an eye out for my review in the next few weeks!
Name: Ben Granger
Just finished: Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller. Some of the most enthralling writing I have ever experienced, some of the most unpleasant too. Stunning. Also The Medium is the Massage, by Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore. Amazingly prescient, describing how the internet would change the way we see the world, two decades before it was invented! Not bad going.
On The Go: Go Tell it on the Mountain, James Baldwin. Very evocative, using Biblical rhythms for non-Biblical ends. Also The Big Midweek, by Steve Hanley and Olivia Piekarski, so far a very funny, wry and likeable account of a naïve young man coming of age in the wonderful and frightening world of this nation’s greatest band, The Fall. I believe it will get more harrowing as Mark E Smith gets more tyrannical.
Up Next: Look Who’s Back, Timur Vermes. Well I’ll need some light relief after all that….
Name: Lucy Chatburn
Just Finished: Dave Eggers – The Circle. What might happen if Facebook etc get to take over the world. Complex premise but compulsive reading all the same.
On The Go: Jay McInerney – Brightness Falls. I’ve read it before, but opened it again and got pulled in.
Up Next: Jay McInerney – Story of my Life. What I was intending to read before getting sidetracked by Brightness Falls.
Name: Tamim Sadikali
Just finished: Attrib. and other stories by Eley Williams. Timeless story themes wrapped in the most modern of coats. Occasionally brilliant. My review: Irregular tales: A review of Attrib. and other stories by Eley Williams
On The Go: The Spring 2017 issue of Wasafiri magazine, which among some excellent articles, interviews and fiction, includes my reviews of No More Heroes by Stephen Thompson and Closure: Contemporary Black British Stories.
Up Next: Billionaires’ Banquet by Ron Butlin. The tagline is delicious: An immorality tale for the 21st century.
Name: James Doyle
Just finished: The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen. No novelist better captures the sense, and fear, of how much stays the same in the midst of change. As a young woman discovers while the Irish War of Independence takes place off-stage.
On the Go: The Old Wives Tale by Arnold Bennett. An Edwardian page-turner, the lives of two sisters over 50 years. There are moments when you could swear that Kurt Vonnegut stole material from Bennett, they share an ironic mood and anarchic sense of humour.
Up Next: My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. It will be an emotionally demanding, and satisfying, tale of a hospital-bound woman coming to understand her mother after decades apart. Strout’s clarity of expression is remarkable.
Name: Joe Phelan
Just Finished: My Golden Trades by Ivan Klima – Klima was officially a banned writer in Czechoslovakia during the 1980’s. Each story in this collection centres on an occupation he was forced to endure/take up during this time.
On The Go: Vessel and Solsvart by Berit Ellingsen – A collection of short stories in the dark fantasy genre. Lyrical, frightening but always utterly memorable. From a writer who deserves much wider recognition.
Next Up: Our Dead World by Liliana Colanzi – The collision of worlds, both native and colonial. The interaction between conscious and subconscious. A collection of short stories by young Bolivian writer Lilian Colanzi.
Name: Lucille Turner
Just read: The Lonely City by Olivia Laing. A real pleasure to read; a lyrical and thought-provoking journey into what it means to be lonely, and how we deal with it
On The Go: The Roman Army at War, by Adrian Keith Goldsworthy. Needing to get my legions in order for a work in progress.
Next Up: On the Trail of the Grail, by Svetislav Basara. Nice title!
Name: Valerie O’Riordan
Just read: Making Space by Sarah Tierney. A debut novel set in Manchester; my old road gets a name-check, which is always gratifying.
On The Go: The Blood Miracles, by Lisa McInerny. Second time I’ve read this proof copy, but I’m interviewing her soon, and anyway, it’s bloody brilliant (see what I did there?).
Next Up: How To Be A Machine, by Mark O’Connell. Non-fiction about transhumanism. I’m intrigued.
Name: Peter Wild
Just read: Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers. Reminded me a lot of Kelly Reichardt’s movie, Certain Women. I also just read the reissue of James Sturm’s Jewish baseball graphic novel, The Golem’s Mighty Swing. Review soon.
On The Go: Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor. I’ve not read a Jon McGregor since If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things (which I remember enjoying immensely) and Reservoir 13 is doing a great job of making me wish I’d read all of his other books as they appeared. I’ve also got Sherrill Tippins’ Inside the Dream Palace – The Life and Times of New York’s legendary Chelsea Hotel on the go. Lots of fun.
Next Up: Next up will be Richard Ford’s parental memoir, Between Them.