Books of the year

Before we wave goodbye to 2019, here’s a round-up of some of 26’s favourite books of the year.

My book of the year is Saltwater by Jessica Andrews, a story of growing up and moving away told in lyrical fragments. A recognisably northern, working class voice reveals uncomfortable truths about mother daughter relationships, alcoholism and feeling set adrift from the world. 

– Michelle Nicol


My name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. Such simplicity in the writing by and about people of no special virtues but absolutely shot through with a sense of humanity. A feeling we need to share this year and every year.

East West Street by Philippe Sands. The leading civil rights lawyer digs into his family history, making discoveries that reveal the times lived through with the rise of the Nazis, the Holocaust, the Nuremburg trials. Moving and gripping.

– John Simmons


One’s not enough! My favourites were: If All the World and Love were Young by Stephen Sexton; Constellations by Sinéad Gleeson; Dog Years by Mark Doty; Sebastian Barry’s Days Without End; On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong; Twelve Thousand Days by Eilis Ni Dhuibhne, and more!

– Therese Kieran


The Cut Out Girl by Bart van Es.

– Jan Dekker


I read Her Body & Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado on the recommendation of a friend, and what a recommendation! Smart, witty, heartbreaking and a little bit bonkers – short stories that entertain and challenge in equal measure. Love love love.

– Sophie Gordon

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