Each month our fiction book clubs meet to discuss a book. We never read the same writer twice, and I try to select things that are wildly different to the previous months. I want to challenge readers to try something new.
The most frequent feedback is "I never would have picked this for myself but I'm so glad I read it".
Here's the 2020 list so far...
Tom Barbash£8.99 £8.36
January: Can you imagine living in the Dakota Building at the same time as John and Yoko? Tom Barbash did and he wrote a beautiful novel about what that might have been like. He also wrote a moving picture of what it's like to grow up in the shadow of a celebrity father and the complex nature of noticing your heroes fragility. Family, responsibility, music and culture all Come Together (sorry) in this lovely novel that's ultimately about love. Of course it is. Love is all you need, etc.
Kiley Reid£12.99 £12.08
February: A proper book-club book full to brimming with things to unpack in lively discussions. It's a phenomenal achievement that it's wrapped in such a vibrant and entertaining novels. Characters to love and characters to hate, then love, then maybe hate again.
Rosamund Lupton£8.99 £8.36
March: Read it in real time but remember to take a breath! Heart-stopping action as a hostage negotiation unfolds. It's dramatic and tender, cinematic and intimate. Everyone loved it.
INGRID PERSAUD£14.99 £13.94
April: A breathtaking story of the family you find. Filled with colour, and food and warmth, this story is split between Trinidad and New York and it swept us right up in it's loving arms. Persaud has given us characters that will last a lifetime. HARD recommend. A contender for the book of the year.
Rachel Cusk£8.99 £8.36
May: Writers writing about writing causes gets some people's back up and the unusual format of this novel makes it a bit of a marmite work, but our groups enjoyed the thought-provoking nature of the questions posed and the resulting discussions were lively and interesting. Cusk is a gifted writer and this ambitious project is worth dedicating some real time to.
Lily King£14.99 £13.94
June: A quiet crowd-pleaser here. It actually does exactly what it says on the tin (writers, fall in love) and yet the quality of the writing elevates this to a sweeping love song to art and creation, class and the conflicts of a heart's desire. Writers and readers and lovers, loved it.
CATHERINE LACEY£12.99 £12.08
July: Don't be followed by its slim appearance - this novel is thick with intrigue, mystery and questions to ponder. Challenge your own responses to the sudden arrival of 'Pew'. It's a fascinating reading experience and Catherine Lacey is a writer our groups were keen to explore further as a result of this ominous novella. Some members even read it again straight away! A fantastic conversation starter for book clubs.
Bethan Roberts£8.99 £8.36
August: Love Elvis? Hate Elvis? Not bothered by Elvis at all? Doesn't matter. This is a masterclass in absorbing writing; immediately transporting, visual and memorable. I loved this moving portrait of Elvis's mother, Gladys and the complex relationship she had with the King of Rock n Roll. One of the most enjoyable reads of the year.
Here is the Beehive: Shortlisted for Popular Fiction Book of the Year in the AN Post Irish Book Awards
Sarah Crossan£12.99 £12.08
September: A novel in verse about grief in hiding. Lots of our members really loved this clever book, told in snapshots and moments it documents a secret affair and the tragic aftermath of its sudden end. Don't be put off by the white space on the page - let these little stanzas buzz in front of your eyes. You'll want to read everything Sarah Crossan writes (and we'd highly recommend you do!).
DAISY JOHNSON£14.99 £13.94
October: Unnerving sisters, a mother in the shadows, an unsettled house and a mystery to unpick. A short and spooky read that might just take your breath away, perfect to stay up with on a dark autumn night.
Benjamin Myers£8.99 £8.36
Rumaan Alam£14.99 £13.94