After receiving a strange message on Facebook from a stranger, Jay decides to respond. As an intrigued novelist/screenwriter, the tone has a familiarity about it and this instantly brings back memories of somebody from his past. From this moment forward, the book explodes into an electric novel continually flipping between 1992 Paris and modern-day Los Angeles. Young Jay is determined to make it in the art world, and the novel even addresses the controversy that surrounded Frey after releasing A Million Little Pieces.
Currently serving eleven years in a Kentucky federal prison for robbing a bank, Nico Walker wrote this story of a young Army Medic on an old typewriter. With a similar story to Walker’s own, the medic suffers with PTSD after returning home from Iraq and fights a battle with drugs during the Midwest’s own battle with the opioid crisis. Compared to Reservoir Dogs, the almost autobiographical tale sees money supplies empty and the character turn to crime.
Star of 2 Dope Queens and writer of You Can’t Touch My Hair, Robinson returns with a brand-new collection of essays covering all topics from gender to race and everything in between. Perfect for book clubs of all shapes and sizes, the essays will have you laughing of tales of from her experience with interracial dating (and there are a number of 90’s references too!).
How does a hedge fund manager take home millions of dollars regardless of their success (or failure)? In charge of $2.4 billion worth of funds, Barry Cohen now faces a different battle after a fight with his wife and nanny. As he travels to Manhattan to reconnect with himself, we get an insight into the financial world (and a family close to collapse).
Working with the Sunday Times for nearly three decades, Marie Colvin wore a patch over her left eye after losing it in Sri Lanka in 2001. No stranger to dangerous environments, she quickly gathered a reputation as a world-class journalist and people would clamber to meet her when in London. A friend of 14 years, now Lindsey Hilsum tells her story, what really happens as a war correspondent, and how Colvin overcame trauma both in work and in her personal life.
After assisting a senator on a campaign trail, a young woman is found dead. Lena is forced to recall her own time with the same senator and the traumatic experience that put an end to their working relationship. However, Lena didn’t speak up at the time and her family are big supporters of the senator’s political ideals. What are the risks to voicing opinions in a divided country? Is she right to be suspicious about the death of the young girl?
An entrepreneur and now author, Scott Belsky is the Chief Product Officer at Adobe and has detailed his conversations with artists, leaders, and company founders in this learning experience. Above all, he teaches three big lessons including advice to embrace the messy middle.
Author of The Lonely City, this novel is not only relevant, by dealing with Trump, Brexit, and a manner of other social concerns, but it also manages to build a conversation regarding marriage, living as an artist, and being afraid of commitment.
America Ferrera brings together a collection of excellent essays in this book which allow us to discover what it’s like to be an immigrant in the United States. With interviews including Issa Rae and Lin-Manuel Miranda, how does life work when you have a connection to multiple cultures? Although focused on the U.S., the themes of identity and the sense of belonging are a shared human trait which makes this book so important in modern society
With faith in governments seemingly disappearing, will an entity need to step up and fill the void left behind? Pro-LGBT, pro-social good, and pro-sustainability, the Big Tech companies such as Amazon and Google are certainly making a better impression. However, futurist Lucie Greene has very different views and this superb book explores theories and likely scenarios through a clever interpretation of events alongside interviews with scholars, corporate leaders, journalists, venture capitalists, and more.
When life gets too serious, we turn to funny creations and characters…and a whole generation once turned to Parker Posey for some comic relief. Now, she shares her story with the world with tales of her notable film roles and her Southern childhood. However, it’s the wider analysis on fame and the strangeness of it all that will have you chuckling until the end.
For a slightly heavier read, topics such as class, race, and sex are tackled through the ingenious writing of JM Holmes. Opening with the line ‘How many white women you been with?’, the reader is thrown into a world where four friends transform from pot-loving teens to attending high society events. Alongside the narrative, a different story unfolds – an honest assessment of being a man in America.
Based in post-war London, siblings Rachel and Nathaniel have to survive without parents after their disappearance in Singapore. Left in the hands of dubious (to say the least!) characters, they are soon exposed to the world (and the underworld). Though Nathanial has a key role in smuggling individuals onto barges on the Thames, nothing can replace his mother and he attempts to uncover the truth about his family.
