For me one of the pleasures of going away is being able to read a lot of books. Before we leave I have a thorough browse in my favourite bookshop and select about four or five books to take with me. This year, however, I'm going to be reading and reviewing self-published novels for Awesome Indies, so I thought I'd ask my former bookseller colleague, columnist and book buyer at West End Lane Books, Danny van Emden, what commercially published books she would recommend to read.
I will post a list of my favourite indie books later, but in the meantime, here's Danny's list of summer reads:
1. The Burning Air by Erin Kelly
This is her 3rd psycho drama and there's hardly a policeman in sight. Kelly ups the tension with a blessed family, who find themselves imploding when someone close begins to dismantle their idyll...but who? And how close - and why? Kelly is fast becoming one of our most intriguing and readable writers. Think Du Maurier. She's really that good and this novel is her best so far.
2. May We Be Forgiven by AM Homes
Deservedly an Orange winner, Homes is in explosively good form in this darkly comic novel about the implosion and subsequent recovery of a family in free fall from the get go. This novel has one of the most arresting opening chapters I've ever encountered.
3. A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee
Pulizter Prize nominated Dee is in sparkling form. Newly single woman emerges from a crumbling marriage, enters the world of PR in New York City and discovers previously unsuspected unique talent for corporate apologies.
4. Stonemouth by Iain Banks
The most recent paperback by the lamented and wonderful Banks makes a slyly joyful slice of holiday reading. Young man returns to the home town he has left in mysterious circumstances several years before. A slow reveal gradually informs of his apparent misdemeanor, but could there be more to it than that? Genuine warmth and humour intermingled with Scots Casa McNostra, a little light drug abuse...and of course love. Missing Banks already.
5. Weirdo by Cathi Unsworth
Brilliant British crime with a bit of a Broadchurch (British TV series for my non-UK readers) flavour. Set in a small down-at-heel, East Anglian seaside town, still shaken from a brutal school murder which everyone accepts as being long closed, until a private investigator is called in to reopen. Adolescent agnst, paganism, music and a long buried memories haunt a community in denial. Absorbing stuff!
Thank you, Danny, for your intriguing choices. I will be reading all of these too! Of course the books are all available from West End Lane Books.
West End Lane Books
277 West End Lane