4 books to read this winter including Taylor Jenkins Reid, Will Dean, Maggie O'Farrell, Susanna Clarke | Books with Nicola Adam

Welcome to the first of this new column aimed at all bookworms - today featuring novels by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Will Dean, Maggie O'Farrell and Susanna Clarke.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 2:22 pm
Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell
Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

First up - she’s an unlikely heroine - a deaf, bisexual, journalist with serious issues and a drink problem (OK, not that unlikely).

But Tuva Moodyson is now on her fourth adventure in the dark and bloodthirsty moose forests of deep, dark Sweden and thriller readers are lapping her up.

Bad Apples is the latest instalment of the series featuring Tuva by English author Will Dean, who himself lives in a wooden cabin in a remote clearing in a Swedish forest with his wife, smalls son, absolutely enormous dog and feral looking cat.

Hamnet Author Maggie O'Farrell

He swims in the icy sea and likes chopping stuff. I know this as he also has a You Tube channel where he shares wisdom with wannabe authors, along with snippets of his unusual life. First in the Tuva series is Dark Pines - and this fourth book ratchets up the tension another level. That ending! I highly recommend if you need something to get your teeth into.

I’ve only just got round to reading last year’s Women’s Prize for fiction winner Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet and oh my - it’s a long while since I read something so wonderful. The story is inspired by William’s Shakespeare’s son who has been all but forgotten but whose name is given to one of the most famous plays ever written.

It’s a magical, fictionalised, account -weaving a picture of a long-gone time where survival is not guaranteed and domestic life is a struggle. It’s dream-like and draws you in to its otherworldly characters with an overlay of not-quite magic. It left quite an impression on me and I highly recommend.

I intend to be 100% honest in this column so I’ll confess in the interests of fairness I also picked up this year’s Women’s Prize for fiction winner, Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi. At first I, who will pretty much read anything, found it a bit of a slog but ultimately it’s worth persevering - it just takes longer and a little more suspension of disbelief at first to be wound into this beguiling world that is not what it seems - it’s ethereal beginning kicks off a meaty story.

If you allow yourself to be whisked off you will be enthralled as Susanna’s prose is beautiful.

I’m late to the party on this one and its billed as a summer read but I’d politely suggest Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the six is a slice of sunshine at any time of year.

The story is told in an unusual format, it’s effectively a transcript of a documentary or series of interviews charting the story of the meteoric rise of the fictional seventies band Daisy Jones and the six. This is a box of chocolates in book form.

Welcome to this new book column where I promise a distinctly snob-free (spoiler-free) approach to book reviews and news, with my top tips for reads you may enjoy with a slight (but not all consuming) bias toward northern writers. I’m happy to hear from you -I can include (or not) your name if you have a top recommendation and I’m also keen to hear about opportunities for writers, particularly in Lancashire, plus local book clubs and author visits.

Email me at [email protected] (Mark it BOOKS)

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