I always mean to write long reviews of the incredible books that I’m reading but somehow, what with writing, looking after a toddler – and getting the reading done – I never quite manage it. All the same, these books deserve a shout out, so here they are. Enjoy!
It Looks Like This by Rafi Mittlefeld
My current read – found by browsing in my local bookstore, Gibsons. A coming of age, Young Adult novel about a young boy coming to terms with his sexuality. One of the great LGBTQ books out for young people at the moment.
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
I’ve read more memoirs in the last few months that I have in years. This came highly recommended as a book that would give me an insight into the current political climate and why so many people voted differently from how I would have voted, had I been an an American. I real insight into the plight of the white, working class poor in America.
The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
Anne Tyler is one of my all time favourite writers. Reading her is like watching Federer play tennis: it looks effortless. She captures the human spirit perfectly. This is the moving story of a marriage and the way a couple comes to terms with the loss of a child. I’ve been saving it up for years but when I came across it in the Ohrstrom Library at St. Paul’s School, NH, where I live, I couldn’t resist. I think it’s one of her very best. I recently interviewed the author Keren David and this is the book she wishes she’d written.
The Sellout by Paul Beatty
A courageous, humorous and satirical state of the nation book: the first American author to win The Booker Prize. An incredibly clever writer.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
When Hugh came back from interviewing at St. Paul’s last summer, her brought back Rainbow Rowell’s brilliant Eleanor & Park and gave me this as a follow-up. A real insight into the power of fan-fiction for young people but, even more importantly, the power of falling in love for the first time. Rainbow Rowell captures the teenager’s heart like few other YA writers scribbling today.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty
Another memoir. A brave look at the death industry, in particular cremation, through the eyes of a young woman who has devoted her life to challenging our difficult relationship with death. Her sense of humour and her ability to look at stark, uncomfortable truths about mortality is brilliant.
This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell
One of my favourite writers from the other side of the pond. Her ability to capture family dramas is wonderful.
How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran
I’m thrilled that Caitlin Moran is becoming more popular in the US. Her views on feminism could not be more timely. Her ability to explore women’s issues with humour is a breath of fresh air, as is her unrelenting optimism.
The Memory Of Things by Gae Polisner
I saw this book reviewed and bought it to help with my research on amnesia – the subject of my fourth adult novel, just completed. It’s a wonderful Young Adult novel set during 9/11: a young boy finds a girl, covered in ash, wearing angel wings – she hadn’t got a clue who she is or where she’s from. The relationship that unfolds, with the tragic backdrop of the attack on the twin towers, is told with great sensitivity and warmth.
Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
I loved Where D’you Go Bernadette and this takes off right where that novel left off. Temple’s voice is wonderful: funny, irreverent and truthful. As a writer and the mother of a toddler – and another little girl on the way – I love her comments on motherhood.
Through The Mirror Door by Sarah Baker
This middle grade novel was written by my wonderful writing friend, Sarah Baker. It’s a book I’d recommend widely to parents and children between the ages of 7-10. It’s charming, contemporary but also feels like a classic. It reminded me of the books of my childhood, like The Secret Garden.