MIROnline Team’s Writing Resolutions
January 18, 2019
Deirdre Shanahan discusses her debut novel
January 23, 2019

January Reads

A diverse selection to kick off the new year – there really should be something for everyone. We hope you enjoy them.




"The first in a series of thrillers set in West London, East of Hounslow introduces Jay Qasim, a small-time drug dealer who lives with his mum and only goes to mosque on Friday. Life is pretty good until Jay finds out that MI5 have had their eye on him: they want him to turn informer but he doesn’t know why. Fast paced and funny as well as multi award nominated." - Louise Hare

East of Hounslow by Khurrum Rahman


"Restaurant and TV critic, renowned for his verbosity and demonic wit also writes with spirit and brutal honesty about self-loathing: his battle with alcohol until the age of thirty, his insatiable sexual appetite, the difficulties of being the dyslexic son of an intellectually ambitious father. Detestably arrogant, AA Gill cannot ever be accused of having been a bore." - Stella Klein

Pour me: A Life by AA Gill


"Recent winner of the Costa First Novel Award, this is a dazzling time-travel, body swapping, whodunit that takes a lot from the works of Agatha Christie but brings a new and fresh perspective to the murder-mystery genre. If you're looking for something utterly fun that might get you all tied in knots, then this is the book for you. " - Peter Coles

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton


"Neither England nor Scotland; an in-between place, of both inhospitable moorlands and lush pastures for fattening cattle, peacefully administered for centuries under an independent, indigenous legal system. Then in the sixteenth-century it became strategically important, and the province of reivers, rustlers and blackmailers. A challenging book to wade through; dense as the mosses at the head of the Solway Firth, but in light of current preoccupations with borders and sovereignty, fascinating stuff." - Jupiter Jones

The Debateable Lands by Graham Robb


"With such a dark title, I didn't expect this to be as funny as it was. Told from deep inside the deliciously odd head of an old woman living in the middle of nowhere on a harsh Polish plateau. She battles bitter cold, neighbourhood killings, police indifference, translating Blake and astrology. This is a book about living an honest life, vegetarianism, gender politics, aging, resilience and mental health. It's also a murder mystery." - Kate Ellis

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk


"In her debut collection of essays critiquing our appetite for the "dead girl" trope in popular culture, Bolin is best when writing about her own experiences of girlhood and feminism. Sections on the underbelly of LA, Joan Didion and the true crime phenomenon fall flat and lack the focus they are begging for. Yet her exploration of female empowerment through coming-of-age narratives (her dissection of the 2000 film "Ginger Snaps" is a highlight) and her own experiences of college and being a teenage witch make "Dead Girls" worth the read." - Lauren Miller

Dead Girls by Alice Bolin


"A gently satirical depiction of post-war life for a London-based, church going community. It deals with social expectations and the minutiae of life at a particular time, but its characters’ preoccupations with the pros and cons of marriage, job satisfaction, and fears of loneliness are timeless concerns. There are no car chases, but it’s funny." - Elinor Johns

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym


"Published after Stuart Hall’s death, Familiar Stranger is part memoir, part examination of life in colonial Britain. As the Windrush scandal rumbles on, Hall’s essays examine the sense of displacement that befalls many people who left the British colonies to travel to the mother country." - Louise Hare

Familiar Stranger: A Life Between Two Islands by Stuart Hall