Since we’re now comfortably into the second half of 2017, I’ve been having a think about some of the books that I really want to get my hands on before the year is out. Call it a to-be-bought TBR, perhaps.
Some of the books on this list aren’t out yet; others I’ve been waiting to come out in paperback; and one or two I simply haven’t gotten round to buying yet. By the end of the year, I hope to have them all on my bookshelf.
The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night – Jen Campbell
Hardback available 2nd November; cover TBC
Campbell is a published poet and non-fiction author, but this autumn sees her release her first two works of narrative fiction: a children’s picture book, called Franklin’s Flying Bookshop, and The Beginning of the World…, a collection of short fiction. I have watched Campbell’s Youtube channel for a while now, and I already own her charming guide to bookshops of the world (aptly named The Bookshop Book), which she wrote as part of a Books Are My Bag campaign a few years back. I love short stories, and have no doubt that The Beginning of the World… will be a wonderful, magical read.
A Closed and Common Orbit – Becky Chambers
Hardback and paperback available now
I loved Chambers’ first novel, A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, so much so that I have loaned or gifted that book to several of my sci-fi loving friends since first reading it in early 2016. I’m by far the first person to say that that novel is a spiritual successor to the TV show Firefly, and is refreshingly LGBTQI+ diverse without making said diversity integral to the plot. Her second novel is (quite literally) set in the same universe as her first, and follows a pair of characters whose story begins where Small Angry Planet leaves off.
Flâneuse – Lauren Elkin
Hardback available now, paperback out 27th July
I must say, I geeked out a little when I saw the title of this non-fiction book. One of my first-year modules at university discussed the concept of the ‘flâneur’, a lone wanderer and explorer of urban environments (think Baudelaire). We only briefly touched upon the hypothetical female form of the word; surely a woman would never roam a city’s streets by themselves?! I want to read this book, underline passages of it, and post it back to my first-year tutors.
Born a Crime – Trevor Noah
Hardback available now, paperback out 21st September
I don’t generally read celebrity autobiographies. They just seem as though they will be insubstantial, rushed out to capitalise on said celebrity’s moment of fame. Nevertheless, I am willing to take a risk on Noah. My boyfriend and I regularly watch his Daily Show videos on YouTube, and he comes across as a genuinely intelligent and insightful individual. Even if he weren’t famous, his upbringing would make a fascinating read: a mixed-race child born in the dying days of South Africa’s apartheid era, Noah’s existence was, as the title puts it, a criminal act.
The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead
Hardback and paperback available now
In this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Whitehead imagines the underground railroad as being a physical route that fugitive slaves could use to flee captivity. He uses this allegory to explore the real-life atrocities committed against black people in 19th century America. I’ve been wanting to pick up a copy of the book for a while now, as the concept sounds utterly brilliant and the book has been so highly praised. I’m also curious simply because, when I first heard the about the ‘underground railroad’ at school, I had actually naively imagined a literal set of tunnels used by enslaved people to flee their captors.