Taking the plunge into modern works

An occupational hazard of being someone who writes about reading is that I’m constantly being asked to recommend books, in the same, almost accusatory way comedians are always asked to ‘tell me a joke!’. You’d think I’d love this, being a reviewer and all, but it always really flusters me! Personally I prefer to discuss books with people, rather than be held up as some kind of expert. (Cue huge amount of new readers exiting my blog, exclaiming some variation of ‘You don’t recommend books? What good are you then?!’) All I know is I love books and want to chat about them. If you happen to like a book I liked, great! If not, even better - we’ve got lots to talk about!

The last time someone sprung the ‘Go on, what should I be reading?’ question on me, I froze and blurted out what I was reading at the time, to which they replied disappointedly “oh, but isn’t that really old?”. Ouch! I admit, I’m not exactly cutting edge of modern culture, even in books. I’m much more Penguin Classics than Just Released; much more BFI than Cineworld; much more ‘shows you miss’ than ‘shows you’ve missed’ on 4OD (come to think of it, do they even have 4OD anymore?). You get the idea.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being classic, and you can prise my first editions from my cold dead hands! If a book’s a classic it means it has stood the test of time and is worth reading; as much as I had thinking about it I only have a finite amount of books I can read in a lifetime, and I want them to be good! But I do owe it to people who want my advice to be able to offer something from the last few years at least! So I’ve decided, with a bit of time on my hands at the moment, to be a bit more adventurous, and try to read some more modern books. What better place to start than this year’s Man Booker Prize contestants. The Man Booker Prize, awarded to the best fiction since 1969 is definitely a sign of quality, and so it’s a safe place to begin.

So here’s my plan. Like any good reading addict, I’m going to ignore my ever growing To Be Read pile and buy some new books from the list of shortlisted books. If you want to find out more about them, this is a great descriptive article about them here.

From these summaries, (judging the books by slightly more than its cover) I’m starting with A Spool of Blue Thread and A Brief History of Seven Killings. Both sound so unique, especially A Brief History…, I’ve always had a bit of a penchant for dark twisted stories like this! So once I finish the book I’m currently reading I’ll be straight into picking what sounds like the best from the list, and I’m sure you’ll be waiting with baited breath to hear my final verdicts in the next few weeks. Can’t wait to share my opinions with you!

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