2018 publishing just keeps on getting better and better. There’s already so much to look forward to not mention Ponti by Sharlene Teo, Circe by Madeline Miller, a new novel by Haruki Murakami and now it’s time to add Suicide Club by Rachel Heng to your lists.
There’s already been a lot of buzz about this book online so I considered myself very lucky to get a proof copy of this one. I mean the cover alone, I know don’t judge… but totally judge, this book looks striking. Plus having your debut novel published by Sceptre is ridiculously cool.
Set in the near future humanity is on the brink of immortality, well the elite are on the brink of immortality. Lea surrounds herself with the right people, has a high powered job, hasn’t eaten sugar in years, exercises everyday. One small mistake puts her under the surveillance of the ministry and slowly her perfect life starts to unravel.
I got about five chapters into Suicide Club when I realised what I was reading was a big deal. Heng’s novel had touches of Black Mirror in the sense that she had created a future that wasn’t farfetched, it was completely acceptable and imaginable that people would modify their bodies to extend their life expectancy.
One of the first themes that Heng explores in her novel of near immortality is how society grieves. The grief obviously lasting a lifetime but when that lifetime is hundreds of years.
Suicide Club has really stuck with me. I finished it a few days ago and I can’t stop thinking about this book, I can’t get into any other books. My mind keeps going back to this book! There was a lot I really connected with this book, I loved Heng’s writing style and the story was original.
I can’t recommend this enough and believe me, Suicide Club will be HUGE.
Suicide Club by Rachel Heng is published by Sceptre Books on 10th July 2018
Some times I get stuck in a rut with reading the same picture books over and over again. It’s easy to pick up Oliver Jeffers, Rob Biddulph and Jon Klassen constantly throughout the day and night when we’re reading together but I thought I’d try something new with my daughter.
Every Monday for the past few weeks we’ve made a point of watching Cardcaptor Sakura. It’s lovely, it’s cute and it’s fun, perfect for a toddler. Seeing as the show was such a hit in our house I thought I’d test the waters with the manga. I was almost certain this would be a wasted effort, I didn’t think the black and white illustrations would hold P’s attention and I was worried the right-to-left format would be too confusing.
I was so wrong. Cardcaptor Sakura was perfect, as I read though the text P described each scene, she remembered all the characters and we had the best time reading together.
If you’ve read manga before you’ll know that CLAMP have created some of the most beloved characters and stories so they’re a perfect starting point for new readers. They write exquisite fantasy manga and the illustrations are gorgeous.
After Cardcaptor Sakura we tried a few different mangas and most were a hit. It’s hard finding content that’s suitable for much younger readers but here’s a few we’ve been reading:
Prétear by Kaori Naruse & Junichi Satou – This is pretty much a super shojo magical retelling of Snow White.
Kingdom Hearts by Shiro Amano – The Final Fantasy and Disney Square Enix game but in manga format. These mangas are so beautiful. They’re exciting, page turning and great for younger readers.
Nodame Cantabile by Tomoko Ninomiya – A weird romance story revolving around classical music students. Noda Megumi the titular character is my all time favourite manga character. There was also an anime and drama that were equally as good as the books.
For the past couple of weeks we’ve had a reoccurring picture book, most books are on a rotation otherwise I’ll slowly go insane reading them but The Last Chip by Duncan Beedie has been picked out every night.
The Last Chip is the story a very hungry pigeon called Percy. Little Percy does everything he can to go in search for the smallest scraps of food but is constantly met with disappointment.
I can’t praise this story enough, Beedie’s first two picture books were such a delight so we were ecstatic to get a third book. The Last Chip is a thoughtful story about perseverance and kindness. This is the sort of picture book that make your toddler a more considerate person. It’s the first picture I’ve come across that really tackles poverty in a tasteful way but doesn’t divert from being a lovely story that everyone will love.
Like with The Bear Who Stared and The Lumberjack’s Beard Duncan Beedie’s are gorgeous. I really can’t wait to read whatever Duncan Beedie writes next, his books have entertained my daughter for HOURS.
Grab a copy, read it about 20 times, be a better person.
10% of the profits from the sale of this book go to The Trussell Trust, supporting a network of 425 foodbanks across the UK.
I don’t often post about books I haven’t even started yet but today I received the most exciting proof.
