Book Review: ‘Three Things About Elsie’ by Joanna Cannon

Jo-Cannon---three-things-about-Elise-2

I found this lovely review on Emma’s Bookish Corner, and I simply had to share. I love Joanna Cannon’s work, and was lucky enough to be present in the room when her first novel The Trouble With Goats And Sheep won at a Literary Festival that ultimately landed her an agent. She is an amazing and inspiring person, and I hope you enjoy this beautiful review of her second novel Three Things About Elsie.


THE BOOK

“There are three things you should know about Elsie.
The first thing is that she’s my best friend.
The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.
And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.”

84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly a man who died sixty years ago?

From the author of ‘The Trouble With Goats and Sheep’, this book will teach you many things, but here are three of them:
1) The fine threads of humanity will connect us all forever.
2) There is so very much more to anyone than the worst thing they have ever done.
3) Even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo.


THE REVIEW

“’No matter how long or short a time you are here, the world is ever so slightly different because you existed.’”

Oh, this book, this lovely lovely book. There are books that move us beyond words. Books that set up home in our hearts. Books that make you see the world that little bit differently. Those are the books that are truly special and ‘Three Things About Elsie’ is one of those books. It is a book that is as wonderful to read as it is to look at. It brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. Thank you Joanna Cannon, for bringing Florence, Elsie and Jack into my life!

At the heart of this book is a tale of friendship, the friendship between Florence (who certainly did not buy those twenty-three Battenberg cakes in her cupboard) and Elsie, (who is ‘difficult to clip’ when having her toenails seen to). And also their friendship with General Jack, one of the rare male Cherry Tree residents. These two ladies have literally been best friend’s the whole of their lives and now they are spending their twilight years at Cherry Tree, sheltered accommodation, full of universal beige and with no actual cherry trees.

“We held hands as we climbed hills, as we waited on pavements, and as we ran through fields, as we held hands as we faced all the things in life we didn’t think we could manage alone.”

I love these two ladies, I can picture them perfectly sitting at Flo’s window, watching possibly spying, on the goings-on in the courtyard. When new resident, Gabriel, arrives at Cherry Tree, a ghost from Florence’s past, our intrepid threesome become determined to prove all is not right. The antics these three get up are so entertaining, they are certainly the troublesome, naughty children of Cherry Tree.

All the characters in this book leap from the page, they are so true to life it’s hard to believe they are fiction. During Florence’s story, we also get to hear a little from Miss Ambrose, who is second in command at Cherry Tree and Handy Simon, the handy man. The addition of these chapters really makes the story feel more whole. We get to see life from Flo’s point of view but also from the view of the people who care for her. This book really does show what life is like in care homes, from the residents to the workers to the visitors. It’s all too easy to forget that old people are still people and they have lived and are still living, Joanna Cannon has looked at this important subject with so much heart and sympathy.

“History is littered with people who achieved great things in old age.”

There are so many moments I adored when reading this. My copy is covered with post-its! There are moments where I laughed aloud, many moments when I laughed aloud actually. There are moments I cried. There are moments where I just had to sit and take in what I’d read. Joanna Cannon’s writing is beautiful, I am in awe of her ability to create such wonder with her words.

I honestly cannot tell you how much I love this book, I’ve already read it twice and I know I’ll be reading it again. It is something truly special. How I feel about this book can be summed up in one of my favourite quotes from it “it wasn’t always something you could necessarily put down in words. Words are not always adequate.”

Three Things, for me, is the most perfect of books. So settle into your favourite reading spot, pour a cup of tea, grab a something yummy (I recommend Battenberg, you can’t go wrong with Battenberg) and prepare to read a story that will touch the innermost corners of your heart and meet characters who will become your friends.

BOOKISH CORNER RATING – ALL THE STARS IN THE SKY!!


THE AUTHOR

Joanna Cannon graduated from Leicester Medical School and worked as a hospital doctor, before specialising in psychiatry. Her first novel ‘The Trouble With Goats and Sheep’ was a top ten bestseller in both hardback and paperback. She lives in the Peak District with her family and her dog – Seth.

‘Three Things About Elsie’ is published in hardback on the 11th January 2018 by Borough Press.

Via: https://emmasbookishcorner.wordpress.com/2017/12/22/book-review-three-things-about-elsie-by-joanna-cannon/

The 35 Best Books of 2017?

Best-Books-2017

2017 was a remarkable year for fiction and nonfiction. From fearless debut novelists to established literary veterans at the top of their games, authors provided the artistic tonic we needed to survive a turbulent time both politically and culturally.

Narrowing down a reading list of 116 titles to just 35 was torture. The final grouping you’re about to read (and judge) could have easily been expanded to include 50 to 60 books. Please feel free to debate these choices and add your own in the comments section.

As always, keep reading everyone!


35. Smothered by M.C. Hall

Megan Cassidy Hall deserves a writing award for the faux-comments section alone. Her epistolary exploration of a sensational crime, and how society reacts to it, is both haunting and incredibly sad.

34. Found Audio by N.J. Campbell

I still have this trippy, mind-bending novel in my head. You’ll question your own reality after reading this, but you won’t question N.J. Campbell’s talent.

33. Marcel’s Letters by Carolyn Porter

In a year when we desperately needed as many genuine love stories as possible, Carolyn Porter delivered a great one. Her hunt for the truth behind a World War II survivor’s letters led to a splendid and deeply personal read (as well as a beautiful font!).

32. Apollo 8 by Jeffrey Kluger

Jeffrey Kluger’s return to the Apollo missions provided 2017 with the same burst of hope that Apollo 8 gave 1968 (one of the most turbulent years in American history). A thrilling narrative featuring the crew of Apollo 8 that reminds you of what Americans are capable of when reaching for the same stars.

31. Blurred Lines by Vanessa Grigoriadis

Vanessa Grigoriadis’ curious and wide-ranging reporting in Blurred Lines warmed my journalist soul even while making my skin crawl. Sexual assault on campus remains a complicated, serious issue, and, judging by Grigoriadis’ revelations, will continue to be one until colleges and universities make even more substantial changes to their policies and punishments.

30. An Unkindness Of Magicians by Kat Howard

There’s not a bad sentence in this book. Kat Howard should be a household name. She makes you care deeply for all of her characters – even the evil ones – as she’s putting them all through (magical) hell.

29. The Weight Of This World by David Joy

David Joy is the poet of broken characters. He gets better and better with every novel. The Weight of This World puts a hole through your heart with a shotgun and uses bourbon to salve the wound.

28. The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash

Ella May Wiggins lives in the past, but would be right at home fighting against our current political demagogues. She’s a reluctant rebel, one driven to protest in order to feed her starving family. A finely drawn supporting cast experiences the novel’s tragic events through myriad personalities, racial identities, and disparate classes. Urgent historical fiction of the highest order.

27. Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

Still amazed at the answers Sebastian Barry gave during our podcast interview earlier this year. He combined his love of the American Civil War stories and his son to deliver a truly remarkable western.

26. The Lost Prayers Of Ricky Graves by James Han Mattson

A powerful read about the aftermath of a terrible tragedy perpetrated by a lost and confused teenager. No one comes off looking particularly well in this narrative, told in part through email chains and online chats, but it’s that broken humanness that makes The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves so devastating and gripping. Top-notch writing.

25. Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

The first chapter alone should win some kind of literary prize. It sets the tone of the novel and feels so immediate considering the political climate in the United States and around the globe. And that ending…so good!

24. The Story Of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli

The Story of My Teeth further cements Valeria Luiselli as one of the most important voices in fiction and nonfiction. Read this and everything else she’s written.

23. American War by Omar El Akkad

American War is a cautionary tale that seems more and more realistic with each passing day. It’s a visceral, brutal thriller that peels apart the many layers of American dysfunction and partisanship.

22. The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker

Mel Vaught and Sharon Kisses were two of my favourite main characters in 2017. Whitaker puts them through hell (some of it self-inflicted), but never leaves them completely hopeless. Author Julie Buntin called this novel “goddamned brilliant” in June’s “Books That Should Be On Your Radar,” and she’s 100% goddamn right.

21. What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

Lesley Nneka Arimah’s short story collection is masterful. I had so much fun listening to Levar Burton read the title story on his podcast “Levar Burton Reads,” and then hearing Arimah talk about the collection on a later episode.

20. Hum If You Don’t Know The Words by Bianca Marais

Bianca Marais’ storytelling is so mesmerizing that you’ll constantly mutter, “Just one more chapter…” while reading the novel. Robin and Beauty don’t have it easy for much of the narrative, but they’re equal parts fragile and flinty throughout the narrative. Marais’ sparkling debut explores everything from race relations to familial bonds.

19. The Force by Don Winslow

How do you follow up The Cartel, one of the best novels written about the ongoing drug war in Mexico and the Southern United States? If you’re the master of crime fiction, you write The Force, a gripping thriller about a corrupt cop in New York City. A master class in dialogue and plot.

18. The Refuees by Thanh Nguyen

Viet Thanh Nguyen won the Pulitzer Prize for The Sympathizer (#2 on last year’s list), and followed it up with an equally compelling, earthy, and poignant short story collection. He’s rightly become an essential voice on the literary scene.

17. Dark At The Crossing by Elliot Ackerman

It’s been such a joy following Elliot Ackerman’s career as a journalist and novelist. His debut Green on Blue was one of our favourite novels in 2015, and his stellar sophomore effort, Dark at the Crossing, was nominated for this year’s National Book Award.

16. I Was Told To Come Alone by Souad Mekhennet

I Was Told To Come Alone is an extraordinary memoir about a life in journalism. Souad Mekhennet’s journey from inquisitive child to fearless reporter tasked with communicating with jihadists is impossible to forget. Her final chapter is a call to arms for journalists and global citizens alike.

15. The Mothers by Brit Bennett

This is the first book I read in 2017, and it really set the bar high. Bennett’s wisdom and verve are evident on every page. I found myself falling in love with the characters all over again revisiting the novel for this post.

Note: The Mothers was published late in 2016, but I read it in January 2017 so I’m counting it for this year’s list. It’s my post, I can do what I want!

14. Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

I loved how Hala Alyan structured her debut novel. She wrote from multiple characters’ perspectives and jumped forward several years in the timeline throughout the book. This allowed her to explore themes like the aftermath of war and the development of familial relationships in a really heartfelt way. Her dialogue sang like poetry.

13. Sirens by Joshua Mohr

Joshua Mohr’s fiction is defined by brutal honesty. He upped the stakes by telling his own sordid (Mohr’s adjective of choice) tale. Make sure you listen to Mohr read from a section in Sirens (sure to elicit both laughter and tears) from our live event at Porter Square Books earlier this year. Very much looking forward to the follow up Model Citizen!

12. Stephen Florida by Gabe Habash

I finished Gabe Habash’s insanely well written debut in one sitting. Spending time in Stephen Florida’s head was like sitting on top of a runaway freight train.

11. Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta

The only thing I enjoyed more than this steamy satire was discussing it with Dave Pezza for #NovelClass. I loved the way Perrotta depicted his middle-aged female lead and how he crafted her eclectic supporting cast.

10. Marlena by Julie Buntin

As you’ve probably noticed, I’m a sucker for coming-of-age stories. Julie Buntin’s Marlena is one of the best ever written, and one that makes me want to up my writing game. It’s been rightly feted all year, and I’d love to see this story on screen.

9. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

“Moving,” “romantic,” “tender,” and “violent” are all words I used to describe Exit West back in March. One of the central questions Hamid attempts to answer is, “Can new love blossom and survive in a war zone?” His answers are as poetic as they are heart breaking. And it all starts with this stellar opening line: “In a city swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war, a young man met a young woman in a classroom and did not speak to her.”

8. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng has no rival when it comes to crafting characters. Those that populate Little Fires Everywhere are deliciously damaged. Tangled small town drama has never been this illuminating.

7. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Jesmyn Ward’s National Book Award-winning Sing, Unburied, Sing has its own heartbeat that you feel through its spine. All the ghosts that her characters are living with feel like they’re right next to you as you read.

6. Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

Soli, one of Lucky Boy’s main characters, is one of the most memorable, tough, and fierce mothers in fiction. You’ll find yourself rooting just as hard for her brilliant counterpart Kavya. Between them is a young boy unaware of the passionate struggle to claim him on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. I read this early in 2017 when the first of President Trump’s Muslim bans was enacted. It was a powerful read then, and remains one now in the face of continued xenophobia and discrimination.

5. Spaceman Of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar

Deep space, an astronaut tortured by the romance he left behind, and a spider that may or may not be imaginary. What’s not to love? Plus, my favourite cover of the year (not biased at all by the giant coffee cup)!

4. Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

I’m still amazed that Rachel Khong packed so much heart, humour, and human themes into such a short novel. Khong is one of my favorite risk-taking debut novelists.

3. What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

Speaking of risk-takers, Zinzi Clemmons wrote an innovative, emotionally devastating novel that I continually re-read to get inspired. She’s a must-follow on Twitter as well.

2. All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

I, perhaps unfairly, have compared every book I’ve read in 2017 to Jami Attenberg’s flawless All Grown Up. Attenberg told me in a podcast interview earlier this year that she wanted to “write something funny and contemporary, and loose and bittersweet.” She succeeded on all levels. This novel will be on my annual re-read list for years to come.

1. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Epic in scope and passionately written, Pachinko has been my number one since the day I started reading it. Min Jin Lee is a treasure. “History has failed us, but no matter,” my favourite opening line of 2017, still gets me.


So there you have it. These were the 35 best books of 2017 chosen by the Writer’s Bone crew – but what do you think? Do you agree? Are there books you would add to that list? Feel free to pop them in the comments below so we can check them out for ourselves.

Here’s to a biblio-fantastic 2018!

Via: http://www.writersbone.com/book-recommendations/2017/12/20/the-35-best-books-of-2017

17 Books That Should Be On Your Radar: December 2017

books-radar-dec-2017

Every month, the Writer’s Bone crew reviews or previews books they’ve read or want to read. This series may or may not also serve as a confessional for guilty pleasures and hipster novels only the brave would attempt. Here are their recommendations for December 2017:

  1. SMOTHERED BY M.C. HALL

  2. THE DEMON CROWN BY JAMES ROLLINS

  3. THERE ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAN BEYONCÉ BY MORGAN PARKER

  4. THE LOST PRAYERS OF RICKY GRAVES BY JAMES HAN MATTSON

  5. AMERICA’S WOMEN: 400 YEARS OF DOLLS, DRUDGES, HELPMATES, AND HEROINES BY GAIL COLLINS

  6. KING OF SPIES BY BLAINE HARDEN

  7. WHAT WE BUILD UPON THE RUINS BY GIANO CROMLEY

  8. CHASING PORTRAITS BY ELIZABETH RYNECKI
  9. THE FROZEN HOURS BY JEFF SHAARA

  10. DOUBLE FEATURE BY OWEN KING

  11. COLORADO BOULEVARD BY PHOEF SUTTON

  12. THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS: THE UNITED STATES DURING RECONSTRUCTION AND THE GILDED AGE, 1865-1896 BY RICHARD WHITE

  13. A NEGRO AND AN OFAY BY DANNY GARDNER

  14. THE LAST PLACE YOU LOOK BY KRISTEN LEPIONKA

  15. THE PLOT IS MURDER BY VM BURNS

  16. ARE YOU SLEEPING BY KATHLEEN BARBER

  17. THINGS THAT HAPPENED BEFORE THE EARTHQUAKE BY CHIARA BARZINI

Click on the links above for a detailed synopsis of each book, or follow the following link to see what the Writer’s Bone crew had to say: http://www.writersbone.com/book-recommendations/2017/12/7/17-books-that-should-be-on-your-radar-december-2017

 

19 Books That Should Be On Your Radar: November 2017

books-radar-nov-2017

Every month, the Writer’s Bone crew reviews or previews books they’ve read or want to read. This series may or may not also serve as a confessional for guilty pleasures and hipster novels only the brave would attempt. Here are their recommendations for November 2017:

  1. Little Fires Everywhere By Celeste Ng
  2. The Winter Of Frankie Machine By Don Winslow
  3. Garden Of The Lost And Abandoned By Jessica Yu
  4. In The Distance By Hernan Diaz
  5. Mister Monkey By Francine Prose
  6. Siddhartha By Hermann Hesse
  7. The First Day By Phil Harrison
  8. Vacationland By John Hodgman
  9. Eileen By Ottessa Moshfegh
  10. A Head Full Of Ghosts By Paul Tremblay
  11. Jane Steele By Lyndsay Faye
  12. Sunburn By Laura Lippman
  13. Little Deaths By Emma Flint
  14. The Castle By Jason Pinter
  15. Under The Harrow By Flynn Berry
  16. The Cutaway By Christina Kovac
  17. Titus: The Life Story Of Dr. Plomaritis by Dr. Titus Plomaritis
  18. Strange Weather By Joe Hill

Click on the links above for a detailed synopsis of each book, or follow the following link to see what the Writer’s Bone crew had to say: http://www.writersbone.com/book-recommendations/2017/11/8/18-books-that-should-be-on-your-radar-november-2017

 

19 Books That Should Be On Your Radar: October 2017

 

books-radar-october-2017

Every month, the Writer’s Bone crew reviews or previews books they’ve read or want to read. This series may or may not also serve as a confessional for guilty pleasures and hipster novels only the brave would attempt. Here are their recommendations for October 2017:

  1. THE LAST BALLAD BY WILEY CASH
  2. SHALLOW GRAVES: THE HUNT FOR THE NEW BEDFORD SERIAL KILLER BY MAUREEN BOYLE
  3. HAVE YOU MET NORA? BY NICOLE BLADES
  4. BONE BY YRSA DALEY-WARD
  5. MY ABSOLUTE DARLING BY GABRIEL TALLENT
  6. SING, UNBURIED, SING BY JESMYN WARD
  7. ONCE WE WERE BROTHERS BY RONALD H. BALSON
  8. HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE BY KELLYE GARRETT
  9. BLURRED LINES: RETHINKING SEX, POWER, AND CONSENT ON CAMPUS BY VANESSA GRIGORIADIS
  10. AN UNKINDNESS OF MAGICIANS BY KAT HOWARD
  11. DREAMFIELD BY ETHAN BRYAN
  12. UNCOMMON TYPE: SOME STORIES BY TOM HANKS
  13. GOOD BONES BY MAGGIE SMITH
  14. FROM THE DUST RETURNED BY RAY BRADBURY
  15. ALL OUR PRETTY SONGS BY SARAH MCCARRY
  16. ASK BABA YAGA: OTHERWORLDLY ADVICE FOR EVERYDAY TROUBLES BY TAISIA KITAISKAIA
  17. TALES OF FALLING AND FLYING BY BEN LOORY
  18. HER BODY & OTHER PARTIES BY CARMEN MARIA MACHADO
  19. MRS. FLETCHER BY TOM PERROTTA

Click on the links above for a detailed synopsis of each book, or follow the following link to see what the Writer’s Bone crew had to say: http://www.writersbone.com/book-recommendations/2017/10/9/19-books-that-should-be-on-your-radar-october-2017

 

19 YA Books Everyone Should Read 

YA-novels

I saw this article on BuzzFeed, which asked members of the BuzzFeed Community for the young adult novels they’d recommend to anyone, regardless of their age. I really loved it, as I’ve never thought of myself as a YA reader, but there are a number of suggestions here that I’m really interested in picking up. Here’s what they said…

1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

“It’s a beautifully, tragically relevant book for young adults and adults alike. Unarmed, 16-year-old Khalil is fatally shot by a police officer, and his friend Starr, who is with him at the time, deals with the aftermath and the struggles of feeling like a second-class citizen her own country. It’s very engaging, and when I finished the book, I felt that I had learned something important.”

2. I’ll Give You The Sun and The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

“Her books are so beautifully written, I couldn’t pick between the two. Her characters are relatable she deals with topics like grief, sexuality, family, and coming to terms with who you are. Read her books. You will not regret it. I wish she would write more!”

3. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

“It affected me emotionally more than any other book has in years. It’s beautifully quirky, with life lessons that are both nostalgic and currently relevant. I recommend it to everyone that asks me for a book recommendation.”

4. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

“It’s about a Latino boy who doesn’t know his place in the world and discovers it in a truly beautiful way. As an LGBT Latinx teen it meant the world to me when I read it and changed a lot in my world. It helped in accepting who I was and I fell in love with its beautiful characters.”

5. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

” I’ve read it annually since I was 14, which is about 12 years now. It’s a beautiful, slightly eerie story set in the early 20th century about a girl who craves and seeks a career and education, despite familial and societal pressure to become a wife and caretaker, against the backdrop of a real-life murder. It’s as poignant as ever, definitely changed my life, and set me on a path of self-care and feminism.”

6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

“It’s about a young Native American boy who deals with health issues due to being born with hydrocephaly, and is a budding comic book artist. He ends up going to a high school in the wealthier part of his town where he is the only Native American (besides the school mascot). It’s mostly about him overcoming his struggles. Heads up: There’s mentions of alcohol, drugs, death, and slurs.”

7. The His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman

“The main character, Lyra, is charming, and the adventures are captivating. The books ask a lot of philosophical questions about the nature of the universe and of ourselves. It’s good reading for any age, and I get more out of it every time I re-read the series.”

8. Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes

“It was one of my favourite YA books growing up, and still is to this day. It covers love, death, friendship, and does so in an eloquent way that doesn’t feel like the rehashing of the same story you read in every other book.”

9. Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

“It tackles the issue of being transgender in middle school and finally accepting who you really are. Some people accepted Grayson, some didn’t.”

10. The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater

“It’s a beautiful series about the way age, socioeconomics, gender, race, and a world of other factors complicate the relationships we have with the people we love. It mixes fantasy and historical fiction with some hints of horror to tell the story of four teenagers on a quest to find the tomb of an ancient Welsh King. They have to work with psychics and a magical forest and ghosts and cars, it’s just amazing. It lifts my heart no matter how many times I read it.”

11. The Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

“It’s amazingly well written and it’s a one-off, so you don’t have to worry about a whole series. It follows a genderfluid person named Riley and their struggles being genderfluid and having anxiety. The book is immensely captivating – I’m not going to lie, it made me cry. I’ve read it through 3 times in the year and a half it’s been out and it’s gotten better each time.”

12. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

“It should be required reading in life. I’ve read it for myself and with students several times and the story itself has moved me to tears, but it truly is a wonder to see the empathy the kids learned from the novel. An absolute must read.”

13. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

“Hands down my favourite book ever. It’s one of those books that straddles that strange line between modern YA and what we think is children’s literature. The writing is simple enough a younger reader can understand and, other than swearing and content that generally comes with the setting of WWII Germany, it’s fine for some younger readers.”

14. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

“A story about a rich and distinguished family and a group of four friends who spend their summer at a private island where everything is not what it seems to be. Full of complex characters and mystery, that will suck you in from the first page. Both the adults and the teenagers are struggling with darkness within their own selves. The ending will definitely shock you and keep you wondering why you didn’t figure things out sooner. A must read.”

15. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

“The premise may seem corny at first, but the excellent characterisation and lovely prose will pull you in. It grapples with some very deep and intense themes, and creates a fantasy world that manages to feel both familiar and truly unique.”

16. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Beauty Queens is the answer to that ‘Lord of the Flies but with women’ movie – it was one of the first super-intersectional feminist novels I read in high school, and it holds up.”

17. Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

“World War II historical fiction written with astounding poignancy and poetry. This is a pair of books that will never leave my bookshelf.”

18. Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

“I finally got around to reading these recently and now I won’t stop talking about them to anyone who’ll listen. You’ll love Six of Crows for its fast-paced plot, but more so for its characters – the representation in these novels is seriously incredible, and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy despite the fact that it’s about a band of criminals. The only bad thing about these books is that there’s only two of them.”

19. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

“A beautiful, completely gut-wrenching story about three friends in a small town looking toward their futures and how they will both escape their past and stay in touch in the future. I love this book so damn much.”

***

Via: https://www.buzzfeed.com/eleanorbate/young-adult-at-heart

Stephen King’s Reading List For Writers

Stephen-Kings-Everything-You-Need-to-Know-About-Writing-Successfully-in-Ten-Minutes

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools)
to write. Simple as that.” 

― Stephen King

In the afterword to his acclaimed guide On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King shares the following reading list of 96 books, covering a diverse range of fiction and non-fiction titles.

Accompanying the list is this explanation:

These are the best books I’ve read over the last three or four years, the period during which I wrote The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Hearts in Atlantis, On Writing, and the as-yet-unpublished From a Buick Eight. In some way or other, I suspect each book in the list had an influence on the books I wrote.

As you scan this list, please remember that I’m not Oprah and this isn’t my book club. These are the ones that worked for me, that’s all. But you could do worse, and a good many of these might show you some new ways of doing your work. Even if they don’t, they’re apt to entertain you. They certainly entertained me.

