This week, I polished off the last of my original reading list for Keeping Up With The Penguins with a review of Ulysses. That, of course, begs the question: what’s next? I’ve accumulated some 250+ additional books since I started this project, and I’ve cobbled them together into a list of sorts, BUT this time around, I plan on giving myself a little more flexibility. Rather than sticking rigidly to a list, I’m just going to go wherever the bookish winds blow me. Never fear: you’ll still get your weekly review here on Keeping Up With The Penguins, plus extra reviews of hot new releases for Keeper Upperers (have you subscribed yet? You should, the perks are awesome – just whack in your email address!). Here’s a sneak peek of what’s coming up soon…
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
I feel like I might be the last person – definitely the last Australian woman – alive who hasn’t read Big Little Lies yet. I reviewed Liane Moriarty’s earlier novel, The Husband’s Secret, last year, and I’m curious to see what this one is like. It’s the book that shot Moriarty into the stratosphere of bookish stardom, and it had a wildly successful HBO adaptation with Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. I think it’ll make for a great palette cleanser, a good gripping page-turner to get things rolling…
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
I wasn’t actually planning to pick this one up, until I heard David Marr interview Andrew Sean Greer at the Sydney Writers’ Festival. Greer was so disarming, and so charming, and spoke so eloquently about how he came to write Less that I went out and bought it immediately. He said that he worked out the only way to write about one’s own miseries was to make them funny, and so he did. A funny book about an ageing gay man travelling the world to escape his ex-lover’s wedding? Yes, please!
Sanditon by Jane Austen
Sanditon is Jane Austen’s final novel, incomplete at the time of her death. The fine folks at Oxford World Classics were kind enough to send me a copy of their new edition for review last year. I read and reviewed it for Keeper Upperers (*cough*subscribe!*cough*), but I still have SO MUCH MORE to say about it! And about Austen in general… So, I’m going to read this one again, and bring you a more comprehensive review later in the year. Maybe for Austen in August, whaddaya reckon?
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Here’s a peek behind the book blogging curtain for you: I’ve actually already read The Handmaid’s Tale. Hehe! I hadn’t when I started this project, but when it came time to review The Testaments over on Primer, I thought I’d best read the original first, to make sure I had a handle on what was going on. I squeezed it in around my other reading commitments, and filed away my notes so that I could bring you a full review once my original reading list was done. So, keep your eyes peeled, it’s coming soon!
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
I told just about every person I know this past year that The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared is my new ultimate cheer-up read. A whole bunch of them responded “Oh, if you like that, you simply MUST read A Man Called Ove“. Opinion seems to be divided on some of Backman’s other novels, but as best I can tell this one is basically universally adored. If it’s anything like The One Hundred Year Old Man, I’m going to join the chorus. I’m saving it for a moment when I need a book that feels like a hug! (Pssst: does anyone know how to actually pronounce “Ove”?)
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
This is another one that I feel like EVERYONE has read except for me! An American Marriage has been highly recommended by everyone from Oprah to Barack Obama. It also won the Women’s Prize for Fiction last year. If that’s not enough, I just cannot resist the gorgeous cover art! Inside, there’s a story of a young black couple, cruelly separated early in their marriage when Roy, the husband, is falsely accused of sexual assault and incarcerated for several years. I feel like this one is going to be a heavier read, but a vital one.
Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
Because I alphebatise by bookshelves by author surname, Andre Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name has been in the #1 spot for a long, long time. I’ve not seen the film, but I’ve heard it’s fantastic, and the book it’s based on even better. As I understand, it’s about a young man’s infatuation with an older house guest, and the love affair that blooms. It sounds to me like it’s already a contemporary classic of queer literature, so I’m really looking forward to giving it a go. Plus, there’s a sequel!
Her Body And Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
I’m hoping to branch out in a bunch of different ways with my next to-be-read list, and this is one of them: collections of short stories. There weren’t enough of them on my original reading list, so now’s my chance to get into more! Her Body And Other Parties is one of the most popular ones that has been released in recent years, by American author Carmen Maria Machado. I’m particularly curious about the SVU-themed story that I heard her talk about in an interview; after surgery on her wisdom teeth (or something like that), she streamed seasons of Law & Order SVU as she recovered and, in her pain-killer-and-fever-induced fugue state, it inspired a weird story based on episode summaries. I’m here for it!
And, it goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway, there’ll be HEAPS more! As well as branching out with formats (plays, poetry), I’m really excited to read more women, more POC, more writers with disability, more LGBTIQ+ writers… it’s going to be awesome! Are there any books you’re particularly eager for me to read and review? Drop your recommendations in the comments below!