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What We’re Reading this Summer

We asked our authors and staff for the three books they’re most looking forward to reading this summer, from literary fiction to YA, debut poetry to classic crime, here is the Faber summer reading list.

 

Thomas Morris, author of We Don’t Know What We’re Doing

Jill by Philip Larkin

Written when Philip Larkin was an undergraduate – and later (and wrongly) dismissed by Larkin himself as “juvenilia” – Jill is one of my all-time favourite novels. It’s a charming, tender, funny, and mysteriously strange quasi-autobiographical story about a working-class boy studying at Oxford

Near To The Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector

I’ve recently read Hour of the Star and Agua Viva, two of Lispector’s later novels and they’ve completely blown my mind: reading them was like having electric pumped directly into my veins. Near To The Wild Heart was Lispector’s first novel and was instantly received as a classic (though at the time quite a few critics [i.e. dickheads] were unwilling to believe it could have been written by a 24-year-old woman) so I’m excited and intrigued to see where it all begun. I’ll be honest: I’ve got no idea what the book’s about, but in my experience you don’t read Lispector so much for the plot – but for the way her prose makes you feel as if you’re levitating.

And Suddenly You Find Yourself by Natalie Holborow

I first heard Natalie Holborow read in Swansea in 2013, and since that night I’ve tried to get my hands on everything she’s written, so I’m delighted that her debut collection has now been published. Holborow’s voice is a rare one: her poems are simultaneously down to earth and up in the stars, and I hear in their tenor something of Dylan Thomas and something of Sylvia Plath. She really is a thrilling new force in British poetry, and I can’t wait to have these poems soundtrack my summer travels.

 

              

Libby Marshall, Editorial Assistant

The Idiot by Elif Batuman

I’ve been reading Batuman’s non-fiction for years, and I’m so excited to finally have a chance to sit down for some uninterrupted reading time with her debut novel.

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

Since Faber re-released The Poisonwood Bible in July, I’ve been on a total Kingsolver kick – re-discovering her gorgeous, vivid prose and re-acquainting myself with her characters, who all feel like old friends.

A Life of Adventure and Delight by Akhil Sharma

I think short story collections make the best travel companions, and Sharma’s stories are so beguiling and immersive – this is a book I know I’ll be lending to family and friends all summer.

            

Vivek Shanbhag, author of Ghachar Ghochar

The Golden Legend by Nadeem Aslam

The excerpts I’ve read have really raised my expectations about this book and I’m eager to know Nargis’s secret.

Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

I  immensely enjoyed her first book and am hoping for a similar treat.

The Red Haired Woman by Orhan Pamuk

Pamuk is one of my favourite contemporary writers, I can’t wait to read this.

            

Lee Brackstone, Creative Director of Faber Social

For a good chunk of August I’ll be in Liverpool participating in the ‘situation’ around 2023, the debut novel by The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu. A huge influence on everything in the world of the KLF is Robert Anton Wilson’s novel The Illuminatus! Trilogy. Indeed, the author of 2023 is one Roberta Anton Wilson. Any spare time I have in Liverpool will be spent reading this. August is a quiet time for editing and submissions so I may also find time to dip into John Berger’s fat book on artists, Portraits, and continue my engagement with the wonder that is CG Jung’s The Red Book.

            

Hannah Marshall, Marketing Manager

Meet Me in the Bathroom by Lizzy Goodman

Although, from a packing perspective, it’s a little weighty, I can’t imagine a more fun book to read by the pool this summer. If you (mis)spent your youth listening to The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Vampire Weekend (as well as Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, The Libertines, The Killers, The White Stripes, TV on the Radio, Kings on Leon – and I could go on) this book will vividly bring back all your glorious memories of that time, as well as giving you a sense of what it was actually like to be caught up in that incredible NYC music scene.

The Sellout by Paul Beaty  

I don’t read enough books that are actually meant to make the reader laugh so as a result I’ve had The Sellout on my radar for ages and have been saving it up for my holiday.

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

When I’m on holiday I like a book that I can dip in and out of and Strayed’s collection of columns, taken from her regular online advice column Dear Sugar, are meant to be short, brilliant pieces that grapple with life’s biggest questions.

            

Laura Dockrill, author of My Mum’s Growing Down

It will be a chilled summer with lots of YA…

I’ll be taking The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy, it looks enchanting, mystical and exciting & I can’t wait to read it

The Nearest Far Away Place by Hayley Long

I adore Hayley’s writing. So very excited for this…

Mr Penguin by Alex T Smith

I absolutely adore Alex’s sophistication, humour and his art. I’ve seen some illustrations already and I just know I’ll love this.

