Five books I’ve enjoyed in 2018

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I read a lot for work – mainly nonfiction, filleting it for facts and stats – but literature has always remained a source of escapism, entertainment and mind expansion. Here are five books that I’ve read this year that I’d wholly recommend.

  • 1


    Black Wave
    by Michelle Tea

    A wild, raw, fractured account of a life (real) and a fantasy (the end of the world), through the eyes of a writer seeking to write a successful screen play that makes her own experiences somehow universal. It's weird, it's disjointed, it's thrilling, and it feels very honest despite the layers of falsity and fantasy she tells us she is veiling herself within.

  • 2


    by Maggie Nelson

    A paean to the colour blue, although it's more that blue is the anchor from which this cerebral lyric-poem-cum-memoir drifts. Books like this can teach me how to be brave, both emotionally and stylistically in my own work.

  • 3


    Translations: A Play
    by Brian Friel

    Although I love theatre, I never read scripts alone at home. Yet this one – which I was directed to while researching an essay on Gaelic – astounded me, even having never seen it performed. It's about colonialism, language and how misunderstandings arise, and I think about it a lot.

  • 4


    Dept. of Speculation
    by Jenny Offill

    Okay, this is a re-reading but I take any opportunity to recommend this book to anyone who will listen. I love it and re-read it constantly, from the Kindle app on my phone, whenever I'm at a loose end. It's about love and infidelity and betrayal, it's extremely domestic and yet so erudite and clever and ambitious.

  • 5


    Reservoir 13
    by Jon McGregor

    This won the Costa Novel Award last year, and is a polyphonic novel set in a northern village where a young girl has gone missing. It unfolds over years, taking on the rhythms of the seasons and one gets a wonderful sense of the passage of time and how it marks us all differently.

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