Woman in Bombed-Out Apartment, 1945 by Emma Venables
March 18, 2019
The divisive rise of Insta-poetry
March 20, 2019

March Reads

Another diverse selection with, I would hope, something for everyone. Enjoy.



"Domestic noir for the #metoo movement, Blood Orange is a dark page turner of a thriller. Alison is a young criminal barrister, over the moon to land her first murder trial though something about the defendant’s story seems off. Struggling to juggle the demands of her career alongside her role as a wife and mother, plus a torrid affair with her instructing solicitor, Alison’s life is spiralling out of control." - Louise Hare

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce


"This must be Kate Atkinson’s best novel. It is as well written and cleverly crafted as its companion piece, “Life After Life,” but it’s less gimmicky, playing with chronology in a way which absorbs the reader and creates tension. A peripheral character from the earlier novel, this is Teddy’s life story. Teddy’s war, its aftermath, and his difficult relationship with his daughter Viola form the focus of the novel. It is often funny, always poignant and ultimately, surprising." - Elinor Johns

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson


"As with The Stranger’s Child, a cumbersome structure – four period settings, each with a new set of characters – gives this a stop-start feel, but persevere and you are rewarded with resonant portrayal of gay lives over three generations. In beautifully crafted sentences, Hollinghurst captures a particular kind of English fastidiousness, even if the female characters are somewhat underwritten." - James Kennedy

The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst


"I've challenged myself to read one short story a day for a whole year and this book has really helped me to keep going. There are some creative writing class classics in here (like Flannery O'Connor), but there are also some authors I've not really engaged with before (like Saki). The collection ranges from the Brother's Grimm to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, stopping by Eudora Welty and JG Ballard along the way. Every story comes with a brief introduction to the author. I feel like anyone who is serious about writing short stories should have a book like this on their shelf." - Melanie Jones

That Glimpse of Truth: The 100 Finest Short Stories Ever Written - Chosen by David Miller


"Personal essays on writing, roses, queer identity and work. Chee writes wisely and intimately from his life. Impressive, honest and hopeful. Some great advice too: "Your imagination needs to be broken in, I think, to become anywhere near as weird as the world."" - Kate Ellis

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee


"No one writes a love story better than Baldwin. Fonny and Tish are in love and expecting their first baby. But Fonny is in a New York jail, awaiting trial for a rape he didn’t commit, victim of a racist cop. The victim has fled to Puerto Rico and Fonny’s alibi has been discredited. What should be a depressing tale is somehow full of hope." - Louise Hare

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin


"This is the paperback equivalent of an action adventure movie. Brookmyre’s hero Jack Parlabane is a bit like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, but more credible, funnier, and more obviously left wing. Brookmyre creates far more satisfying complex plots and three-dimensional characters than many other thriller writers I’ve read. Suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ride!" - Elinor Johns

Dead Girl Walking by Chris Brookmyre


"A book that lives up to its subtitle – The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War – this is the story of Oleg Gordievsky, the KGB Colonel who defected to the West in 1985. Macintyre, a master storyteller, has you hooked from the start and never lets up, combining all the essentials of a good thriller with an insight into the East-West relations immediately prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Thatcher declared Gorbachev a man she could ‘do business with’ largely on the back of what Gordievsky had told her." - James Kennedy

The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre