Writing this significantly increased the chances of me buying at least seven new novels this term, despite having a whole dissertation to write, so in reading this, you may be at risk of finding yourself some new must–buy books..
Return of a Popular 2018 Author: Mr Salary: Faber Stories by Sally Rooney (January 3rd)
Sally Rooney is a name that I have seen everywhere after her 2018 second novel Normal People was recently long-listed for the exciting Man Booker Prize. It seems a lot of people got a hold of, read, and loved, both of Rooney’s books in 2018 and whether you are one of those people, or, like me, are yet to read any, you might want to add her short story Mr Salary to your 2019 to–read list
Retelling of an old story: An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma (January 8th)
Just like his first novel, The Fishermen, which was published in 2015, Chigozie Obioma’s second novel is influenced and inspired by both classical Greek tragedy and the mythology of his home country of Nigeria. As another Man Booker Prize long-listed author, his second novel is a book that readers of the first will be eager to get a hold of, but there is no reason that anyone couldn’t pick up a copy of this contemporary retelling of the Odyssey, narrated by the spirit of the chi, or spirit of a poultry farmer.
Beautiful book cover: The Binding by Bridget Collins, (January 10th)
I first saw The Binding on Twitter and, as much as I know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, instantly wanted to get my hands on a copy so that I could admire the stunning blue, brown and gold cover in real life. Then I found out that it was a book about books and the likelihood of me soon owning it further increased. The historical fantasy follows the story of Emmett, who becomes an apprentice Bookbinder in a world where memories can be forgotten by sealing them in a book.
A few nights in fantasy Paris: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi (January 15th)
This Young Adult fantasy, from the author of the 2016 novel The Star–Touched Queen, is set in a dangerous alternate nineteenth-century Paris. As with The Binding, the physical copy is stunning, making me wonder if fantasy authors have a love of intricate covers. It follows a diverse cast of characters attempting to find an ancient artefact. I am currently reading and loving Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows and it has been said that if you like Bardugo’s novel you will almost certainly enjoy this, so I personally can’t wait to give it a read.
Drastic genre change: Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James (February 5th)
His 2014 book A Brief History of Seven Killings may have taken the literary world by storm, having won the Man Booker Prize in 2015, but in his latest novel, Jamaican-born writer Marlon James chose to leave historical fiction behind in favour of fantasy. In Black Leopard, Red Wolf, James’ weaves imagination with African history and mythology to form the first book in his new Dark Startrilogy, set in a world in which there are thirteen kingdoms, a wealth of adventure and a sense that not everyone is telling the truth.
Non–fiction I’m most ready to read: It’s Not About the Burqa: Muslim Women on Faith, Feminism, Sexuality and Race – edited by Mariam Khan (February 21st)
I am actually good friends with the sister of the Miriam Khan, the editor of It’s Not About the Burqa and have been since we shared a table in a sixth-form class. Since then I have heard a few updates on her very cool sister, who managed to get a job in publishing and edited this book, a collection of voices which are rarely represented in the media. It really deserves to be read by all.
Most anticipated sequel: Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi (March 5th)
Tomi Adeyemi’s debut young adult fantasy, Children of Blood and Bone, was released in 2018 and topped multiple bestseller lists, but Adeyemi’s novel made the press before the book was even released, when the seven–figure deal for the rights to her book led people to compare it to Harry Potter. The West-African inspired story is stunning – I sped through the first novel and cannot wait to return to the well-crafted world. The film rights for the first book may have been secured by Fox but there is certainly time to catch up on the series before both film and second book are released.