Keeping Up With The Penguins

Reviews For The Would-Be Booklover

Search results: "evelyn waugh" (page 1 of 2)

Scoop – Evelyn Waugh

Ever wonder why I’m constantly buying secondhand books? Aside from being thrifty, it’s because they have the most amazing and hilarious charm that I just don’t get when I click “buy now” on the latest brand-new mass-market paperback. Inside this well-worn copy of Scoop by Evelyn Waugh, for instance, I found a hand-written business card, complete with name, phone number, email address, and the (one would assume unofficial) job title of “complete and utter wanker”. Can’t beat that!

Scoop - Evelyn Waugh - Book Laid on Wooden Table - Keeping Up With The Penguins
Buy Scoop here.
(Is it hypocritical to sing the praises of secondhand books and include affiliate links for new ones? Oh, well – it’s an easy way for you to support this page, at least!)

Evelyn Waugh was the second son of Arthur Waugh, celebrated publisher-slash-literary critic, and also the brother of Alec Waugh, the popular novelist. I can only imagine the weight of family expectation on his shoulders, and the snippy conversations they had over Christmas dinners. Luckily, it would seem that Evelyn managed to out-write and out-last them both. He’s better known for his book Brideshead Revisited, but somehow Scoop, his satirical novel about sensationalist journalism and foreign correspondents, is the one that ended up on my reading list.

It’s kind of funny, really, to read a book about journalists and newspapers written before the News Of The World scandal. Scoop reads like a time capsule of the by-gone “heyday” of newspaper journalism. The protagonist is the humble (read: poor) William Boot, who lives on the very-very outskirts of London and regularly contributes over-written nature columns to The Daily Beast, a newspaper owned by the terrifying and powerful Lord Copper.

Boot’s life is turned upside-down when Lord Copper mistakes him for a fashionable member of the literati (John Courtney Boot, a distant cousin), and bullies him into accepting a post as a foreign correspondent. Boot is sent to the fictional East African state of Ishmaelia, where Lord Copper believes there to be “a very promising little war” underway. Boot’s directive is to give the conflict “fullest publicity”. (Yes, the whole way through, the parallels to Murdoch’s real-life media empire are eerie.) Boot has no idea what the fuck he is doing, of course, but despite his total incompetence, he manages to get the biggest “scoop” of the year (thus, the title). He heads home a journalistic hero.

When he gets back to London, however, there’s another case of mistaken identity. All the credit for his work goes to John Courtney Boot, the writer for whom Lord Copper had mistaken him initially. Our hero is actually relieved by that turn of events, and he goes back to his humble life of genteel poverty, writing nature columns and caring for his crazy family. Everyone goes home happy, The End.

Now, let’s not overlook this: there are a lot of ugly racist and sexist overtones in this story (as there are in just about every book of that era). Privileged white people travel to East Africa to make a spectacle of a war between people of colour, in order to sell newspapers. That’s pretty gross on its face, but at least Waugh seemed to have a certain level of self-awareness about the implications. In fact, I’d say he used Scoop as an opportunity to punch up. The East Africans weren’t the butt of the joke: the ridiculous arrogant journalists and newspaper moguls were.

And Waugh wasn’t subtle: the two major newspaper competitors were called the “Brute” and the “Beast”, so there’s no mistaking his true feelings. (Oh, and his idea of the lowliest employee at a newspaper was the book reviewer – I tried not to take that personally.)

Waugh had balls the size of Texas, it must be said. Scoop is actually based on his real-life experience working for the Daily Mail. He was sent to cover Mussolini’s role in the Second Italo-Abyssian war. Lord Copper is widely believed to be an amalgamation of characteristics of the real-life Lord Northcliffe and Lord Beaverbrook, a combination that produced a character so frightening his underlings could only say “Definitely, Lord Copper” and “Up to a point, Lord Copper” (which is how the whole mistaken identity issue arises to begin with). Waugh’s Scoop is the very clear and unambiguous predecessor to The Devil Wears Prada.

The main point Waugh was trying to make, it would seem, is that even if there isn’t anything newsworthy going on, the appearance of world media – desperate to please their editors and media owners back home – will, in itself, create the news. This sounds like an obvious statement of fact today, but I’d imagine at the time it was revelatory. Waugh appears to have foreseen the proliferation of fake news and alternative facts.

It’s a testament to his searing insight that Scoop maintains its relevance to the present day. Even as journalism dies a quiet death and the newspaper work room becomes a quaint relic and the news increasingly relocates to online formats with instantaneous delivery systems, Waugh’s wit and insight remains almost as sharp as it did at the time of publication.

As for the writing itself, as much as I admire Waugh’s incredible foresight in his premise and plot, Scoop wasn’t mind-blowing. It really evoked The Thirty-Nine Steps for me, actually – a grumpy Pommy bloke, through a series of coincidences, gets thrust into a situation that’s beyond him and he has to rise to the challenge. I liked it well enough; it wasn’t fantastic prose, but it wasn’t a chore to finish, and I’m glad to have read it.

If you’ve got an interest in media, how it works and how it affects our understanding of the world, Scoop would be great background reading for you – give it a go and let me know what you think.

P.S. This is hardly an important critique, but it’s something I can’t help mentioning: Waugh seemed to be unusually fond of the word “preternatural”. I had to look it up, to make sure it didn’t have some nuanced meaning or significant etymology that I’d missed. He used it so often! Twice in the first twenty pages alone, for crying out loud! In different contexts! I still can’t work out what he was playing at…

My favourite Amazon reviews of Scoop:

  • “Somewhere between William Boyd’s “A Good Man in Africa” and Graham Greene’s “Our Man In Havana” you will find Waugh’s “Scoop”, which should have been titled “Our Gardening Columnist in Ishmaelia”….” – Pop Bop
  • “I think some people would find this very funny. I didn’t.” – ellen sf
  • “Book was brand new and I loved the size of the font! Extra easy to leave nits in the margin (because I am studying the novel for a class)” – Ebony Cannon
  • “She’s a he. Pronounced EEEEE-velyn.” – Amazon Customer
  • “‘Feather-footed through the plashy fen passes the questing vole.’ That must babe good style.” – A customer

The Big List Of Author Birthdays

Literally what it says on the tin: a big list of author birthdays. I tracked down the birthday of every author I could think of, and put them all into one big list, just for you! If you can think of any author of note I’ve missed, let me know in the comments and I’ll see if I can add them in.

