All of these are sitting on my bedside table right now, in a teetering pile. I hope they don’t fall over.
Shingle Street, by Blake Morrison: because I read his poem “Happiness” in the Guardian books review and thought, Any poet whose idea of happiness involves sitting in the garden with a Thomas Hardy novel and some damson jam on toast is worth investigating further.
Congo, by David Van Reybrouck: because my uncle has worked there for the past four?five? years, and it’s a very complex (and dangerous) country, and Van Reybrouck writes almost novelistic journalism, in the best possible way.
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, by Alice Furse: because apparently its depiction of twenty-something office-worker malaise is second to none, and I am in a life stage where I can appreciate that aesthetic.
The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture: because, as an American citizen, this is stuff I ought to make the effort to know about. Also because they went to all that trouble to write it.
Guantanamo Diary, by Mohamedou Ould Slahi: see above. I think this will provide a very interesting counterpoint to the Senate’s official report, and I will hopefully be able to write an article for Quadrapheme on the benefits of reading private and public documents side-by-side.
Grits, by Niall Griffiths: because I bought it ages ago and it’s about hardbitten Welsh people in the ‘90s and why on earth not.
All About Love, by bell hooks: because bell hooks. Srsly. Why haven’t I just read this damn book already. (Answer: I’m sort of afraid of it. Which is a great reason to start.)
Alms for Oblivion, by Simon Raven: because I gather it’s a bit like A Dance To the Music of Time for the mid-to-late twentieth century. Also because the front cover is psychedelic and I like that. (I actually do make book-buying decisions based on things like this, sometimes.)
A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth: because Bunter gave it to me for Christmas, and he managed to read all eighteen zillion pages of it while revising for Finals, so I’ll be damned if I can’t read it under normal circumstances.
The Moon and Sixpence, by W Somerset Maugham: because Bunter (again!) lent it to me, and I need to give it back to him, and it’s based on the life of Paul Gaugin, who, in case you didn’t know, ran away from his wife and family in Paris to become a painter in Tahiti. It’ll be my Classics Club read for March, hopefully.