Name: Valerie O’Riordan
Just Finished: Martin John, Anakana Schofield. Fantastic – innovative and funny and very disturbing.
On The Go: My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Ottessa Moshfegh. Sharp and bizarre, just like her earlier work.
Next Up: We That Are Young, Preti Taneja. A King Lear retelling set in India. Really psyched about this one.
Name: Lucy Chatburn
Just Finished: Vernon Subutex 1, Virginie Despentes. Review coming up (spoiler: I loved it)
On The Go: Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami. I haven’t read that much Murakami, but this seems to be one of the more straightforward ones. I’ve read it before, but got pulled in again while tidying my bookshelf. Also reading The Book of Havana, another one up for review.
Next Up: Pastoralia, George Saunders.
Name: James Doyle
Just Finished: Frank O’Connor, Collected Stories. O’Connor’s stories take on a new dimension for every generation, “her cousins, who had never known a well-bred Catholic girl to talk like that, were shocked,” as they revolve around the various forms of independence and entrapment that face O’Connor’s characters.
On The Go: The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollope, financial scandal, happy and unhappy marriages and the problems of a Prime Minister “with a dash of chivalry about him worthy of the old poets.”
Next Up: Stanley Middleton at Eighty: fascinating essays about Stanley Middleton (Booker-prize winning writer of over 40 novels) that gives some biographical background to his writing.
Name: Peter Wild
Just Finished: Tim Winton’s The Shepherd’s Hut
On The Go: Carnet De Voyage, the expanded reissue of Craig Thompson’s graphic travelogue. Review to follow in July. A Good Country by Laleh Khadivi. Missed this in hardback so am circling back around and, as you’d expect, will also review!
Next Up: Bryan Catling’s mighty Vorrh trilogy – The Vorrh, The Erstwhile & The Cloven. Over 1,500 pages of fantasy. I expect to be a changed man when I’m done.
Name: Joe Phelan
Just Finished: Ghosts on the Shore by Paul Scraton. The author travels along Germany’s Baltic coastline. Along the way he relates the region’s past from the development of holiday towns to the aftermath of the fall of the DDR. Melancholic and informative.
On The Go: Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson. The third novel in the Sprawl trilogy. The writing is astounding, the concept jaw dropping. Hard to believe this was written in 1988. Gibson’s vision still resonates today.
Next Up: Babylon Berlin by Volker Kutscher. Set in Weimer Germany in 1929, this is the first in a series of crime novels featuring Detective Inspector Gereon Rath. Kutscher charts a democratic Germany’s slide toward Nazism.
Name: Tamim Sadikali
Just Finished: How To Be Human by Paula Cocozza. From one angle, the story of a woman’s unlikely friendship with a fox – and from another, it’s about a lonely woman trying to bootstrap her broken life. In terms of its ‘arc’, this reminded me a lot of Kit de Waal’s My Name is Leon: so much to admire on so many levels, only for the shine to be a little dulled by the ‘neatness’ of the ending. Still, for lovers of the beautiful word, one to pick up – the descriptive passages on (wo)man and fox are very special.
On The Go: A State of Freedom by Neel Mukherjee. India past, present and future, the story starts, predictably enough, with the Mughals. Am hoping for some curve balls here…
Next Up: Remnant by Lania Knight. A story set in the not-so-distant future in the American Midwest, after an agricultural collapse. From the author’s website: ‘My first degree is in botany and environmental conservation–I’ve been thinking about our relationship with plants and the land for a very long time, and this book is the result.’
Name: Dan Carpenter
Just Finished: The Electric Michaelangelo by Sarah Hall.
On The Go: The Fountain in the Forest by Tony White.
Next Up: The Shadow Booth Vol 2 by various.
Name: Jackie Law
Just Finished: The Book of Havana, a short story anthology and the latest in Comma Press’s A City in Short Fiction series. Some strong writing and educative but rather too much vividly described sex for my tastes.
On The Go: Brexit & Ireland by Tony Connelly. Detailed and informative if a bit dry so far. Balancing this with a reissued edition of Thank You Jeeves by P.G Wodehouse. Good to revisit Jeeves and Wooster after many years.
Next Up: The Hope Fault by Tracy Farr. Enjoyed her previous novel so looking forward to this.