The Big List Of Author Birthdays - Keeping Up With The Penguins

Author Birthdays in January

1 January: E.M. Forster – Read my full review of A Passage To India here.
1 January: J.D. Salinger – Read my full review of The Catcher In The Rye here.

2 January: Andre Aciman – Read my full review of Call Me By Your Name here.

3 January: J.R.R. Tolkien

7 January: Zora Neale Hurston – Read my full review of Their Eyes Were Watching God here.

9 January: Simone de Beauvoir – Read my full review of She Came To Stay here.
9 January: Philippa Gregory – Read my full review of The Other Boleyn Girl here.
9 January: Wilbur Smith
9 January: Judith Krantz

11 January: Jasper Fforde
11 January: Diana Gabaldon – Read my full review of Outlander here.

12 January: Jack London – Read my full review of The Call Of The Wild here.
12 January: Haruki Murakami
12 January: Julia Quinn – Read my full review of Bridgerton here.

17 January: Anne Brontë – Read my full review of The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall here.
17 January: Emily M. Danforth – Read my full review of The Miseducation Of Cameron Post here.

19 January: Edgar Allan Poe

21 January: Casey McQuiston – Read my full review of Red, White & Royal Blue here.

22 January: Stephen Graham Jones

24 January: Edith Wharton – Read my full review of The Age Of Innocence here.

25 January: Stephen Chbosky Read my full review of The Perks Of Being A Wallflower here.
25 January: Virginia Woolf – Read my full review of Mrs Dalloway here.

27 January: Lewis Carroll – Read my full review of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland here.

29 January: Olga Tokarczuk
29 January: Anton Chekhov

30 January: Susannah Cahalan – Read my full review of The Great Pretender here.

31 January: Norman Mailer

Author Birthdays in February

2 February: James Joyce – Read my full review of Ulysses here.
2 February: Ayn Rand

7 February: Charles Dickens – Read my full review of David Copperfield here.
7 February: Karen Joy Fowler – Read my full review of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves here.

8 February: Rachel Cusk – Read my full review of Second Place here.
8 February: John Grisham

9 February: J.M. Coetzee
9 February: Alice Walker – Read my full review of The Color Purple here.

12 February: Judy Blume

13 February: Samantha Irby – Read my full review of Wow, No Thank You here.

18 February: Toni Morrison – Read my full review of Beloved here.

19 February: Jonathan Lethem – Read my full review of The Arrest here.
19 February: Carson McCullers – Read my full review of The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter here.
19 February: Amy Tan – Read my full review of The Joy Luck Club here.
19 February: Jeff Kinney

20 February: Sally Rooney – Read my full review of Normal People here.

21 February: W.H. Auden
21 February: David Foster Wallace
21 February: Anaïs Nin – Read my full review of Delta of Venus here.

23 February: Bernard Cornwell

24 February: Gillian Flynn – Read my full review of Gone Girl here.
24 February: Yuval Noah Harari
24 February: Rainbow Rowell – Read my full review of Fangirl here.

25 February: Anthony Burgess – Read my full review of A Clockwork Orange here.

26 February: Victor Hugo

27 February: Joshilyn Jackson – Read my full review of Mother May I here.
27 February: John Steinbeck – Read my full review of The Grapes Of Wrath here.

Author Birthdays in March

2 March: Dr Seuss

4 March: Khaled Hosseini – Read my full review of The Kite Runner here.

5 March: Sarah J. Maas

6 March: Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Read my full review of One Hundred Years Of Solitude here.

7 March: Anna Burns – Read my full review of Milkman here.
7 March: Bret Easton Ellis – Read my full review of American Psycho here.
7 March: E.L. James

8 March: Jeffrey Eugenides – Read my full review of Middlesex here.
8 March: Kenneth Grahame – Read my full review of The Wind In The WIllows here.

9 March: Lindy West

11 March: Douglas Adams – Read my full review of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy here.

12 March: Jack Kerouac – Read my full review of On The Road here.
12 March: Maggie Nelson – Read my full review of The Argonauts here.
12 March: Ruth Ozeki – Read my full review of A Tale For The Time Being here.

19 March: Philip Roth – Read my full review of Portnoy’s Complaint here.

21 March: Oyinkan Braithwaite – Read my full review of My Sister, The Serial Killer here.

22 March: James Patterson

25 March: Gloria Steinem

26 March: Patrick Süskind

Author Birthdays in April

1 April: Jesmyn Ward

2 April: Sofie Laguna – Read my full review of Infinite Splendours here.

4 April: Maya Angelou – Read my full review of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings here.
4 April: Delia Owens

5 April: Caitlin Moran

6 April: Leigh Bardugo

8 April: Barbara Kingsolver – Read my full review of Demon Copperhead here.

12 April: Jon Krakauer

13 April: Samuel Beckett – Read my full review of Waiting For Godot here.
13 April: Michel Faber – Read my full review of Under The Skin here.

