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The Tree Farm

Cal Flyn

‘I was going north to find a tree farm, in a land where there are no trees.’

Bad Faith

Ken Follett

‘Every sect needs jargon. We did not have churches, we had halls; services were called meetings; the congregation was the assembly; elders were overseers’

Words and the Word

Miranda France

Miranda France on how C.S. Lewis and T.S. Eliot redrafted the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

Crocodiles and Fairy Dust

Janice Galloway

‘I admit the sneaking feeling, just now and then, that those who govern us think we’re the problem.’

Going Diamond

Sarah Gerard

‘In Amway, there’s no such thing as contentment.’

The Mask of Night

Lorna Gibb

‘I puzzled over the language but disentangled its meaning slowly, carefully, eager to connect’ Lorna Gibb on Shakespeare’s Juliet.

Blue Hills and Chalk Bones

Sinéad Gleeson

‘One day, something changes; a corporeal blip. For me, it happened in the months after turning thirteen: the synovial fluid in my left hip began to evaporate like rain.’

Fugee

Hawa Jande Golakai

‘Now we’ve fizzled into a ridiculous unsaid, a flaccid tale of love, or lack thereof, in the time of Ebola.’

Bad Dreams

Eli Goldstone

‘I could do nothing but lie there, locked inside my body.’

Best Book of 1967: Ice by Anna Kavan

Eli Goldstone

‘What a writer, and what a vision. What a perfect book to read in preparation for the end of the world.’

The Binoculars of Jah

Colin Grant

‘No matter how I attempted to interpret the email, it could only be read in one way: I was out of the Bunny Wailer club. Jah Bunny had put a curse on me.’

First Sentence: Eliza Griswold

Eliza Griswold

‘This, of course, was years before anyone knew or cared who Boko Haram was.’

Ariel’s Song

Romesh Gunesekera

‘It is to Shakespeare’s pages I return whenever I feel I am sinking. There I can be sure to find a lifeline.’

The Price of Freedom, Including VAT

Xiaolu Guo

‘I had lost my native country, now I was going to lose a continent.’

Best book of 1947: L’Écume des Jours by Boris Vian

Xiaolu Guo

‘In those spring nights, I sat by barbecue stalls in the streets of Beijing, reading this novel under dim streetlights while eating lamb skewers.’

Raqqa Road: A Syrian Escape

Claire Hajaj

‘The morning Helin walked out to die, she dressed carelessly in a loose T-shirt and jeans.’

On Shakespeare and the Quest for Belonging

Minal Hajratwala

‘We may not belong to Shakespeare, nor he to us, ever.’

Spirit Animals

Darrell Hartman

From The Revenant through Jurassic Park and Godzilla, Darrell Hartman traces the evolving meaning of megafauna in popular culture.

Best Book of 1766: Strange Tales From a Chinese Studio by Pu Songling

Dave Haysom

Dave Haysom on why Strange Tales From a Chinese Studio by Pu Songling is the best book of 1766.

Aftermath

Peregrine Hodson

‘We have to find a way to balance life with memory.’

A Play on David Rakoff

A.M. Homes

‘He was rare and singular.’

The Shepherds

Lauren Hough

‘Our pasts are so unbelievable we need a witness for our own memory.’

The Day After Trump Won

Leslie Jamison

‘I feel afraid, and I do not know what to make of yesterday’s belief. I can see that belief like an object shimmering underwater, a kind of relic.’

The Fairytale

Jennifer Kabat

‘In Hollin Hills, we believed our flatware could change the world.’ Jennifer Kabat on the intersection of modernist architecture and espionage.

Best Book of 1900: The Autobiography of Dr William Henry Johnson

Jennifer Kabat

‘Johnson is now a ghost of history; he doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page, but I can’t let him disappear.’

Mother and Father

Thomas Kilroy

‘Like most wars, this was a war of the young.’ Thomas Kilroy on his parents’ experience of the Anglo-Irish War and the Irish civil war.

Hell and Night

Noelle Kocot-Tomblin

‘The implication of Iago’s silence is that there is no hope for his redemption’ Noelle Kocot-Tomblin on ‘Othello’.

Best Book of 1965: Everything That Rises Must Converge

April Ayers Lawson

‘O’Conner has for me the effect of nailing and then blowing up one’s most casual illusions’

All that Offers a Happy Ending Is a Fairy Tale

Yiyun Li

‘If you were like me, you would know the obsession of the compulsive reader: every street sign; every bottle label’

Best Book of 1998: 253

Carmen Maria Machado

Carmen Maria Machado on why Geoff Ryman’s 253 is the best book of 1998.

Best book of 1983: The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek

Sophie Mackintosh

‘After 2016 I’m done with sentimentality, and it’s hard to think of a less sentimental book than The Piano Teacher, objectively a masterpiece, subjectively a book that changed my life.’

Best book of 1964: Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr

Lisa McInerney

‘In days of such human cruelty and pettiness and stupidity, we need reminding that we are all capable of savage compassion as well as the contagion of hatred.’

Best Book of 2000: The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt

Anne Meadows

‘It is the novel I have read which best expresses the honest and sad truth of art: that it is often produced in precarity and performed in near silence, but that it can also redeem a life.’

Best Book of 2015: Thus Were Their Faces by Silvina Ocampo

Valerie Miles

‘Time is a rubber band, and in a single sentence, ghosts and alternative worlds superimpose’

Who are the Campbells? | Discoveries

Josie Mitchell

Our latest discoveries from the literary internet, from the new selfishness epidemic to artistic theft.