James Wood’s annual list of literary discoveries from the past year is always an interesting read. This year he has chosen four books that he feels deserve more attention (particularly in America, from where he’s writing). I was drawn to his review of Jenny Erpenbeck’s Go, Went, Gone, a book I’ve been circling in the bookshops without actually picking up. Perhaps because I found Erpenbeck’s previous novel The End of Days so excruciatingly sad? There’s nothing wrong with the quality of her writing, though, and Wood’s prediction (‘When she wins the Nobel Prize in a few years’) will probably come true. I think I will give it a go anyway. See what else Wood is suggesting here.
David Bowie’s son Duncan has just launched a book club in honour of his late father. Bowie’s list of top 100 books was first published at the time of the Victoria & Albert Museum’s exhibition in London a few years ago and, now, Duncan is making a book club out of the list. First up, Peter Ackroyd’s Hawksmoor. Read it by 1 February and join the discussion on Duncan’s Twitter account @ManMadeMoon. Predictably, the list spans a wide range of authors, genres and countries. Many well known titles here (Sarah Water’s Fingersmith, Money by Martin Amis, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (of course!), Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, but also a whole lot of books I’ve never heard about before. Inspiring!
Finding beautiful books to give as presents used to be tricky. Not any longer. The arrival of e-books seemed to have propelled publishers into spending more thought and money on striking book covers. So walking into a well-stocked bookstore these days is no longer only a treat for your mind but a feast for your eyes as well. The bookshops are brimming with temptations: colourful, intelligent, artistic even tactile book covers. Combine that with some clever content and you’re in gift heaven. If there ever was a place you could kill off that Christmas shopping list with one stab, it’s in a bookshop.
What better way to spend a dark October evening than reading a spine-chilling ghost story? Or even reading one aloud to your family? Many of them are short so you don’t need to scare yourself for days on end. We have selected our favourites and, if you want to freak out your children too, we have some for them as well…
A truly original and brave choice by the Man Booker Prize judges this year. Lincoln in the Bardo is a challenging but beautiful and utterly original novel that deserves to be read. Read our full review here.
The Guardian has made a comprehensive and very useful list of 100 books that have shaped our modern world. Now this might sound unbearably dry to some of you (as it did to me) and there are few beach reads here but the way this list is divided into sub-lists ensures that there’s something for everyone. Have a browse and be inspired. Thank you The Guardian!