15 April: Jeffrey Archer
15 April: Henry James – Read my full review of The Golden Bowl here.

17 April: Nick Hornby

21 April: Charlotte Brontë – Read my full review of Jane Eyre here.

22 April: Janet Evanovich
22 April: Vladimir Nabokov

23 April: William Shakespeare
23 April: Trent Dalton

24 April: Sue Grafton

26 April: Anita Loos – Read my full review of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes here.

27 April: Patricia Lockwood – Read my full review of No One Is Talking About This here.

28 April: Harper Lee – Read my full review of To Kill A Mockingbird here.
28 April: Terry Pratchett – Read my full review of The Colour Of Magic here.
**Psst: if you’re scrolling through this list to look for which authors share your birthday, I don’t blame you. This is mine!

Author Birthdays in May

1 May: Joseph Heller – Read my full review of Catch-22 here.

5 May: Hank Green

7 May: Peter Carey – Read my full review of True History Of The Kelly Gang here.

8 May: Thomas Pynchon

9 May: Richard Adams – Read my full review of Watership Down here.

10 May: Jon Ronson

13 May: Daphne du Maurier – Read my full review of Rebecca here.

18 May: Lionel Shriver – Read my full review of We Need To Talk About Kevin here.

19 May: Nora Ephron – Read my full review of Heartburn here.
19 May: Jodi Picoult – Read my full review of My Sister’s Keeper here.

20 May: Ottessa Moshfegh – Read my full review of Lapvona here.

22 May: Arthur Conan Doyle – Read my full review of The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes here.

25 May: Robert Ludlam

27 May: Maggie O’Farrell – Read my full review of Instructions For A Heatwave here.

28 May: Muriel Barbery – Read my full review of The Elegance Of The Hedgehog here.
28 May: Patrick White
28 May: Bernardine Evaristo – Read my full review of Girl, Woman, Other here.
28 May: Ian Fleming

31 May: Walt Whitman

Author Birthdays in June

1 June: Colleen McCullough

2 June: Fredrik Backman – Read my full review of A Man Called Ove here.
2 June: Thomas Hardy

5 June: Ken Follett
5 June: Rick Riordan

6 June: VC Andrews – Read my full review of Flowers In The Attic here.
6 June: Alexander Pushkin

7 June: Elizabeth Bowen – Read my full review of The Heat Of The Day here.
7 June: Adam Silvera

8 June: Nino Haratischvili – Read my full review of The Eighth Life here.

9 June: Paul Beatty – Read my full review of The Sellout here.
9 June: Patricia Cornwell

10 June: Saul Bellow – Read my full review of The Adventures Of Augie March here.

12 June: Adam Kay

13 June: Audrey Niffenegger – Read my full review of The Time Traveler’s Wife here.

14 June: Harriet Beecher Stowe

16 June: Joyce Carol Oates
16 June: Andy Weir – Read my full review of The Martian here.
16 June: Evie Wyld – Read my full review of The Bass Rock here.

18 June: Richard Powers

19 June: Salman Rushdie

21 June: Ian McEwan – Read my full review of Atonement here.
21 June: Jean-Paul Sartre

22 June: Dan Brown

23 June: Markus Zusak – Read my full review of The Book Thief here.

25 June: George Orwell
25 June: Eric Carle

28 June: Kate Atkinson – Read my full review of Life After Life here.
28 June: Jean-Jacques Rousseau

29 June: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – Read my full review of The Little Prince here.

Author Birthdays in July

2 July: Hermann Hesse

3 July: Franz Kafka
3 July: Carmen Maria Machado – Read my full review of Her Body And Other Parties here.
3 July: Matt Haig – Read my full review of The Midnight Library here.

4 July: Nathaniel Hawthorne – Read my full review of The Scarlet Letter here.

6 July: Jonas Jonasson – Read my full review of The One-Hundred-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared here.
6 July: Hilary Mantel

8 July: Janet Malcolm
8 July: Erin Morgenstern – Read my full review of The Starless Sea here.

9 July: Dean Koontz
9 July: Barbara Cartland

15 July: Clive Cussler

18 July: Elizabeth Gilbert
18 July: William Makepeace Thackeray – Read my full review of Vanity Fair here.
18 July: Hunter S. Thompson

20 July: Cormac McCarthy

21 July: Ernest Hemingway – Read my full review of The Sun Also Rises here.

23 July: Raymond Chandler – Read my full review of The Big Sleep here.
23 July: Lauren Groff

24 July: Alexandre Dumas
24 July: Madeline Miller

26 July: Aldous Huxley – Read my full review of Brave New World here.

28 July: Beatrix Potter

30 July: Emily Brontë – Read my full review of Wuthering Heights here.
30 July: Celeste Ng – Read my full review of Little Fires Everywhere here.

Author Birthdays in August

1 August: Herman Melville – Read my full review of Moby Dick here.

2 August: Isabel Allende

4 August: Tim Winton

5 August: David Baldacci

10 August: Suzanne Collins – Read my full review of The Hunger Games here.

11 August: Enid Blyton

12 August: Ann M. Martin

14 August: Danielle Steel
14 August: Sayaka Murata – Read my full review of Convenience Store Woman here.

17 August: Jonathan Franzen

19 August: Samuel Richardson – Read my full review of Clarissa here.
19 August: Veronica Roth – Read my full review of Divergent here.

21 August: Alexander Chee

22 August: Ray Bradbury – Read my full review of Fahrenheit 451 here.

23 August: Curtis Sittenfeld – Read my full review of Rodham here.

24 August: Paulo Coelho – Read my full review of The Alchemist here.
24 August: Stephen Fry – Read my full review of Mythos here.
24 August: John Green – Read my full review of The Fault In Our Stars here.
24 August: Alexander McCall-Smith
24 August: Jean Rhys
24 August: Ali Smith
24 August: Jorge Luis Borges

25 August: Martin Amis – Read my full review of Money here.

26 August: Christopher Isherwood – Read my full review of A Single Man here.

27 August: Jeanette Winterson – Read my full review of Frankissstein here.

29 August: Mieko Kawakami – Read my full review of Breasts And Eggs here.

30 August: Mary Shelley – Read my full review of Frankenstein here.

31 August: Dolly Alderton

Author Birthdays in September

3 September: Malcolm Gladwell
3 September: Jenny Han – Read my full review of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before here.

