26 recommends

As far as I’m concerned, deserving the title of ‘most-eagerly awaited release of 2021’ will be Laurent Binet’s Civilisations because I enjoyed his The 7th Function of Language so much in 2018. Give me gaffs, guffaws and high culture in the same sentence please. My little radar antennae are spinning furiously, but the English translation is due out in only a month’s time, so not long now…

Meanwhile I’m listening to W.H. Lung’s debut album Incidental Music which I first heard last weekend and think is so fab I have just bought it for a friend on Bandcamp

– Ben Archer


Phil Cleaver, who creates our beautiful writer awards and certificates, has worked on a book Fashion Expressionism. But he needs our help to fund the Kickstarter! Please share with anyone and everyone who may be interested.

– Andy Hayes


The Terror on BBC iPlayer is a compelling, addictive and exciting show. It has been fantastically written and has a range of superb performances. Jared Harris is charismatic as Francis Crozier, Paul Ready is nuanced as Goodsir and Tobias Menzies is powerful as James Fitzjames. Not for viewing with children.

– Vanwy Arif


This month, I too have read Jill Hopper’s The Mahogany Pod. What a charming and poignant love story.

I also read Elisabeth Spencer, The Road To My Daughter.  It is a remarkable memoir, remarkably told. Elisabeth’s daughter Milly came out as trans at the age of 21. Just days later, Elisabeth’s husband was diagnosed with an advanced terminal illness. It is a deeply moving meditation on motherhood and a nuanced and compassionate reflection on trans issues, illuminating not only how it feels to witness the physical and mental processes of transitioning but also what it means to be a parent. For me it was an education.

– Faye Sharpe


The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey – being a mermaid is my side-hustle, so I thought I was biased. But no, the Costa Book award panel agree this is a wonderful book. One of those you wish you’d thought of. 

Great Goddesses by Nikita Gill – I watched Nikita interview Monique Roffey at a British Library event, loved her and had been contemplating this book for a while. If you love Greek mythology you’ll love this. Made me cry twice.

– Suzie Inman


Whilst Grace Dent’s Hungry is a triumph, the second half is also a poignant study of desperation and grief with her mother diagnosed with cancer and her father with dementia. She then wrote a wonderful piece in The Guardian about wakes and the importance of sandwiches to the English. It’s almost a postscript.

– Mike Garner

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