  1. Peter Abrahams, A Perfect Crime
  2. Peter Abrahams, Lights Out
  3. Peter Abrahams, Pressure Drop
  4. Peter Abrahams,Revolution #9
  5. James Agee, A Death in the Family
  6. Kirsten Bakis, Lives of the Monster Dogs
  7. Pat Barker, Regeneration
  8. Pat Barker, The Eye in the Door
  9. Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
  10. Richard Bausch, In the Night Season
  11. Peter Blauner, The Intruder
  12. Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
  13. T. Coraghessan Boyle, The Tortilla Curtain
  14. Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods
  15. Christopher Buckley, Thank You for Smoking
  16. Raymond Carver, Where I’m Calling From
  17. Michael Chabon, Werewolves in Their Youth
  18. Windsor Chorlton, Latitude Zero
  19. Michael Connelly, The Poet
  20. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Free eBook – Gutenberg / Kindle)
  21. K.C. Constantine, Family Values
  22. Don DeLillo, Underworld
  23. Nelson DeMille, Cathedral
  24. Nelson DeMille, The Gold Coast
  25. Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (Free eBook – Gutenberg / Kindle)
  26. Stephen Dobyns, Common Carnage
  27. Stephen Dobyns, The Church of Dead Girls
  28. Roddy Doyle, The Woman Who Walked into Doors
  29. Stanely Elkin, The Dick Gibson Show
  30. William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
  31. Alex Garland, The Beach
  32. Elizabeth George, Deception on His Mind
  33. Tess Gerritsen, Gravity
  34. William Golding, Lord of the Flies
  35. Muriel Gray, Furnace
  36. Graham Greene, A Gun for Sale (aka This Gun for Hire)
  37. Graham Greene, Our Man in Havana
  38. David Halberstam, The Fifties
  39. Pete Hamill, Why Sinatra Matters
  40. Thomas Harris, Hannibal
  41. Kent Haruf, Plainsong
  42. Peter Hoeg, Smilla’s Sense of Snow
  43. Stephen Hunter, Dirty White Boys
  44. David Ignatius, A Firing Offense
  45. John Irving, A Widow for One Year
  46. Graham Joyce, The Tooth Fairy
  47. Alan Judd, The Devil’s Own Work
  48. Roger Kahn, Good Enough to Dream
  49. Mary Karr,  The Liars’ Club
  50. Jack Ketchum, Right to Life
  51. Tabitha King, Survivor
  52. Tabitha King, The Sky in the Water
  53. Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
  54. Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air
  55. Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
  56. Bernard Lefkowitz, Our Guys
  57. Bentley Little,  The Ignored
  58. Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories
  59. W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence (Free eBook – Gutenberg)
  60. Cormac McCarthy, Cities of the Plain
  61. Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
  62. Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes
  63. Alice McDermott, Charming Billy
  64. Jack McDevitt, Ancient Shores
  65. Ian McEwan, Enduring Love
  66. Ian McEwan, The Cement Garden
  67. Larry McMurtry, Dead Man’s Walk
  68. Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, Zeke and Ned
  69. Walter M. Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz
  70. Joyce Carol Oates, Zombie
  71. Tim O’Brien, In the Lake of the Woods
  72. Stewart O’Nan, The Speed Queen
  73. Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
  74. Richard North Patterson, No Safe Place
  75. Richard Price, Freedomland
  76. Annie Proulx, Close Range: Wyoming Stories
  77. Annie Proulx, The Shipping News
  78. Anna Quindlen, One True Thing
  79. Ruth Rendell, A Sight for Sore Eyes
  80. Frank M. Robinson, Waiting
  81. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  82. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban
  83. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  84. Richard Russo, Mohawk
  85. John Burnham Schwartz, Reservation Road
  86. Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy
  87. Irwin Shaw, The Young Lions
  88. Richard Slotkin, The Crater
  89. Dinitia Smith, The Illusionist
  90. Scott Spencer, Men in Black
  91. Wallace Stegner, Joe Hill
  92. Donna Tartt, The Secret History
  93. Anne Tyler, A Patchwork Planet
  94. Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus
  95. Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited
  96. Donald Westlake, The Ax

That’s a lot of recommendations. How many on this list have you read? If you’re anything like me, you’ve got an even bigger TBR pile now – best get cracking!

Via: http://www.aerogrammestudio.com/2014/03/04/stephen-kings-reading-list-for-writers/