4 September: Alex Michaelides – Read my full review of The Silent Patient here.

6 September: Robert M. Pirsig – Read my full review of Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance here.

7 September: Jennifer Egan

9 September: Leo Tolstoy – Read my full review of Anna Karenina here.

10 September: Alison Bechdel

11 September: D.H. Lawrence – Read my full review of Lady Chatterley’s Lover here.

13 September: Roald Dahl
13 September: E. Lockhart – Read my full review of We Were Liars here.

14 September: Geraldine Brooks

15 September: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
15 September: Agatha Christie – Read my full review of And Then There Were None here.

17 September: Cheryl Strayed – Read my full review of Wild here.

19 September: William Golding – Read my full review of Lord Of The Flies here.

20 September: George R.R. Martin – Read my full review of A Game Of Thrones here.
20 September: Angie Thomas – Read my full review of The Hate U Give here.
20 September: Hanya Yanagihara – Read my full review of A Little Life here.

21 September: Stephen King – Read my full review of Misery here.
21 September: H.G. Wells

24 September: F. Scott Fitzgerald – Read my full review of The Great Gatsby here.

25 September: William Faulkner – Read my full review of As I Lay Dying here.
25 September: Kristin Hannah
25 September: bell hooks

26 September: Mark Haddon
26 September: T.S. Eliot

29 September: Miguel de Cervantes – Read my full review of Don Quixote here.
29 September: Elizabeth Gaskell

30 September: Truman Capote – Read my full review of In Cold Blood here.

Author Birthdays in October

2 October: Tara Moss

4 October: Rupi Kaur
4 October: Anne Rice
4 October: Jackie Collins

7 October: Sherman Alexie – Read my full review of The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian here.
7 October: Rachel Kushner

8 October: R.L. Stine

10 October: Nora Roberts

14 October: Miles Franklin – Read my full review of My Brilliant Career here.
14 October: Kate Grenville

15 October: Italo Calvino – Read my full review of If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler here.
15 October: Roxane Gay – Read my full review of Bad Feminist here.

16 October: Oscar Wilde – Read my full review of The Picture Of Dorian Gray here.

17 October: Arthur Miller

19 October: Tracy Chevalier

21 October: Carrie Fisher – Read my full review of The Princess Diarist here.
21 October: Ursula K Le Guin

22 October: Doris Lessing – Read my full review of The Golden Notebook here.
22 October: Ann Rule – Read my full review of The Stranger Beside Me here.
22 October: Debbie Macomber

23 October: Augusten Burroughs
23 October: Michael Crichton

24 October: Emma Donoghue – Read my full review of Room here.
24 October: Amor Towles

25 October: Zadie Smith

26 October: Taffy Brodesser-Akner – Read my full review of Fleishman Is In Trouble here.

27 October: Anthony Doerr – Read my full review of All The Light We Cannot See here.
27 October: Sylvia Plath – Read my full review of The Bell Jar here.

28 October: Evelyn Waugh – Read my full review of Scoop here.

29 October: Lee Child

31 October: Susan Orlean – Read my full review of The Library Book here.

Author Birthdays in November

1 November: Susanna Clarke – Read my full review of Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell here.

6 November: Michael Cunningham – Read my full review of The Hours here.
6 November: Colson Whitehead – Read my full review of The Underground Railroad here.

7 November: Albert Camus
7 November: Helen Garner – Read my full review of Monkey Grip here.

8 November: Kazuo Ishiguro – Read my full review of Never Let Me Go here.
8 November: Julie Murphy – Read my full review of Dumplin’ here.
8 November: Bram Stoker – Read my full review of Dracula here.

10 November: Caroline Kepnes
10 November: Neil Gaiman

11 November: Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Read my full review of Crime And Punishment here.
11 November: Min Jin Lee
11 November: Kurt Vonnegut

13 November: Robert Louis Stevenson – Read my full review of Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde here.

15 November: Liane Moriarty – Read my full review of Big Little Lies here.

16 November: José Saramago – Read my full review of Death At Intervals here.

17 November: Becky Albertalli

18 November: Margaret Atwood – Read my full review of The Handmaid’s Tale here.

20 November: Don DeLillo

21 November: Andrew Sean Greer – Read my full review of Less here.

22 November: George Eliot – Read my full review of Middlemarch here.
22 November: Lisa Genova – Read my full review of Still Alice here.

24 November: Marlon James
24 November: Arundhati Roy

26 November: James Dashner – Read my full review of The Maze Runner here.

28 November: Richard Osman

29 November: Louisa May Alcott – Read my full review of Little Women here.
29 November: C.S. Lewis

30 November: Tayari Jones – Read my full review of An American Marriage here.
30 November: David Nicholls
30 November: Jonathan Swift – Read my full review of Gulliver’s Travels here.
30 November: Mark Twain – Read my full review of The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn here.

Author Birthdays in December

2 December: Ann Patchett
2 December: George Saunders

5 December: Joan Didion

8 December: Bill Bryson – Read my full review of A Short History Of Nearly Everything here.

10 December: Emily Dickinson

11 December: Colleen Hoover

14 December: Shirley Jackson – Read my full review of The Lottery And Other Stories here.

15 December: Edna O’Brien – Read my full review of Girl here.

16 December: Jane Austen – Read my full review of Pride & Prejudice here.
16 December: Philip K. Dick – Read my full review of Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? here.

19 December: Brandon Sanderson

20 December: Alain de Botton – Read my full review of Religion For Atheists here.
20 December: Taylor Jenkins Reid – Read my full review of Daisy Jones And The Six here.

