This is both a blessing and a curse, if, like me, the activity of reading is basically all you feel you can do with any kind of competence. Nevertheless, I decided to set myself a personal mission to expand my literary horizons. From classic novels of bygone eras to challenging off-piste books via new releases sat front-and-centre at Waterstones – this is my very own book club, if you will, of at least three books a month.
So if you’re looking to accompany the incoming autumn weather with a good (or thought-provoking) read, here are my three to consider in September.
The Ship – Antonia Honeywell
I went to a reading of this book by the author a couple of months ago, and the premise is just so good, I was genuinely annoyed I hadn’t thought of it. That, alongside the great cover art, made me spend the last £10 I had – in the world – on it before payday, meaning I had to walk home. So I really hoped it was worth it, and it is. Essentially, the world has collapsed, and a kind of enforced chaos starts to reign supreme. One incredibly rich man decides the best way to provide for his daughter in a complete wasteland is to buy a ship, and fill it with ‘worthy’ people and all the best of humanity’s efforts the past few millennia, and sail away to freedom. Trouble is, she’s not really best pleased about being on a ship with a bunch of strangers, even if it does mean salvation. Bad times ensue.
Last Exit to Brooklyn – Hubert Selby Jr.
Really only read this if you don’t get offended easily. Published in 1964, it was banned straight away, and like all banned things, this made everyone (me included) want to read it more. Be prepared for a frankly bizarre narrative, where speech is intertwined with description in a stream of consciousness kinda way, with all manner of expletives and taboos thrown in. I was dubious, but suddenly I was completely hooked on these rich, underground lives. If you liked Trainspotting, A Clockwork Orange and Alt-J’s first album An Awesome Wave, chances are you’ve probably already read this cannonball of a book.
The Opposite of Loneliness – Marina Keegan
This is a fantastic, insightful book. A collection of fiction, non-fiction and general musings, it’s written in a way that reads just like you think. The subject matter feels like such common ground and yet you’re amazed that no one ever managed to capture it in words before. Marina Keegan graduated from Yale and this book proves she had a bright future, made all the more poignant by the fact that she was killed in a car accident less than a week after leaving college.