What Am I Reading?

Tricky Nick – Nicholas J. Johnson

Tricky Nick – Nicholas J. Johnson

Oh, what an enormous amount of fun this book is! Tricky Nick – A Completely True Not-At-All Made-Up Story by the Greatest Magician in the World (Pan MacMillan 2020) is a hilarious tale by author – and actual magician – Nicholas J. Johnson. In this awesome middle-grade...

Blackbirds Sing – Aiki Flinthart

Blackbirds Sing – Aiki Flinthart

Blackbirds Sing (Cat Press 2019) is a rather unusual novel by Aiki Flinthart. In a collection of linked short stories that features 24 different women of all ages and classes, the novel addresses the powerlessness of women and the many dangers to them of 500 years...

Sheerwater – Leah Swann

Sheerwater – Leah Swann

Sheer Water (4th Estate Harper Collins) is the debut adult novel for author Leah Swann, although she has published a collection of short stories, a middle-grade series and poetry. Sheer Water is a fast-paced crime novel that I raced through, pausing only to savour the...

Death in Her Hands – Ottessa Moshfegh

Death in Her Hands – Ottessa Moshfegh

One of my all-time favourite books is Eileen (shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize) by author Ottessa Moshfegh, who also wrote the popular My Year of Rest and Relaxation. Her new novel, Death in Her Hands (Jonathan Cape Penguin Random House 2020) is another intimate...

The Safe Place – Anna Downes

The Safe Place – Anna Downes

The debut novel by actress and author Anna Downes, The Safe Place, is another compelling psychological thriller published by Affirm Press (2020), with similar marketing and expectations to their crime writer Christian White (The Nowhere Child / The Wife and the...

Throat – Ellen van Neerven

Throat – Ellen van Neerven

Ellen van Neerven’s second book of poetry, Throat (UQP 2020), with its arresting cover, is a stunning, at times quietly thoughtful and then bravely confrontational collection that explores language, history, country, love and belonging with tenderness, emotional...

The Mother Fault – Kate Mildenhall

The Mother Fault – Kate Mildenhall

I read this book in one breathless, edge-of-my-seat, page-turning session, propelled by the tension, the action, the ever-present sense of danger, the pressing need for this woman to take charge of her fate and wrest back control to save her children. The Mother Fault...

This One Wild and Precious Life – Sarah Wilson

This One Wild and Precious Life – Sarah Wilson

This One Wild and Precious Life (Pan MacMillan 2020) is the latest non-fiction book by New York Times bestselling author, activist and obsessive hiker Sarah Wilson. Most famous for her wellness website and series of books I Quit Sugar, her last book was about anxiety,...

Ordinary Matter – Laura Elvery

Ordinary Matter – Laura Elvery

Laura Elvery’s second collection of short stories, Ordinary Matter (UQP 2020) is anything but ordinary. In fact, this anthology is quite an extraordinary collation of seemingly disparate tales – some historical, some futuristic, some quite esoteric and some...

The Tolstoy Estate – Steven Conte

The Tolstoy Estate – Steven Conte

My advanced copy of The Tolstoy Estate (Fourth Estate Harper Collins 2020) arrived with this emblazoned on the cover: ‘A Novel for People Who Still Believe in the Saving Grace of Literature in Dark Times’. We are certainly in dark times now in this Covid world, and...

Revenge: Murder in Three Parts – S.L. Lim

Revenge: Murder in Three Parts – S.L. Lim

Revenge: Murder in Three Parts (Transit Lounge 2020) is the second novel by S.L. Lim. Set in two countries, as with her first book, Real Differences, Revenge examines the cultural norms and expectations of a diverse family, but while the societal and class privilege...