• The Best African Novels - The Famished Road by Ben Okri
  • The Best African Novels - The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna
  • The Best African Novels - Burma Boy by Biyi Bandele
  • The Best African Novels - Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The Best African Novels - Opening Spaces: An Anthology of Contemporary African Women's Writing by Yvonne Vera (editor)

The Best African Novels, recommended by Blessing Musariri

“We are connected to the spirit and it’s an active connection. It’s not somewhere that’s only in the afterlife, it’s here in the present as well. That, I think, is endemic across all African cultures and traditions,” says Zimbabwean novelist and poet Blessing Musariri. Here she recommends some of the best African novels, books that had a big personal impact and have stayed with her.

  • The Best Cormac McCarthy Books - Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Best Cormac McCarthy Books - Child of God by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Best Cormac McCarthy Books - Reading the World: Cormac McCarthy's Tennessee Period by Dianne C. Luce
  • The Best Cormac McCarthy Books - All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Best Cormac McCarthy Books - The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Best Cormac McCarthy Books, recommended by Stacey Peebles

From All The Pretty Horses to Blood Meridian to The Road, American novelist Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) was a titan of literary fiction for his philosophical, violent, often deeply moving novels. Cormac McCarthy expert Stacey Peebles introduces us to the author’s oeuvre—and tells us that despite its apocalyptic bleakness, The Road is actually McCarthy’s “happiest book.”

  • Shanghai Novels - Man's Fate by André Malraux
  • Shanghai Novels - Midnight by Mao Dun
  • Shanghai Novels - Lust, Caution by Eileen Chang
  • Shanghai Novels - Honeymoon in Shanghai by Maurice Dekobra
  • Shanghai Novels - Shanghai Baby by Wei Hui

Shanghai Novels, recommended by Paul French

Though it was the fifth biggest city in the world in the years following the Second World War, there aren’t nearly as many novels set in Shanghai as there are in Paris, Berlin and other international cities. Author and expert on modern Chinese history Paul French takes a look at the literary history of an often underwritten city from the 1930s through to the new millennium.

  • Rachel Kushner on Books That Influenced Her - Practicalities by Marguerite Duras
  • Rachel Kushner on Books That Influenced Her - God, Justice, Love, Beauty: Four Dialogues by Jean-Luc Nancy
  • Rachel Kushner on Books That Influenced Her - Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline (translated by Ralph Manheim)
  • Rachel Kushner on Books That Influenced Her - The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Rachel Kushner on Books That Influenced Her - Pick-Up by Charles Willeford

Rachel Kushner on Books That Influenced Her

Rachel Kushner, author of The Flamethrowers and The Mars Room, which has been shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize, discusses the five books that have most influenced her writing, from Dostoyevsky to Marguerite Duras. She muses on the question of what fiction can offer: “A novel itself, if it is good, and effective at whatever its particular aesthetic and philosophical aim is, can answer the question best, so that a novelist doesn’t have to.”

  • Essential Norwegian Fiction - Gisli Sursson’s Saga by Various
  • Essential Norwegian Fiction - Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun and Sverre Lyngstad (translator)
  • Essential Norwegian Fiction - Shyness and Dignity by Dag Solstad and Sverre Lyngstad (translator)
  • Essential Norwegian Fiction - Beatles by Don Bartlett (translator) & Lars Saabye Christensen
  • Essential Norwegian Fiction - My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgård and Don Bartlett (translator)

Essential Norwegian Fiction, recommended by Roy Jacobsen

Sagas old and new, from Gisli Sursson’s trials to Knausgård’s struggle, form the backbone of Roy Jacobsen’s selection of essential fiction from Norway, a country that is like ‘a black and not very polished diamond’, and where writers and readers seek out the human, ‘no matter how awkward, grandiose, sentimental, nostalgic, embarrassing, hyperbolic, stupid, hilarious or dangerous it may be’

  • Fran Lebowitz on New York Writers - The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
  • Fran Lebowitz on New York Writers - The Diaries of Dawn Powell: 1931-1965 by Dawn Powell
  • Fran Lebowitz on New York Writers - Queer Street by James McCourt
  • Fran Lebowitz on New York Writers - Instant Lives And More by Howard Moss, drawings by Edward Gorey
  • Fran Lebowitz on New York Writers - Cheap Novelties by Ben Katchor

Fran Lebowitz on New York Writers

‘The authors of these five books are people who came to New York for freedom – not so they could get rich, but so they could be free to pursue their interests and live their lives the way they wanted.’ New Yorker par excellence Fran Lebowitz recommends the writers who best capture her immutably mutable city.