I was chatting to another author earlier about the books that I want to read. I thought I would share with you what’s on my list, and maybe you can share your wish list. I like reading blog book reviews, sometimes feeling disappointed, on other occasions I am pleasantly surprised. As ever, books remain entirely subjective.
Some of these are more recently published than others. As much as I try not to judge a book by it’s cover – these are beautiful – it’s difficult for the aesthetics not to enter into the equation.
I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death
I have actually started O’Farrell’s, I Am I Am I Am, and it’s had quite an impact already, so I shall be blogging a review when I have finished. I suspect it won’t be long. Autobiographical in nature, it is an entirely different creature to her novels, delving into a string of near death experiences that will startle the reader and induce a sense of gratitude for what we have, and who we have in our lives. I have only delved into the first few chapters, but this book is promising.
This book came to my attention through an editor and an author on Twitter, both of whom I respect. In other words, if they liked the book, I think I may enjoy it. Set in the 1970s, the book tells the story of an up-and-coming composer, Ralph, who is visiting a composer at his home in Putney to discuss a collaboration. There, he meets nine year old Daphne and he becomes determined to be with her. Ralph, is an adult and their blooming relationship must be kept hidden. It is pitched as a ‘bold, thought-provoking novel about the moral lines we tread, the stories we tell ourselves and the memories that play themselves out again and again, like snatches of song.’
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
Arundhati Roy’s writing is descriptive and lyrical. Having enjoyed The God of Small Things, I want to read this book, described by The Guardian as a, ‘sprawling kaleidoscopic fable.’ A follow-up to her previous book, this story explores the life of Old Delhi guesthouse owner, Anjum. She gathers the lost and the outcasts and crosses paths with an architect, Tilo, who claims an abandoned baby as hers. The tale covers the years and a continent. From the reviews, this looks to be as good as I would expect from a writer I really enjoy.
Imagine: How Creativity Works
I watched neuroscientist, Jonah Lehrer’s, video on how new research is deepening our understanding of the human imagination and considers how this new science can make us happier. It piqued my interest and led me to his book about creativity. As a writer, I’m fascinated by the creative process. He talks about the ‘grit’ needed to keep going and succeed.
The book asks the did you know questions: ‘Did you know that the most creative companies have centralised bathrooms? That brainstorming meetings are a terrible idea? That the color blue can help you double your creative output?’ Here, Lehrer looks at the new science of creativity. He crushes the myth of muses, higher powers, even creative types, suggesting that creativity is learned, rather than a natural gift (although I’m not sure that I will entirely agree with his theory).
He endorses daydreaming and travel, and explains why criticism is essential, illustrating ways in which we can make neighbourhoods more vibrant, companies more productive, and schools more effective. The book discusses Bob Dylan’s writing habits and the drug addictions of poets. It explores why Elizabethan England experienced a creative explosion, and how Pixar’s office space is designed to boost creativity.
I look forward to reading this! Let me know in the comments what’s on your TBR pile. It’s good to hear what people are reading.