Anticipated reads: July-December 2018

My anticipated reading list for the first half of 2018 wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped – I only read four of the five books on the list, and one of those four (Madame Zero) was a bit of a let-down (though I put that more down to the hyperbolic praise I had heard, rather than the quality of Sarah Hall’s writing in itself). Nevertheless, it’s always nice to have something to look forward to, so here are some of my reading plans for the second half of the year.

StevensBleaker House – Nell Stevens
Paperback available now
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have been trying to improve my creative writing over the last year or so. Nell Stevens’ memoir feels like the perfect antidote to those occasional creeping feelings that make me think “well, maybe if I go to a cafe / go to a workshop / pay for an expensive retreat, I’ll be a real writer”.  After finishing her studies, Stevens was offered the chance to travel to a destination of her choice in order to pursue a writing goal. She decided to go to Bleaker Island in the Falklands, believing that all that solitude would give her the perfect opportunity to finish her novel. Spoiler alert: it didn’t.

EphronHeartburn – Nora Ephron
Paperback available now
Call it a craving, but I’ve been wanting to read a lot about food lately (see also Eat Up, below). I hadn’t heard of Nora Ephron’s novel before Virago re-released it with a snazzy new cover as part of its 40th Anniversary collectiion, but when I came across a tableful of those Anniversary titles it was Heartburn that drew my attention. A comedic tale about a pregnant food writer coping with her husband’s infidelity, this is certainly a book that appeals to my current tastes.

RossCome Let Us Sing Anyway – Leone Ross
Paperback available now
Leone Ross is one of those writers I spontaneously decided to follow on Twitter before I had even heard of her work. I’m glad I did, as it brought to my attention her short story collection Come Let Us Sing Anyway, which has since gone on to be shortlisted for the Saboteur Award and Salt’s Scott Prize for a Debut Short Story Prize.As it happens, I was also able to attend a short story workshop run by Ross recently, and her storytelling skills were undeniable. All in all, I think it’s about time I read her book.

TandohEat Up – Ruby Tandoh
Hardback available now; paperback out 18th October
As I mentioned in my recent Indie Introductions post about Serpent’s Tail, I’ve been meaning to read Eat Up for a while now. A straight-talking celebration about hunger and food and detaching guilt from the act of eating, it’s the sort of book that we need in a world obsessed with dieting and its modern incarnation: so-called clean eating. Tandoh is a refreshing voice on foodie Twitter, and I am fascinated to read some long-form work from her.

SaadawiFrankenstein in Baghdad – Ahmed Saadawi, trans. Jonathan Wright 
B-format paperback available now; regular size paperback available 6th September
As a fan of Mary Shelley’s 1818 classic – so much so that I wrote about it for my dissertation at uni – the title of Saadawi’s novel called out to me as soon as I saw it, but the premise is what really caught my attention. It follows a scavenger in the Iraqi capital during American operation who stitches together body parts in order to make a whole corpse, so that they might be given a proper burial – and then the corpse goes missing. It sounds like a brave, thought-provoking update that Shelley herself would have approved.



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