Name: Valerie O’Riordan
Just Finished: Alma Cogan, Gordon Burn. Best examination of fame and notoriety and female celebrity that I’ve ever read.
On The Go: Ship of Fools, Katherine Anne Porter. Fantastic prose, acerbic characterisation, politically sharp as anything. Loving it.
Next Up: The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker. Review to follow…
Name: Peter Wild
Just Finished: The Changeling by Joy Williams.
On The Go: Haruki Murakami’s epic 700 page plus Killing Commendatore! Review coming soon.
Next Up: The Man Who Came Uptown by George Pelecanos or After the Fire by Henning Mankell. Haven’t decided yet…
Name: Dan Carpenter
Just Finished: The Changeling by Victor LaValle. I’ve been a big fan of LaValle since I picked up his terrific novel Big Machine. Since then, he’s veered ever more into genre territory, and The Changeling confirms his mastery of the fairy tale. A novel about the anxieties of being a parent, post-natal depression, and toxic masculinity, The Changeling is excellent.
On The Go: In our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne. Finally getting around to this Booker nominated London set novel. A little bit of La Haine, and a lot of working class fiction, so far this is shaping up to be the state-of-the-nation novel that we need.
Next Up: The Bird’s Nest by Shirley Jackson. One of the few Jackson novels that I haven’t read. Jackson, though terrifying, is a comfort read of mine and I cannot wait to delve back into her writing.
Name: James Doyle
Just Finished: Toward the Sea by Stanley Middleton. A retired Latin teacher finds his life changed. I am slowly reading my way through Middleton’s 45 novels, the intensity of their ordinariness makes their description of commonplace life and relationships a threatening place: marriage is described as “They knew each other well enough to realise that they could yet win something, some brief pleasure out of the days of darkness. That contented.”
On The Go: The Priory by Dorothy Whipple. Persephone Books’ most reliably gripping novelist. The Priory is the story of the selfishness and sacrifice of family life: “Children do make you important when you otherwise wouldn’t be.”
Next Up: Anna Burns’ No Bones. The first novel from the Booker-longlisted author.
Name: Jackie Law
Just Finished: Little by Edward Carey. A fictionalised memoir of Anne Marie Grosholtz who would one day become known as Madame Tussaud. Fascinating history but more than that, quite simply darn good storytelling. A contender for my book of the year.
On The Go: Pearls before Poppies by Rachel Trethewey. History of a posh fundraiser during the First World War that grew beyond expectations – I’m reading this in preparation for a book event. Also The White Book by Han Kang (translated by Deborah Smith) which has been languishing on my TBR pile for too long.
Next Up: Bridge of Clay by Marcus Zusak.