            

Daljit Nagra, author of British Museum

Another superb year already for Black British poets with two astonishing debuts.

Nick Makoha’s Kingdom Of Gravity is a portentous, rhetorically elevated and wise collection, while Kayo Chingonyi’s Kumukanda is a cool, witty statement about music culture and racism. Both poets are destined to become significant voices in contemporary British poetry.

Some exciting novels I would recommend include, Sheena Kalayil’s stunning debut, The Bureau of Second Chances, reminiscent of early VS and Shiva Naipaul for its warmth, charm and gentle comedy about a retired widower who discovers his zest for life. Orhan Pamuk’s The Red-Haired Woman is haunted by the Oedipus myth through the eyes of a well digger, a supremely intelligent yet entertaining read. A tightrope walker is the protagonist of Jess Richards City of Circles, a mesmerising tale about the unhinged persona of loss that can overwhelm us. Richard’s second novel is unusual, as magical and as moving as her first novel, Snake Ropes.

I am currently reading Naomi Klein’s No Is Not Enough, a compelling investigation about the world Trump and his ilk are creating for us. Instead of despair, Klein, as ever, provides us a strategy of attack, a way ahead that might offer hope.

          

Ruth O`Loughlin, Paperbacks Manager

The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevichh

I’ve heard so much about this — a contemporary In Cold Blood for fans of Serial and Making a Murderer.

The Sparshot Affair by Alan Hollinghurst

Another book I can’t wait to read – it’s been so long, Alan! I’m lucky enough to have a proof copy of his new novel, out in October.

Innocent Blood by P.D. James

The novel by P.D. James that I’ve had recommended to me the most often. I’m sorry to say that I’ve only read Phyllis’s The Mistletoe Murders and Death Comes to Pemberley, so I’m really looking forward to getting my teeth into a classic crime novel by one of the great masters of the genre.

       

Kate Griffin, author of The Kitty Peck Mysteries

Golden Hill by Francis Spufford

I love the comic, picaresque novels by Henry Fielding and this is a dazzlingly clever, vivid and affectionate homage. A young man, Mr Smith, arrives in 18th century New York with a bill of exchange to the (then) eye-watering value of £1000 …and a secret. To say any more would spoil this glorious romp.

Eureka by Anthony Quinn

The third in the series of Quinn’s loosely connected ‘period’ novels (the first two are Curtain Call  and Freya) canters into the 1960s. This is definitely one for film buffs. Writer Nat Fane is trying to adapt a novel by Henry James for the screen while London swings around him. Very funny, often nasty and – quite literally – a ‘spanking’ good read.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

This book has fascinated me since I first read at school. I’ve since returned to it many times and on each occasion I’ve found something different. It seems to change according to my age. The complex plot of thwarted desire, brutal manipulation, betrayal and loss seems darker every time. Despite my early introduction to GE, this is a definitely a novel for adults.

            

James Stone, Campaigns Assistant

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

I must have read this book half a dozen times, and each time Hemingway sweeps me away with his prose. Reading it, you can feel the sun beating down, taste the wine, and relate to the powerful portrayals of love and friendship.

This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein

We often go to the beach to escape and relax, but it’s hard to ignore that some of nature’s most beautiful places are under threat. In her fourth book, Naomi Klein tackles climate change with vigour, depth and compassion.

This Is Memorial Device by David Keenan

Set in the town of Airdrie in the west of Scotland, this debut novel tells the tale of a fictional post-punk band called Memorial Device, and their influence on the people’s lives in the town. I was hooked.

            

 

David Walker, author of Dismembered

1966 by Jon Savage

My generation indeed. I heard The Who track blasted over the local football club’s PA system in the early months of that fabulous year 1966 …  Jon Savage’s argument that the year was seminal appeals.

Rain by Melissa Harrison

England, thy beauties are tame and domestic, said Byron but to me, a Scot brought up in the Midlands, the charms of England’s countryside are many and permanent. I am looking forward to walking through it in company with Melissa Harrison.

Les Rois Maudits by Maurice Druon

I’m a Game of Thrones fan so was intrigued to discover George RR Martin had been inspired by Maurice Druon’s series of novels about the Hundred Years’ War. I am going back to the source and reading Les Rois Maudits: volume one.