21 December: Benjamin Disraeli – Read my full review of Sybil here.

23 December: Donna Tartt – Read my full review of The Secret History here.

24 December: Mary Higgins Clark
24 December: Stephenie Meyer

26 December: Henry Miller – Read my full review of Tropic Of Cancer here.
26 December: David Sedaris – Read my full review of Me Talk Pretty One Day here.

30 December: Rudyard Kipling – Read my full review of Kim here.

31 December: Nicholas Sparks

Book Reviews By Title

A

The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie
Adèle – Leïla Slimani
The Adventures of Augie March – Saul Bellow
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
The Age Of Innocence – Edith Wharton
Agnes Grey – Anne Brontë
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
All The King’s Men – Robert Penn Warren
All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
All The Things We Never Said – Yasmin Rahman
American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
American Sniper – Chris Kyle
Amongst Women – John McGahern
An American Marriage – Tayari Jones
Anatomy – Dana Schwartz
And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
The Anomaly – Hervé Le Tellier
Any Ordinary Day – Leigh Sales
The Argonauts – Maggie Nelson
An Artist Of The Floating World – Kazuo Ishiguro
The Arsonist – Chloe Hooper
As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Attachments – Rainbow Rowell
Australia Day – Melanie Cheng

B

Bad Blood – John Carreyrou
Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay
Becoming – Michelle Obama
Before The Coffee Gets Cold – Toshikazu Kawaguchi
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
Beloved – Toni Morrison
Bi – Julia Shaw
Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty
The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
The Brain That Changes Itself – Norman Doidge
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
Bridgerton: The Duke And I – Julia Quinn
A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking
Britt-Marie Was Here – Fredrik Backman

C

Call Me By Your Name – Andre Aciman
The Call Of The Wild – Jack London
Calypso – David Sedaris
Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood
Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
The Catcher In The Rye – J.D. Salinger
The Chain – Adrian McKinty
The Children Act – Ian McEwan
Clarissa – Samuel Richardson
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Colour Of Magic – Terry Pratchett
Convenience Store Woman – Sayaka Murata
Conversations With Friends – Sally Rooney
Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan
Crime And Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Cry – Helen Fitzgerald
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time – Mark Haddon

D

Daisy Jones And The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Dear Child – Romy Hausmann
Death At Intervals – José Saramago
Delta Of Venus – Anaïs Nin
Divergent – Veronica Roth
The Divine Comedy – Dante
Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? – Philip K Dick
Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
Dracula – Bram Stoker
Dress Your Family In Corduroy And Denim – David Sedaris
The Dressmaker – Rosalie Ham
The Dry – Jane Harper
Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
Dyschronia – Jennifer Mills

E

Educated – Tara Westover
Eggshell Skull – Bri Lee
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
The Elegance Of The Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery
Emma – Jane Austen
The End Of The Affair – Graham Greene
Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng
The Eyre Affair – Jasper Fforde

F

The Factory – Hiroko Oyamada
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
The Family Law – Benjamin Law
Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
The Female Eunuch – Germaine Greer
The Fiancee Farce – Alexandria Bellefleur
Finding Nevo – Nevo Zisin
The Five – Hallie Rubenhold
Fleishman Is In Trouble – Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Flowers In The Attic – VC Andrews
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Frankissstein – Jeanette Winterson

G

A Game Of Thrones – George R.R. Martin
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – Anita Loos
The Girl On The Train – Paula Hawkins
Girl Online – Zoe Sugg
Girl, Woman, Other – Bernadine Evaristo
The Golden Bowl – Henry James
The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder – Holly Jackson
Good Talk – Mira Jacob
The Grapes Of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Growing Up Aboriginal In Australia – Anita Heiss (ed.)
The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer
Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift

H

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
The Happiest Refugee – Anh Do
Happy Endings – Thien-Kim Lam
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers
Heartburn – Nora Ephron
The Heat Of The Day – Elizabeth Bowen
The Helpline – Katherine Collette
Her Body And Other Parties – Carmen Maria Machado
Hidden Figures – Margot Lee Shetterly
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Horrorstor – Grady Hendrix
The Hours – Michael Cunningham
Hunger – Roxane Gay
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty

I

I Kissed Shara Wheeler – Casey McQuiston
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
I Love Dick – Chris Kraus
I Saw A Man – Owen Sheers
I’ll Be Gone In The Dark – Michelle McNamara
If I Stay – Gayle Forman
If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler – Italo Calvino
If The Shoe Fits – Julie Murphy
I’m Thinking Of Ending Things – Iain Reid
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
The Importance Of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
In Order To Live – Yeonmi Park
Instructions For A Heatwave – Maggie O’Farrell
Interview With The Vampire – Anne Rice – Coming Soon!

J

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke
The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan
Julie And Julia – Julie Powell

K

Kim – Rudyard Kipling
The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Know My Name – Chanel Miller

L

Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence
The Lake House – Kate Morton
Lakewood – Megan Giddings
Lanny – Max Porter
Less – Andrew Sean Greer
Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls – David Sedaris
The Library Book – Susan Orlean
The Life And Opinions Of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman – Laurence Sterne
Life After Life – Kate Atkinson
Like Water For Chocolate – Laura Esquivel
The Likeness – Tana French
Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
Lolly Willowes – Sylvia Townsend Warner
Lord Of The Flies – William Golding
The Lottery And Other Stories – Shirley Jackson
Luster – Raven Leilani

M

The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett
A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project – Lenore Appelhans
The Martian – Andy Weir
The Maze Runner – James Dashner
Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris
The Memory Police – Yoko Ogawa
Middlemarch – George Eliot
Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
The Midnight Library – Matt Haig
Milkman – Anna Burns
The Miseducation Of Cameron Post – Emily M Danforth
Misery – Stephen King
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Money – Martin Amis
Monkey Grip – Helen Garner
Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
Murder In Mississippi – John Safran
Murphy – Samuel Beckett
My Best Friend’s Exorcism – Grady Hendrix
My Brilliant Career – Miles Franklin
My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante
My Grandmother Sends Her Regards And Apologises – Fredrik Backman
My Sister, The Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite
My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult
Mythos – Stephen Fry

