What we're reading - 26 July 2019

Opinion - Books Friday, 26 July 2019

The BookBrunch team reveal what's on their bedside tables

Julie Vuong
When it comes to historical fiction, I'm looking for something with as much bite as Gillespie and I by Jane Harris (Harvill), which really got under my skin. So I've started The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins (Viking), a recent debut that's had a lot of buzz, about a double murder in 1800s London.

Lucy Nathan
I've just finished Expectation by Anna Hope (Doubleday), and it absolutely lived up to the hype. It is a delicate and nuanced portrayal of female friendship, motherhood, and the way that our lives change as we get older -perceptive, intelligent, bittersweet, and beautifully written.

Jo Henry
One of my grandfather's Reprint Society books, An Episode of Sparrows by Rumer Godden (now available from Virago Modern Classics). Set in post-war London, where the wonderfully named Lovejoy, an 11-year-old girl, attempts to make a garden on a bomb-site. Evocative, moving and highly recommended.

David Roche
Recommended across media recently, The Chain (Orion) changed Adrian McKinty's fortunes as a novelist, with an agent offering him AUS$10,000 to quit his other job as an Uber driver and write this book. Doing so resulted in a "six-figure book deal" and a "seven-figure film deal" from Paramount. In it, parents are having their children kidnapped, and to get them back they have not only to pay a ransom but kidnap another child themselves to keep The Chain going. A perfect, gripping page-turner for the holidays.

Neill Denny
I am just starting The Spy and the Traitor (Viking) by Ben Mcintyre, the story of the defection of Russian spy Oleg Gordievsky. The reviews have been fantastic, and Mcintyre is a master of the area. But is it, imho, up to scratch? More later...

Nicholas Clee
The Pulse Glass by Gillian Tindall (Chatto, October). As ever, Gillian Tindall reveals history as a vivid presence. But The Pulse Glass is also about what we forget, sometimes necessarily. It's an education, and a moving reflection on ordinary lives.

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