Our reviewer Joseph Surtees takes us on a whistle-stop tour of the best books he read in 2018 – so here they are, in no particular order.
Days Without End
by Sebastian Barry
There isn’t a bad Sebastian Barry book, but this one’s particularly moving. An exploration of male love set in 19thCentury America, Days without endhas a mesmeric, timeless quality that leaves a deep impression on the reader. Barry’s writing is a constant delight.
by Edward St Aubyn
The first novel in the Patrick Melrose series, Never Mind is strange, brutal and disorientating. You’ll feel bruised after you’ve put this book down, but desperate to pick it back up again later. Recently made into an excellent tv-series starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
Moving The Goalposts
by Anthony Clavane
A powerful exploration of post-1980s Yorkshire, concentrating on its sports teams and their meaning to the communities they represent. But don’t be put off if you’re not a fan of sport (or Yorkshire), Moving the goalposts represents one of the most thoughtful discussions of the impact of Thatcherism on the UK and its ongoing influence.
Sing, Unburied, Sing
by Jesmyn Ward
Devastating and brilliant, you’ll find yourself returning again and again to this novel of family breakdown and lost hope. Not one to read in public if you’re an unattractive crier.
The Light Years
by Elizabeth Jane Howard
Occasionally you read a book and feel sad that you went so many years without finding it. The light years, the first novel in the famous Cazalet chronicles, was one of those for me. A funny, touching, bitter-sweet look at the way a family grows and changes, how hopes are dashed, and opportunities grasped. You won’t be able to stop yourself devouring the next four books in a row.
A Different Kind of Weather
by William Waldegrave
Warning: People will look at you strangely when you tell them you’re reading the autobiography of a minor Minister in a (John) Major government. But ignore the haters, A different kind of weather is a fascinating look at politics, family and the changing nature of English society over the last 40 years.
Twenty-four short stories, exclusive afterwords, interviews, artwork, and more.
From Trumpocalypse to Brexit Britain, brick by brick the walls are closing in. But don’t despair. Bulldoze the borders. Conquer freedom, not fear. EXIT EARTH explores all life – past, present, or future – on, or off – this beautiful, yet fragile, world of ours. Final embraces beneath a sky of flames. Tears of joy aboard a sinking ship. Laughter in a lonely land. Dystopian or utopian, realist or fantasy, horror or sci-fi, EXIT EARTH is yours to conquer.
EXIT EARTH includes the short stories of all fourteen finalists of the STORGY EXIT EARTH Short Story Competition, as judged by critically acclaimed author Diane Cook (Man vs. Nature) and additional stories by award winning authors M R Cary (The Girl With All The Gifts), Toby Litt (Corpsing), James Miller (Lost Boys), Courttia Newland (A Book of Blues), and David James Poissant (The Heaven of Animals), and exclusive artwork by Amie Dearlove, HarlotVonCharlotte, CrapPanther, and cover design by Rob Pearce.
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