Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith

In her writings from 2016, the Year of the Monkey, Patti Smith, our poetic punk pilgrim, takes us on her travels across many US states. She cuts a solitary figure amongst the backdrop of the country’s increasingly polarising politics, travelling with ghosts of those she loves and the knowledge that she’s soon to lose two…More

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

A Boomer, my lovely Mum, kindly let her Millennial daughter know that Gen Z were raving about the Song of Achilles on TikTok. When I looked into it, I indeed found a myriad of videos with youngsters all expressing how Miller’s 2011 debut had tugged at their hearts. The story’s origins start many many generations…More

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

I recently stumbled across a post from 2015 titled Our Favourite Books and Why We Love Them, in which some of my co-workers shared their favourite reads. One Hundred Years of Solitude appeared twice. I knew of the book as a widely acclaimed, landmark novel that uses magic realism, a style of fiction that blurs…More

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

The Doll Factory is a compelling and well-written gothic affair, with the following ensemble of main characters: Silas, an obsessive epidermist and owner of a Curiosity Shop, who is entranced by all things strange and beautiful. Two twins, Iris and Rose, apprentices in a doll shop. Iris has a twisted collarbone which she is incredibly…More

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Hamnet, the reimagining of the death of Shakespeare’s 11-year-old son, is set in the days of the Bubonic plague. It was published in 2020 and, in the years of work leading up to its release, O’Farrell would never have been able to guess how the plights of the 1580s would resonate for its readers in…More

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor is a 29-year-old social misfit who, following years of a solitary life, sticking to the shadows, becomes enamoured with a musician, which pushes her to be more social. Eleanor’s mix of intelligence, her unusual way of thinking, and a lack of any type of social filter make her a compelling, entertaining character. It’s humorous…More