Books that Inspired Lauren John Joseph's 'At Certain Points We Touch'

By Damian Barr's Bookshop

Books that Inspired Lauren John Joseph's 'At Certain Points We Touch'

By Damian Barr's Bookshop

Song Of Solomon

Toni Morrison

£9.99 £9.49

A family history with perverse detailing and flourishes of magical realism, Toni Morrison is capable of writing the big story and the most intimate story simultaneously. She never seems to feel the need to explain anything and her storytelling is all the richer for that.


Olivia Laing

£9.99 £9.49

This sun-drenched shapeshifter eats genre for breakfast. It’s a ludicrously enjoyable way to scare yourself half to death reflecting on your own Todestrieb, as well as being an incredibly playful rumination on identity. I love this book for bucking all expectations, it’s liquid liberation.


Garth Greenwell

£9.99 £9.49

Excoriating and wildly erotic, this book is utterly thrilling, at times terrifying, and finally completely devastating. To have written such a powerful study of power and desire would be accomplishment enough, but to have done it with such honesty and in such peerless prose is frankly just too much. I need to lie down!

In Search of Lost Time: Volume 5: The Prisoner and the Fugitive

Marcel Proust

£9.99 £9.49

Nobody does obsession, jealousy, contempt and grief like our Marcel. The entirety of In Search Of Lost Time is precious to me, but for At Certain Points We Touch, this volume with its slowly unfurling tragedy is key.

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women and Queer Radicals

Saidiya Hartman

£12.99 £12.34

Professor Hartman’s concept of “critical fabulation” has been the most transformative idea in contemporary academia since Judith Butler’s thoughts on performativity. This blend of historical research and narrative reconstruction is a deeply powerful strategy, and brings to life the vivid biographies of African-American women both famed and forgotten, freed from the murk and sensationalisation of the white gaze.

Gilead: An Oprah's Book Club Pick

Marilynne Robinson

£9.99 £9.49

A dying father writes to his child, to pass on his life’s learnings; it may sound morbid, but it’s one of the most miraculous novels of the past 100 years. Read this and feel like you are staring out of a sunlit window at the one that you love.

Vile Bodies

Evelyn Waugh

£9.99 £9.49

Raucous fun with the nastiest of hangovers, Waugh’s pot shots never miss. I tried to channel some of the book’s doom and glamour into At Certain Points We Touch, which may be why some readers have said that the book feels like it has been written by a Bright Young Thing (which indeed it has!)

Go Tell it on the Mountain

James Baldwin

£9.99 £9.49

We are all James Baldwin’s children now, what else can be said about this flaming roman-a-clef? The sexual-spiritual struggle is real.

Lunch Poems: 50th Anniversary Edition

Frank O'Hara

£12.99 £12.34

Witty, mischievous and robustly queer, O’Hara is unafraid to ramp up the camp when necessary. He indulges in a little pop art here and a little philosophy there, muses on love, leaves, and movie stars, following his interests as he will. He is a constant reminder that reading ought to be a pleasure.


Shola von Reinhold

£8.99 £8.54

Everyone who reads this wickedly inventive novel becomes obsessed with it, it’s almost supernatural. It’s also hilariously dry, luxuriously scrawled and relentlessly sardonic, with one of the sweetest romantic sub-plots of all time. Cannot recommend enough.

Jane: A Murder

Maggie Nelson


Through an almost unbearable, harrowing combination of poetry and criminal investigation, Nelson tries to tell the story of the life and death of her aunt who was murdered before her birth. Our daily proximity to horror is never clearer, even as Nelson lovingly tries to give back to her aunt the life she never had.

Unknown Language

Hildegard of Bingen and Huw Lemmey

£13.99 £13.29

I wanted to pick Lemmey’s outrageously good book Chubz: the Demonization of my Working Arse, but disgracefully it’s not listed on Bookshop! So I’ve picked this one instead, which I also like a lot. Everything Huw writes sends me into an erotic frenzy, into a fit of psychedelic musings, and tbqh that is exactly how I want people to feel after reading At Certain Points We Touch.

At Certain Points We Touch

Lauren John Joseph


If you enjoyed this stunning and thoughtful booklist by Lauren John Joseph then consider buying a copy of their book from us to support our work at the Literary Salon. Thank you!

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