This is not a summer reading list, and it’s crime-heavy, but here are some books I’ve really enjoyed recently (in no order, despite the numbers).
1. This House of Grief by Helen Garner, which I’ve already written about here. Honestly, one of the best works of non-fiction that I’ve ever read in my whole liiiiife.
2. Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel. On paper, literally the opposite of what I’d ever pick up – dystopian, post-apocalyptic, featuring a troupe of not only thesps but Shakespearian thesps. In the flesh, unputdownable, plus lives in your head for weeks (months? years?) after you finish it. It’s an absolutely beautiful book and really it’s about people, love, hope and what endures. I will eat my hat if you start reading and think ‘Nah, I hate it’.
3. Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Cazalet Chronicles. I am re-reading these at the moment and they are pure comfort-reading joy. A real treat if you’re coming at them for the first time.
4. Ditto the whole of Mapp and Lucia, by EF Benson, which I re-read a few months ago, HOWLING with laughter throughout. Almost unbearably funny, to me.
5. Anything by Liane Moriarty. She has a new one out called The Last Anniversary which I’ve got queued up on my Kindle, but I love anything she’s ever written. She is completely marvellous – so, so funny about women, marriages, families, children but also razor-sharp and deeply affecting. Writes like a dream, and they’re page-turny. If she was a man and didn’t have wafty covers everybody would be bending the knee and showering her with prizes.
6. The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney. Psychological thriller set in Brighton. Woman in seriously toxic marriage. One of those books you devour in two gulps.
7. After The Crash by Michel Bussi. Huge bestseller in France. Plane crash (in 1980, before DNA testing), everybody dies, one baby survives. Two couples with a baby were on board. Whose family does the surviving baby belong to, the Poor But Nices or the Rich But Monstrouses? Plus, murders. Vg.
8. The Crooked House by Christobel Kent. God, I literally could not put this down. Teenage girl hides upstairs as someone massacres her entire family. Fast forward and she has a new name and a new identity, and a new boyfriend who invites her to a wedding… which is taking place in the town where the massacre occurred. For various reasons, she can’t not go. At this point you cancel dinner, curl up on the sofa and pull an all-nighter. Christobel Kent is a brilliant writer.
9. As is Louise Doughty, though surely everybody’s read Apple Tree Yard by now. If not, just please go and buy it right this minute.
10. Nora Webster by Colm Toíbín. The best thing he’s ever written, if you ask me. Completely wonderful.
11. I have to do some real work now. List continues in the next few days.