N

The Narrow Road To The Deep North – Richard Flanagan
The Natural Way Of Things – Charlotte Wood
Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
The Nickel Boys – Colson Whitehead
Nineteen Nineteen – John dos Passos
Normal People – Sally Rooney
Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
Notes On A Scandal – Zoë Heller
The Nothing Man – Catherine Ryan Howard
Nothing To See Here – Kevin Wilson

O

Of Mice And Men – John Steinbeck
The Old Man And The Sea – Ernest Hemingway
On The Road – Jack Kerouac
The One-Hundred-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson
One Hundred Years Of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez
The Other Boleyn Girl – Philippa Gregory
Outlander – Diana Gabaldon

P

Paper Towns – John Green
Party Going – Henry Green
A Passage To India – E.M. Forster
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
Persuasion – Jane Austen
The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
Pizza Girl – Jean Kyoung Frazier
The Plot – Jean Hanff Korelitz
Portnoy’s Complaint – Philip Roth
The Power – Naomi Alderman
Pride And Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark
The Princess Diarist – Carrie Fisher

Q

Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams

R

Reading Lolita In Tehran – Azar Nafisi
Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston
Religion for Atheists – Alain de Botton
Reservoir 13 – Jon McGregor
Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
Rodham – Curtis Sittenfeld
Room – Emma Donoghue
The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion

S

Sadie – Courtney Summers
Sanditon – Jane Austen
Say Nothing – Patrick Radden Keefe
The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
Scoop – Evelyn Waugh
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Secrets Of Strangers – Charity Norman
The Sellout – Paul Beatty
Sense And Sensibility – Jane Austen
Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn
She Came To Stay – Simone de Beauvoir
A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian – Monica Lewycka
The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides
The Silent Treatment – Abbie Greaves
A Single Man – Christopher Isherwood
Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered – Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark
Stiff – Mary Roach
Still Alice – Lisa Genova
Story Of O – Pauline Réage
The Story Of The Lost Child – Elena Ferrante
The Story Of A New Name – Elena Ferrante
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
The Stranger Beside Me – Ann Rule
Strangers Drowning – Larissa MacFarquhar
The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
The Swans Of Fifth Avenue – Melanie Benjamin
Sybil – Benjamin Disraeli
Sybil – Flora Rheta Schreiber

T

A Tale For The Time Being – Ruth Ozeki
Tampa – Alissa Nutting
The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall – Anne Brontë
Terra Nullius – Claire G. Coleman
Thank You For Smoking – Christopher Buckley
Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
The Thirty-Nine Steps – John Buchan
Those Who Leave And Those Who Stay – Elena Ferrante
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han
To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Too Much Lip – Melissa Lucashenko
Trace – Rachael Brown
Tracker – Alexis Wright
The Trauma Cleaner – Sarah Krasnostein
Tropic Of Cancer – Henry Miller
True History Of The Kelly Gang – Peter Carey
Turn Of The Screw – Henry James

U

Ulysses – James Joyce
Under The Dome – Stephen King
Under The Skin – Michel Faber
The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead

V

The Vagina Monologues – Eve Ensler
The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
The Vegetarian – Han Kang
Vox – Christina Dalcher

W

Waiting For Godot – Samuel Beckett
Watership Down – Richard Adams
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler
We Keep The Dead Close – Becky Cooper
We Need To Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
We Were Liars – E. Lockhart
We’re Going To Need More Wine – Gabrielle Union
Well Met – Jen DeLuca
When You Are Engulfed In Flames – David Sedaris
The White Mouse – Nancy Wake
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge
Wild – Cheryl Strayed
Willful Creatures – Aimee Bender
The Wind In The Willows – Kenneth Grahame
Wow, No Thank You – Samantha Irby
Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë

X

Y

The Year Of Living Biblically – A.J. Jacobs
Year Of Yes – Shonda Rhimes
Yes Please – Amy Poehler
The Yield – Tara June Winch

Z

Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M Pirsig

Book Reviews By Author

A

Call Me By Your Name – Andre Aciman
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Watership Down – Richard Adams
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
The Power – Naomi Alderman
The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie
Money – Martin Amis
Flowers In The Attic – VC Andrews
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project – Lenore Appelhans
Life After Life – Kate Atkinson
Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Emma – Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
Persuasion – Jane Austen
Pride And Prejudice – Jane Austen
Sanditon – Jane Austen
Sense And Sensibility – Jane Austen

B

A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
Britt-Marie Was Here – Fredrik Backman
My Grandmother Sends Her Regards And Apologises – Fredrik Backman
The Elegance Of The Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery
The Sellout – Paul Beatty
She Came To Stay – Simone de Beauvoir
Murphy – Samuel Beckett
Waiting For Godot – Samuel Beckett
The Fiancee Farce – Alexandria Bellefleur
The Adventures of Augie March – Saul Bellow
Willful Creatures – Aimee Bender
The Swans Of Fifth Avenue – Melanie Benjamin
The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett
Religion for Atheists – Alain de Botton
The Heat Of The Day – Elizabeth Bowen
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
My Sister, The Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite
Fleishman Is In Trouble – Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
Agnes Grey – Anne Brontë
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Brontë
Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
Trace – Rachael Brown
A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson
The Thirty-Nine Steps – John Buchan
Thank You For Smoking – Christopher Buckley
The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
Milkman – Anna Burns

C

If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler – Italo Calvino
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
True History Of The Kelly Gang – Peter Carey
Bad Blood – John Carreyrou
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams
Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
Australia Day – Melanie Cheng
And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Terra Nullius – Claire G. Coleman
The Helpline – Katherine Collette
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
We Keep The Dead Close – Becky Cooper
The Hours – Michael Cunningham

