… some books!
And here are the best three so far. I was going to list all the books I’ve read in the last three months, even the ones that I thought were so-so – but then I realised that I just wanted to boast about how much I’d been reading. I mean… yes that is how pathetic I am.
But I pulled it back from the brink of assholishness and cut it down to my top three recent reads SO FAR.
There will be more as I seem to be on some kind of unstoppable reading-jag at the moment. These three here are all quite similar books, but the good thing about that is that if you like one, you’ll like them all.
The Nix, Nathan Hill
This is long and requires moments of determination to work your way past a few patchy bits, but on the whole a really magnificent book, atmospheric and appealing with Allen Ginsberg making a fully-realised cameo.
Bright, precious days, Jay McInerney
The latest in the series of McInerney’s books about Corrine and Russell “Crash” Calloway – a sort of modern Fitzgerald but better.
The Nest, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Four siblings argue over an inheritance in New York. Totally brilliant.
For more book recommendations, search “The Spike has been reading” on this blog.
I guess this is the “other side” of tiny children… I haven’t picked up a book in months (other than those aimed at little ones).
Although, glutton for punishment that I am, I’m going to have my third imminently and my children are home from school/ nursery with gastroenteritis…
I’ll remember these and read them in 3 years…
Oh I read next to nothing when mine were tiny, but it does get better. Especially now my eldest can read, “quiet time” is actually a thing, unless he wants to tell me every funny thing that happens to the Wimpy Kid or whatever, which is admittedly quite often.
Conversations with friends, by Sally Rooney. So worth the hype
Sasha B says
Thanks Esther, these 3 reccos look like gems. Will investigate. I’m recently back into reading (more books, less Instagram..if I keep repeating it to myself, it might happen?) My latest great read, and I know it’s had a lot of hype but boy, it was GOOD: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Finished it 3wks ago, still thinking about Eleanor, miss her like a friend who’s gone away. Bloody clever read.
We read Elinor in our book club and 5 of us really liked it. The 6th person is an English teacher, she said she thought it was patchy, a bit too first novel, a bit Creative Writing and the references to Sense and Sensibility were too clunky and not well done. We all felt a bit stupid after that cos all that had whooshed over our heads….
I thought she found a good voice in the character of Eleanor and it made up for any flaws. I enjoyed it overall. Also I thought it referenced Jane Eyre more than anything.
I genuinely didn’t notice any references to anything at all and I’ve got a degree in English literature
With Jane Eyre, it’s Eleanor’s favourite, and then some of the characters have the same names as those from the book – also fire and social isolation etc so thought there was a deliberate nod there. Sorry if *I’m* now sounding like an arse, I totally agree it doesn’t matter.
sounds like the English teacher was just being an arse. I don’t think “getting” references helps at all. most of the time refs or frameworks like that are only taken on by the writer in order to make it easier for them to get the thing done
I hoped you were going to mention ‘Home Fire’. I bought it after you mentioned in on your Stories. Loved it! Thank you.
Hi Alison! It didn’t quite make the cut…
I recently (or well, recently…) liked The Outrun. Will attempt the new Murakami (love his writing but it’s 100000 pages) this coming holiday.
Thanks for the recommendations. I manage about 10 minute reading every night before I fall asleep (little people here too!) I’m currently stuck in the outlander series and 4 books in im looking for an escape (unless anyone recommends i keep going with them – but at a rate on 10 mins a day it will years!!!)
I loved Eleanor Oliphant, such a lovely read. Just finished the Unseen by Roy Jacobsen, its a translation but the descriptions are fabulous, the book is somewhat bleak though and lacking in a darn good yarn
The Nix started well I thought but I got a bit pissed off with it by the end. It was good when it was good, though.
You might like The Portable Veblen, has similarities and is also patchy, but generally held together better, and wasn’t overlong.
Best read recently – and actually perhaps one of my favourite ever – was This Thing of Darkness by Harry Thompson. It’s a few years old though so maybe everyone already read it. I’m waiting for the new Julian Barnes from the library, and looking forward to new books from Sarah Perry and Kate Atkinson this year too (Curtis Sittenfeld also has a book of short stories out soon, and I thought I had someone to mention it to, then realised it was you, Esther, and I might be going slightly crazy)
ooh, thanks for the Kate Atkinson info, absolutely love her books
She is so good, especially on war stuff, and obviously does a shit-ton of research but doesn’t batter you over the head with it.
Cindy I have such a funny relationship with Curtis Sittenfeld – I loved Prep, HATED Man of my Dreams, liked the new Austen thing she did HATED Earthquake or whatever it was called. I find her both talented and wildly irritating
I loved Prep and I also enjoyed American Wife, I can’t get on with Eligible though I’ve tried a few times. Yy to your assessment.
Oh, I’m looking forward to the new Sarah Perry one too. Even though I found her last one slightly clunky and off-kilter in some non-specific way.
I really liked it, one of my favourites last year – it was exactly my sort of thing though. I did struggle with her first one, but I think she writes beautifully. I’ve just begun The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock and getting a similar vibe (another pretty cover, too)
Lisa Mainwaring says
Glad you’re loving Jay’s new opus. It was like revisiting old friends !
I liked the new Francesca Segal, Modern Lovers by Emma Straub and the Crazy Rich Asians series. Recently Dear Mrs Bird and The Lido are both sweet. Thank you for The Standard Deviation recommendation which was v funny
Love these conversations! I have just ordered The Nest and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. And thanks Cindy for the exciting news about a new Kate Atkinson. She’s the bees knees. x
It’s called Transcription, think it’s coming in September x
Excellent! Thanks Cindy.
These are perfect! Thanks. I’ve just joined a book club (going TONIGHT. Have fear – new people and I HATED first book choice) and I’m up next. So going for The Nest. Thanks Esther!
The Nest is quite cheap on the Kindle, currently, for those with one. I’ve just downloaded it, thanks x
I think I’m going to order The Nest – thanks for the recommendation, Esther. I used to be a massive reader but my brain seems to have undergone a kind of weird calcification process (motherhood? Instagram? Who knows) and now I’m woeful. I’ve had Ma’am Darling, Eligible and the newest Zadie Smith sitting on my bedside table for months.
I also must get round to buying How To Break Up With Your Phone, which is apparently very alarming and eye-opening. Haven’t got it yet cos of spending all my time on my phone. Obvs
I gave up half way through the latest Zadie Smith. I used to plough on but time is too short now if I’m not enjoying a book, I just pick up something else after a fair go, otherwise I get stuck in a slough of despond. I’ll leave you alone now!
YES! I’m the same, though I like to fling unsatisfactory books across the room (carefully, so they aren’t damaged …). I don’t feel it’s asking too much to enjoy what you’re reading, do you?
I try not to windmill books across the room now I mainly read on the Kindle but I’ve done it in spirit a few times. But it’s nothing against the writer; it is hard to write a novel and someone will love it. We have a book swap telephone box where I live so now I rather graciously donate anything I hate, but since I don’t like Jeffrey Deaver I don’t often get to actually “swap”.
Lesley Somerville says
Ma’am Darling is a great read and easy to pick up/put down
Have just read the squashed ferret scene in Bright Precious Days- brilliant!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I read the Nix, and now reading the Nest, great books.. and also read Eleanor Oliphant on your recommendation a few months ago, so you are now my main book recommendation source..