Name: Valerie O’Riordan
Just Finished: The Mars Room, Rachel Kushner. Loved it – review to follow.
On The Go: The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula LeGuin. It’s pretty ridiculous that I haven’t read this before, but I’m rectifying it now! So far, so good.
Next Up: Aliens & Anorexia, Chris Kraus. Can’t wait!
Name: Lucy Chatburn
Just Finished: Libby Page, The Lido. A sweet story about a lonely millennial who teams up with an octogenarian to save Brockwell Lido from fictitious redevelopment.
On The Go: Mark Tully, India: The Road Ahead. State of the nation essays by long time resident and former BBC India correspondent. Feels a bit like coming to the conversation half way through – I’m wondering if I needed to start with one of his other books.
Next Up: Carol Shields, The Stone Diaries. May have already started on this because the Mark Tully’s going slowly and I couldn’t wait…
Name: Jackie Law
Just Finished: Ironopolis by Glen James Brown and Missing by Alison Moore. Both strong fiction, both recommended.
On The Go: Linescapes by Hugh Warwick. Non-fiction – interesting perspective on the development of the British landscape.
Next Up: How The Light Gets In by Clare Fisher and Lucia by Alex Pheby. New releases from both authors – I’ll be attending events featuring them at the Greenwich Book Festival in mid-June.
Name: Dan Carpenter
Just Finished: All the Devils are Here by David Seabrook. A very strange, evocative psychogeographical exploration of the Kent coast. It’s a disorientating book, full of fictional conversations, ghosts and haunted by the good old days. It’s quite brilliant.
On The Go: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin. Ruth Franklin’s masterful biography of Shirley Jackson makes a strong case for ‘The Lottery’ author being one of the greatest American authors of all time. Jackson’s writing (both published and private) is witty, sharp and scary, and her path to publication is beset on all sides by men who think they know far, far better than her. At least she proved them wrong in the end.
Next Up: My to-read pile is starting to bulge a little too much with submissions for The Kitschies awards. I can’t tell you what’s coming in, but I’m going to be delving into those for the next few months.
Name: Peter Wild
Just Finished: You Were Never Really Here by Jonathan Ames. Recently adapted into a movie by Lynne Ramsay and rather unfairly treated in a lot of reviews, as if Ramsay spun gold from something subpar. She didn’t. Great book.
On The Go: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara. Ferocious true crime that is as much about the late author and her obsessions as it is about a monster.
Next Up: Room to Dream by David Lynch and Kristine McKenna.
Name: Tamim Sadikali
Just Finished: The Sound of My Voice by Ron Butlin. The very definition of a slow-burner, this novel sank without trace when first published in 1987. It’s now on its fifth run, and with good reason – the story of an alcoholic, it is simple, visceral and forever ‘now’.
On The Go: How To Be Human by Paula Cocozza. A deep-dive into the psyche of a strange & troubled woman. Has been shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018.
Next Up: A State of Freedom by Neel Mukherjee. A story set in and about modern India.
Name: James Doyle
Just Finished: Helen with the High Hand by Arnold Bennett. The stylish young Helen moves in with her elderly step-uncle but “Uncle and I haven’t quite decided whether he is to have his way or I am to have mine.” Romance, comedy and Bennett’s ironic portrayal of life in the Five Towns.
On The Go: Barbara Pym’s A Few Green Leaves. Pym’s last novel, life in a small village as it encounters change: “one goes on living in the hope of seeing another spring.”
Next Up: Ask the Dust by John Fante. Re-reading one of the great LA novels. An ambitious young writer falls in love and struggles to impress a waitress: “Even the poetry of Ernest Dowson had no effect on her, not even Dowson.”
Name: Joe Phelan
Just Finished: Cove by Cynan Jones. A short intense novella. Lyrical and mesmerising.
On The Go: Zero Hours by Neil Campbell. The post-brexit literary scene in Manchester. Am reviewing this for Bookmunch. So far so good and that’s an understatement.
Next Up: Prague Fatale by Philip Kerr. A detective novel by the recently deceased Philip Kerr. September 1941 and Bernie Gunther haunts the streets of Berlin and Prague on the hunt of a killer.