D

Vox – Christina Dalcher
The Miseducation Of Cameron Post – Emily M. Danforth
The Divine Comedy – Dante
The Maze Runner – James Dashner
Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
Well Met – Jen DeLuca
Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? – Philip K Dick
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Sybil – Benjamin Disraeli
The Happiest Refugee – Anh Do
All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
The Brain That Changes Itself – Norman Doidge
Room – Emma Donoghue
Crime And Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle

E

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge
Middlemarch – George Eliot
American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
The Vagina Monologues – Eve Ensler
Heartburn – Nora Ephron
Like Water For Chocolate – Laura Esquivel
Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
Girl, Woman, Other – Bernadine Evaristo

F

Under The Skin – Michel Faber
As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante
The Story Of The Lost Child – Elena Ferrante
The Story Of A New Name – Elena Ferrante
Those Who Leave And Those Who Stay – Elena Ferrante
The Eyre Affair – Jasper Fforde
The Princess Diarist – Carrie Fisher
The Cry – Helen Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Narrow Road To The Deep North – Richard Flanagan
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn
If I Stay – Gayle Forman
A Passage To India – E.M. Forster
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler
My Brilliant Career – Miles Franklin
Pizza Girl – Jean Kyoung Frazier
The Likeness – Tana French
Mythos – Stephen Fry

G

Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
Monkey Grip – Helen Garner
Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay
Hunger – Roxane Gay
Still Alice – Lisa Genova
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
Lakewood – Megan Giddings
Lord Of The Flies – William Golding
The Wind In The Willows – Kenneth Grahame
The Silent Treatment – Abbie Greaves
Party Going – Henry Green
Paper Towns – John Green
The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
The End Of The Affair – Graham Greene
The Female Eunuch – Germaine Greer
Less – Andrew Sean Greer
The Other Boleyn Girl – Philippa Gregory

H

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time – Mark Haddon
The Midnight Library – Matt Haig
The Dressmaker – Rosalie Ham
The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han
The Dry – Jane Harper
Dear Child – Romy Hausmann
A Brief History Of Time – Stephen Hawking
The Girl On The Train – Paula Hawkins
The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
Growing Up Aboriginal In Australia – Anita Heiss (ed.)
Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
Notes On A Scandal – Zoë Heller
The Old Man And The Sea – Ernest Hemingway
The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
Horrorstor – Grady Hendrix
My Best Friend’s Exorcism – Grady Hendrix
The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
The Arsonist – Chloe Hooper
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
The Nothing Man – Catherine Ryan Howard
Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

I

Wow, No Thank You – Samantha Irby
A Single Man – Christopher Isherwood
An Artist Of The Floating World – Kazuo Ishiguro
Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

J

A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder – Holly Jackson
The Lottery And Other Stories – Shirley Jackson
Good Talk – Mira Jacob
The Year Of Living Biblically – A.J. Jacobs
The Golden Bowl – Henry James
Turn Of The Screw – Henry James
Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
The One-Hundred-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson
An American Marriage – Tayari Jones
Ulysses – James Joyce

K

The Vegetarian – Han Kang
Before The Coffee Gets Cold – Toshikazu Kawaguchi
Say Nothing – Patrick Radden Keefe
On The Road – Jack Kerouac
Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered – Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark
Misery – Stephen King
Under The Dome – Stephen King
Kim – Rudyard Kipling
The Plot – Jean Hanff Korelitz
The Trauma Cleaner – Sarah Krasnostein
I Love Dick – Chris Kraus
Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan
American Sniper – Chris Kyle

L

Happy Endings – Thien-Kim Lam
The Family Law – Benjamin Law
Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence
Eggshell Skull – Bri Lee
To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Luster – Raven Leilani
The Golden Notebook – Doris Lessing
A Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian – Monica Lewycka
We Were Liars – E. Lockhart
The Call Of The Wild – Jack London
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – Anita Loos
Too Much Lip – Melissa Lucashenko

M

Strangers Drowning – Larissa MacFarquhar
Her Body And Other Parties – Carmen Maria Machado
One Hundred Years Of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez
A Game Of Thrones – George R.R. Martin
Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers
Atonement – Ian McEwan
The Children Act – Ian McEwan
Amongst Women – John McGahern
Reservoir 13 – Jon McGregor
The Chain – Adrian McKinty
I’ll Be Gone In The Dark – Michelle McNamara
I Kissed Shara Wheeler – Casey McQuiston
Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides
Know My Name – Chanel Miller
Tropic Of Cancer – Henry Miller
Dyschronia – Jennifer Mills
Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty
The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty
Beloved – Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison
The Lake House – Kate Morton
Convenience Store Woman – Sayaka Murata
Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
If The Shoe Fits – Julie Murphy

N

Reading Lolita In Tehran – Azar Nafisi
The Argonauts – Maggie Nelson
Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Delta of Venus – Anaïs Nin
The Secrets Of Strangers – Charity Norman
Tampa – Alissa Nutting

O

Becoming – Michelle Obama
Instructions For A Heatwave – Maggie O’Farrell
The Memory Police – Yoko Ogawa
The Library Book – Susan Orlean
The Factory – Hiroko Oyamada
A Tale For The Time Being – Ruth Ozeki

P

In Order To Live – Yeonmi Park
Nineteen Nineteen – John dos Passos
My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult
Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M Pirsig
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
Yes Please – Amy Poehler
Lanny – Max Porter
Julie And Julia – Julie Powell
The Colour Of Magic – Terry Pratchett

