I’m sure you’re all familiar with the bedside book stack. It’s the stack of books beside your bed that you unwittingly build over days or weeks or months, until the stack grows so high that it threatens to topple over and squish you in your sleep and you need to move the books along. Death by books… not the worst way to go, but what a shame it would be to go before you get a chance to read them all!
This is the start of a semi-regular series on My Cup and Chaucer. I’ll take a photo of the books stacked next to my bed from time to time and provide a brief description of each book and, with any luck, it will inspire me and motivate me to read them faster. Some of them will be old books I haven’t read yet, some of them will be books that have just been released that I’m currently reading, and some will be books that aren’t published for another month or two.
I hope you find something in my bedside book stack that takes your fancy!
My current bedside book stack
The Power by Naomi Alderman
I always have the best of intentions when books that sound interesting win awards. I think to myself yes, this is the one I will read! Truth be told, that hardly ever happens, so who knows when I’ll get to this one. Anyway, The Power recently won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, if you didn’t know. It’s a dystopian science-fiction novel and in it, women have developed the ability release electricity from their fingers and in turn become the dominant gender. Power is literally in the hands of women. Actually just writing this makes me want to pick it up, so maybe I’ll get to it sooner than I think.
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland (available September 2017)
I wasn’t the world’s biggest fan of Krystal Sutherland’s debut novel Our Chemical Hearts, but this (her second) sounds really good and, hopefully, quite different. The novel is about Esther, a girl whose grandfather was cursed by Death. Because of this, everyone in her family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime and will ultimately die as a result of the fear as well. Esther hasn’t worked out what her fear is yet but when she is pickpocketed by her classmate, she is forced to figure it out sooner than she expected to. I don’t know, it sounds cute so I’ll give it a go.
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (available October 2017)
I haven’t read any of Kamila Shamsie’s other books but this was recently presented by the Australian publisher as one of their top picks for Christmas. It sounds incredibly timely and moving, although I am sad that we’re not getting the American cover here as well. Below, the US cover is on the left and the Australian/UK cover is on the right. What do you think?
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
This book has been on my radar since I first heard about it last year I think it was, but it has of course popped onto the radar of many more readers following the colossal steaming pile of garbage Mamamia incident. It’s depressing that it took that incident to raise the profile of this book because I feel like Roxane Gay isn’t the any publicity is good publicity sort of person. Roxane is an exquisite writer and I think this book will be nothing short of confronting, fierce, and extraordinary.
The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell (available November 2017)
Now for something completely different! This book is said to be reminiscent of the style of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill; Hill is the author of The Woman in Black
, one of my favourite ghost stories (FYI that review is not very good but in my defence, it’s quite old). From what I can gather, this story is about Elsie. She and her husband are recently married when he suddenly dies, and she is sent to see out her pregnancy at his country estate, The Bridge. Elsie isn’t super popular and she feels alone and isolated, but she might not be as alone as she thinks… a locked room in the house houses a 200-year-old diary and a painted wooden figure that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. Yep, I am 100% here for this.
The Late Show by Michael Connelly (available mid-July 2017)
I’ve never read a Michael Connelly novel before but this is the first book in a new series, so it seemed like the perfect time to start! This series has a female protagonist, a young detective trying to make her way in the LAPD. She works the night shift in Hollywood, which sounds about as colourful as you’d expect, as a punishment for filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor. I’m on her side already, to be honest, and I can’t wait to read this to find out how her story progresses once she starts to pursue not one but two cases against the orders of her superior.
The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter (available August 2017)
It’s no secret that Karin Slaughter is a master of the crime and thriller genre but it’s been many years since I’ve read one of her books. This one popped onto my radar at BEA and also one of my favourite bloggers Crime By The Book gave it a glowing review
and I completely trust Abby’s reviews — we have very similar reading tastes. This is the story of a family that was torn apart by a tragedy and from what I’ve read about the book it’s a highly character-driven story, which is exactly the kind of story I love. I’ll be picking this one up very soon.
Get Poor Slow by David Free
David Free is an Australian critic and this is his thriller. The story is about a loathed book reviewer, Ray, who is in a spot of bother. A young woman is dead and he was the last person to see her alive. I don’t know much more about the book but I’m excited to read it; the murder victim was a publishing assistant and I can’t pass up a mystery set in the publishing world.
Dear Mr M by Herman Koch
I was lucky enough to hear Herman Koch speak at the Sydney Writer’s Festival in 2016 but I still haven’t got around to reading his most recent book. This is another set in the world of authors and novels, and the protagonist M is a celebrated novelist. His one great success was a suspense novel based on a real-world disappearance, but he hasn’t written anything at the same level again. Dear Mr M is told from various perspectives, from M to a teenage couple of a missing teacher, and M’s novel somehow combines all their fates. It sounds brilliant.
Not Just Lucky by Jamila Rizvi
This is another brilliant book that I’ve nearly finished reading. Jamila Rizvi is one of the most intelligent and accomplished young Australian women and I’m always thrilled whenever she pops up in print, on TV, or on the radio. Her book is about women in the workforce, and how from birth women are conditioned (sometimes intentionally but mostly unintentionally) to learn that their role in our patriarchal society is to be pretty, be nice, and to let men do the serious work. This isn’t good enough and Jamila’s book looks at how it happens, why it happens, and most importantly what women in the workforce can do to stop it from happening again. Also, shameless plug, I spoke with Jamila about the book and you can listen to that here
The Making of Christina by Meredith Jaffe (available August 2017)
I loved The Fence by Meredith Jaffe and I was stoked when her publisher Pan Macmillan sent me a proof copy of her new novel. This new book is the story about an interior designer, Christina, who has a passionate affair with a client and uproots her life and the life of her daughter, Bianca, to follow him to a run-down farm in the mountains. Christina pours herself into restoring the farm but over time notices that Bianca retreats into herself and becomes quiet and sullen. I have an idea about what can cause teenage girls to exhibit that sort of behaviour, and while I hope it’s not that, if it is I trust that subject matter in Meredith’s hands among most others.
Dancing With Demons by Tim Watson-Munro
For all the crime fiction I read, I read a surprisingly small amount of true crime. ‘Doc’ Tim Watson-Munro is Australia’s leading criminal psychologist, and having assessed over 20K ‘persons of interest’ I’m certain he’ll have some incredible stories to tell.
The Choke by Sofie Laguna (available September 2017)
I’m really excited to have an early proof copy of this book. Sofie Laguna won the Miles Franklin Award in 2015 so naturally this novel is highly anticipated. It’s described as a brilliant, haunting novel about a child navigating an often dark and uncaring world of male power, guns, and violence, but knowing Sofie it will also be compassionate, moving, and I hope ultimately uplifting.
Come Sundown by Nora Roberts
I’ve saved the most embarrassing book for last. It’s not embarrassing because of who it is, it’s embarrassing because I always get so excited about a new standalone Nora Roberts novel and I haven’t read this one yet. It’s been out for over a month! I know, right? Shameful. I even rushed out to a Barnes & Noble in New York to pick it up on release day. I’ll get to you soon, Nora, I promise!
And that is what is stacked next to my bed at the moment! Did you discover a book (or two or three) that you want to read? Leave me a comment and let me know.