Sucide Club by Rachel Heng is one to watch in 2018. I’ve been (excuse the pun) dying to read this since the moment I saw that Sceptre had acquired this novel.
In near-future New York, life expectancy averages three hundred years.
Immortality is almost within our grasp.
I mean, just look at how this book has arrived!! I feel like I’m going to end up rushing my current read just so I can start Suicide Club.
I’m about the get really gushy about a book. A really, really, REALLY good book. I’ve just finished Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I was one billion percent wrong when I thought that I wasn’t going to get much from this book.
Eleanor Oliphant is about the titular character who has the same lunch routine everyday, she wears the same outfit everyday, she’s worked in the same mundane job for years, she doesn’t have any friends but… She’s completely fine. After winning a work raffle Eleanor ends up seeing a band and decided that the lead singer is THE ONE. Eleanor goes about changing everything about herself so she can become the perfect woman for the musician.
I expected a easy, fluffy read with this one but what I got was one of the best novels I’ve read in ages. Eleanor Oliphant is so funny, I can’t remember a time I’ve laughed out loud so much. Eleanor’s observations are cutting, blunt and honest. And Oliphant isn’t a character you laugh at in a mocking way, there’s a real warmth and compassion you create for this character. Honeyman has crafted one of my new favourite characters and I just want everyone to read this book.
Trust me, just get this book. It will make your week so much more enjoyable and it’ll make your life so much better.
I was currently part way through two novels when Lullaby crosses my path.
I’d seen this book floating around twitter and Instagram with rave reviews. A novel with is creepy baby blue front cover. A novel with the tag line “The baby is dead. It only took a few seconds.”
Lullaby by Leïla Slimani, translated by Sam Taylor is the story of stressed out, stay-at-home mum Myriam, the pressures of motherhood are taking its toll on her. When the opportunity of returning to work arises Myriam and her husband Paul make the decision to hire Louise as a nanny for their two small children.
Lullaby has one of the most shocking and upsetting opening pages I’ve ever read. It’s a razor sharp novel that holds the reader in the heady grip of paranoia and tension. After the initial shock of the opening chapter Slimani lures you into a sense of sympathy for a mother who has lost her identity as woman. Much like Territory of Light by Yuko Tsushima, Lullaby is a brutally honest portrayal of motherhood.
When the nanny Louise comes into the picture you spend every chapter looking for a darker meaning in all of her actions and reactions. You’re constantly waiting for it all to kick off and you find yourself holding your breath at the end of each paragraph.
I was disappointed with the ending of Lullaby but that’s not to say it’s not a compelling read. I just found myself going “oh ok then.” at the end then moved on to my next book without another thought. I thought Lullaby would be a book to stay with me.
If you enjoy creeping thrillers and great writing then Lullaby is a must read. Plus it’s super short so you’ll whiz through it in an afternoon.
Lullaby by Leïla Slimani is out now. Published by Faber & Faber
I finished last year on such a bum note. Reading was good but it was a naff year for me.
It’s the 4th January and I’ve already finished two books. Yes, one of them was an audiobook (I’ll pop a review up as soon as I can) the other book was one of the best short novels I’ve read in years.
Last year after reading Can You Hear Me? By Elena Varvello my colleague V showed me a book called I’m Not Scared by Niccolò Ammaniti. After telling me all about it I ordered a copy and I could not wait to start this book. For some reason I forgot about this book. A few weeks later my friend @ObvsItsAmy recommended me the same book! I went to get the copy of ordered and couldn’t find it anywhere. I forgot about this book again UNTIL TODAY!
I found my copy.
I’m Not Scared is a short, dark novel. Set one blisteringly hot Italian summer, nine-year-old Michele Amitrano makes a stomach churning discovery… but he tells no one.
I read the first few pages in the afternoon, I was gripped. I was counting down the hours until I could get home and read more… I ended reading the entire book in one evening. Ammaniti’s writing is tense and weighs on the reader like the heavy Italian humidity. The translation by Jonathan Hunt is brilliant.
This book is nothing short of a masterpiece and just a really cool read. It’s shocking and the ending left me numb. This is the book you want to give to your coolest friend or you want your coolest friend to recommend to you.
If you haven’t picked out your first read for 2018 then start with this powerful loss of innocence.