As well as whether pineapple should be on pizza, humanity is also undecided on life’s major questions too including political debates and the fate of the human race. According to Pinker, an experimental psychologist, we should be cautiously optimistic since happiness, knowledge, health, and prosperity are all improving across the globe. Illuminating from start to finish, Pinker sheds some light on the debate between global cooperation and our innate sense of tribalism.
In the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, the Dutchers once spent six years with a pack of wolves and learned everything there is to know about these beautiful animals. As debates raged as to whether wolves should be reintroduced to American soil, the Dutchers attempted to bring us closer to them. This captivating tale shows the intelligence and emotion of wolves and why we may just be able to learn a thing or two from them.
A self-named group of friends called ‘the Gunners’ lost a member after Sally decided to cut all ties while young. After fifteen years of no contact, the group reunites for her funeral and struggle with this second loss. Examining the power of childhood friendships and the secrets we all keep, Kauffman is clever with the characters while allowing the reader to recognize themselves in the story.
Not persuaded by social normalcies, Laura doesn’t get the fascination with constant sex and hates the idea of having a child. After a one-night stand with somebody posing as a family friend, however, she becomes a single mother. Although well off thanks to her robber baron great-grandfather, this fantastic story discovers New York life in the 1980s and 1990s while retaining a sense of fun throughout.
Stefanovic took on beauty contest participants from Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and various other countries in the region despite the ongoing conflict between the nations. Though with particular attention on the contest itself, Stefanovic creatively lines the story with tales of her childhood and adolescence moving between Australia and Yugoslavia while the Yugoslav wars raged on. The sheer contrast between tigers in Belgrade and hot beaches in Australia provoke deep thought in this unique and crazy book.
Leaving traces of his own life in Small Country, this first novel from Faye (a French-Rwandan rap star) follows Gabriel who has a similar upbringing and left Burundi to escape the civil war and Rwandan genocide. Caught between wanting to discuss his past and others not wanting to hear it in Paris, the truths of his past consume him but he knows he must deal with his feelings otherwise he’ll never be free from the shackles in his new country.
It’s easy to compare the political reigns of Trump against Obama; it’s less easy to do so with inside knowledge. Luckily, we have exactly this with Pfeiffer who was Obama’s Communications Director. As we learn more about the Obama that fewer people saw in the public eye, Pfeiffer offers a nostalgic and funny assessment of the current situation while sending an important message; we can all still make a difference and fight for a better country.
After a poor upbringing in 1990’s Toronto, two brothers love their Trinidadian mother and never met their Indian father. Despite the daily battle against racism and police officers, the bond between the two keeps them strong and provides a knowledge that they can face anything, and anyone, together. Then, Francis dies…and Michael must face the world alone. Beautifully written and sure to bring a tear or two, we recommend this for anyone who needs a tale of camaraderie and sibling friendship in their lives.
As the fantastically funny second instalment after How to Build a Girl, Caitlin Moran brings nostalgia to a time where hope seemed rife. In the mid-1990s, Clinton was president and Europe saw the Berlin wall brought down. We’re transported to London where Johanna uses a pen name and an alter ego to find fame in music journalism. Funny, gripping, and everything you need for nostalgia and a simpler time.
While James Joyce had a bad-tempered father who was violent and frequently drinking and Oscar Wilde hated his own father, W.B. Yeats’s father was a huge influence in his life who offered great conversation and love at all ages. Different stories, and Joyce even left Ireland to get away from his father, yet they were all impacted in similar ways. How were these three men shaped by their differing relationships with their fathers? Toibin investigates in this enthralling page-turner.
This could be summarised as a collection of short stories, but it’s more than that. It’s a portal to different worlds and an escape from the pressures of life. While some stories lean on science fiction, others rely on themes of love and compassion. Poignant, full of emotion, and impossible to put down, this is the sort of collection that needs to be read under a blanket in front of the fireplace.
During WWII, Gayatri has big ambitions as an artist but it’s perhaps her rebellious attitude and will to escape both motherhood and marriage that first draws you in. For Myshkin, the son, he’s been traveling the same path for many decades; one that leads to his mother. Now, he’s just about to reach the journey’s end.
There we have it, our top books of 2018 and some truly fascinating reads. Whether you want a gripping fiction or to learn of Silicon Valley and the secrets within, there are some fantastic options in this list. Let’s hope for a similarly successful 2019!