Q

Bridgerton: The Duke And I – Julia Quinn

R

All The Things We Never Said – Yasmin Rahman
Story Of O – Pauline Réage
Daisy Jones And The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid
I’m Thinking Of Ending Things – Iain Reid
Year Of Yes – Shonda Rhimes
Interview With The Vampire – Anne Rice – Coming Soon!
Clarissa – Samuel Richardson
Stiff – Mary Roach
Conversations With Friends – Sally Rooney
Normal People – Sally Rooney
Portnoy’s Complaint – Philip Roth
Divergent – Veronica Roth
Attachments – Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
The Five – Hallie Rubenhold
The Stranger Beside Me – Ann Rule

S

Murder In Mississippi – John Safran
The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Any Ordinary Day – Leigh Sales
The Catcher In The Rye – J.D. Salinger
Death At Intervals – José Saramago
Sybil – Flora Rheta Schreiber
Anatomy – Dana Schwartz
Calypso – David Sedaris
Dress Your Family In Corduroy And Denim – David Sedaris
Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls – David Sedaris
Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris
When You Are Engulfed In Flames – David Sedaris
The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer
Bi – Julia Shaw
I Saw A Man – Owen Sheers
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Hidden Figures – Margot Lee Shetterly
We Need To Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
Rodham – Curtis Sittenfeld
The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
Adèle – Leïla Slimani
The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark
The Grapes Of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Of Mice And Men – John Steinbeck
The Life And Opinions Of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman – Laurence Sterne
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
Dracula – Bram Stoker
Wild – Cheryl Strayed
Girl Online – Zoe Sugg
Sadie – Courtney Summers
Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift

T

The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Anomaly – Hervé Le Tellier
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
Lolly Willowes – Sylvia Townsend Warner
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain

U

We’re Going To Need More Wine – Gabrielle Union

V

W

The White Mouse – Nancy Wake
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
All The King’s Men – Robert Penn Warren
Scoop – Evelyn Waugh
The Martian – Andy Weir
Educated – Tara Westover
The Age Of Innocence – Edith Wharton
The Nickel Boys – Colson Whitehead
The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead
The Importance Of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
The Picture Of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
Nothing To See Here – Kevin Wilson
The Yield – Tara June Winch
Frankissstein – Jeanette Winterson
The Natural Way Of Things – Charlotte Wood
Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
Tracker – Alexis Wright

X

Y

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

Z

Finding Nevo – Nevo Zisin
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Party Going – Henry Green

I think we all know by now that if you take a handful of rich people and put them in a confined space, you’re going to get some good drama. It’s a formula that’s worked for reality TV for years, and before that, Henry Green used it as the premise for his 1939 novel Party Going.

Party Going, according to the blurb, is a “darkly comic valediction to what W.H. Auden famously described as the ‘low dishonest decade’ of the 1930s”. It’s a slim volume, closer to a novella in length than a novel. Most editions don’t actually publish it stand-alone; it’s usually packaged alongside two of Green’s other novels (Living, and Loving). The introduction to this copy was written by Amit Chaudhuri, and it’s full of name-drops. Henry Green was a contemporary of Graham Greene. He was an Oxford friend of Evelyn Waugh. John Updike called him a “saint of the mundane”. And Virginia Woolf’s imprint, the Hogarth Press, published Party Going. As to Green’s style, Chaudhuri says this book is a “masterpiece of literary impressionism”.

“Green in fact stands somewhere between James Joyce, in his tendency to be intolerant of ‘normal’ English syntax and punctuation, and Virginia Woolf, in his sense of how narrative can be shaped by things outside of event.”

Amit Chaudhuri, Introduction

There aren’t a whole lot of “events” in this plot, really, so it’s a good thing there’s other stuff to shape the narrative, otherwise I don’t know where we’d be. Six young, wealthy people – Max, Amabel, Angela, Julia, Evelyn, and Claire – all gather at a train station en route to a house party in France. They find that all the trains are delayed due to severe fog, so they take rooms in the adjacent railway hotel (rather than linger on the platform with the unwashed masses). That’s about all of the action, really; the rest of the story plays out in their relationships and gossiping, and Green tells different versions of it simultaneously.



The historical context for Party Going is important. Yes, they’re all idle rich bitches, and idle rich bitches are equally vapid and shallow, no matter where or when they are, but the reader should bear in mind that this all takes place in England right before the outbreak of WWII. It’s a dark contrast, really: the minutia of their sparkly lives and scandals, set against the backdrop of an emerging conflict that will devastate the world. These characters, oblivious and self-obsessed, are “waltzing blithely towards oblivion”. An English major might say that the train-delaying fog actually represents the cold, menacing threat of the future.

Party Going consists mostly of talk, which is mostly about nothing. Once the premise of the delayed train is established, the only real “action” to be found is a battle between Julia and Amabel for the affections of playboy Max. And there’s one strange woman, Miss Fellowes (Claire’s aunt): she falls subject to a mysterious “illness” (Green seems to imply drunkenness, but I could be wrong), and becomes obsessed with a dead pigeon she finds. While her aunt is flailing and wailing about the pigeon, Claire focuses on trying to convince everybody that she’s not heartless for wanting to leave to party with them instead of sticking around to care for the old biddy. Well, it seems important to Claire at least that everyone knows that; no one else really gives a shit. Suffice to say that all of these characters are spoiled, selfish, and horny. They treat their staff (maids and porters) like commodities, to be traded and summoned at will. All they think about is how best to fiddle the social abacus to benefit themselves.

There’s not much else to say about Party Going, really. If you didn’t enjoy Mrs Dalloway, then this is not the book for you. It’s more readable, yes, and less intensely modernist, but at the end of the day, it’s still a short book that takes a long time to read, about a bunch of privileged white people lolling about and preparing for a party.

My favourite Amazon reviews of Party Going:

  • “Short on wit.” – uncle tom
  • “John Updike is one of my favorite writers, but I found reading Henry Green like reading Upstairs, Downstairs in ultra-slow motion.” – J.M. Walker



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