Best Books 2019 by Emily Harrison

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It’s a neat little ritual, thinking about the best books I’ve read over the last year. It’s also hard to whittle it down to a manageable list. It’s also hard to remember what I’ve read half the time. With that in mind, perhaps the list then writes itself – if I can remember it, then it’s stayed with me for a reason (all positive, mostly). A few of the books on here are thanks to STORGY themselves, who send me all kinds of things to review, and nearly always send me something that’s spectacular. There’s one too, that was recommended to me by a work friend, and now I’m recommending it too.

Please Read This Leaflet Carefully – Karen Havelin

I reviewed this for STORGY earlier in the year, and it’s maybe, just maybe, the best book I’ve read and reviewed all year, for different reasons. It echoes life in a way that is tangible and speaks on topics and themes that grip with intensity, specifically what it’s like to live as a woman with chronic illness. I read it in one sitting. It’s clever. It’s powerful. It’s well written. Go and read it.

Read my review here.

Melting Point – Baret Magarian

I reviewed this one for STORGY too. In fact, to take the first few lines from my review – ‘Melting Point’ is an odd collection, to say the least. Though here, ‘odd’ isn’t to be taken as a negative, rather, what makes ‘Melting Point’ so strangely enjoyable is its oddities – it’s whispered moments of surrealism and shouted moments of the humorous absurd.’ In other words, ‘Melting Point’ is a great collection of short stories. It dips you head-first into the unpredictable, and it’s one of the best collections I’ve had the pleasure to read all year.

Read my review here.

Forty Autumns – Nina Willner

I should start by saying that I have an enduring fascination with Berlin, and it is because of that fascination that I was recommended Forty Autumns; a memoir than chronicles the life of a family separated for forty years by the Iron Curtain. Perhaps more than just a memoir, it’s a deep insight into division, into resilience, and what it means to love across division. I’m not usually one for reading memoirs, but Forty Autumns is riveting. The author, Nina Willner, is a former intelligence officer who ran operations in East Berlin during the Cold War. If that’s not enough to pique interest, I don’t know what is.

Oryx and Crake ­– Margaret Atwood

I was a latecomer Atwood’s 2003 novel. Another book I was sent to review by STORGY (and a Folio Society edition, no less) the novel is everything you’d expect of Atwood. Dystopian, speculative, romance (sort of), and pushing the boundaries of post-apocalyptic visions, Oryx and Crake is a roller-coaster of a read – so many ideas, occasionally too little time, it twists and turns from beginning, middle, to the very end.

Read my review here.

 

 

The BBC National Short Story Award 2019 Anthology – various authors

The BBC National Short Story Award always promises a lot, and it delivers too. As a huge fan of short fiction – more so than novel length (does that make me a bad person?), each inclusion in the anthology is of deserving merit, with the winning story, ‘The Invisible’ by Jo Lloyd, setting alight the touch paper on what it means to write great, seductive, intriguing, short fiction.

Read my review here.

Cover image by EliFrancis

You can read all our FESTIVE FLASH stories from the STORGY Advent Calendar here

The Annihilation Radiation Short Story Competition is now open for entries.

1st Prize – £500

2nd Prize – £100

3rd Prize – £50

Closing date – 31st January 2020

Finalists will be published in ANNIHILATION RADIATION

£10 Entry Fee

For more details click here!

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