Barack Obama recently shared his summer reading recommendations which include the works of literary great Toni Morrison, Hilary Mantel’s 2009 Man Booker Prize winning novel Wolf Hall and Haruki Murkami’s short story collection Men Without Women …
Here at CBC we can never have enough books on our to-be-read pile… So, this leads us to ask the all important question: what books have the literary agent teams at Curtis Brown and C&W been getting stuck into on their holidays?
Jonny Geller, Curtis Brown
I had a great summer of reading.
American Dirt by Jeanne Cummins is out in January and is a must read. Don Winslow meets John Steinbeck in a story of a Mexican’s flight to US whilst Cartel pursues her. Beautifully done.
Silence by Shusaku Endo. David Mitchell’s favourite historical novel and for a reason. Compelling story of missionaries in 17th Century Japan.
An American Marriage – very provocative story of a marriage under enormous strain.
Anna Hope’s Expectation. Engaging story of three women’s realisation that life hasn’t quite worked out they way they planned.
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. Surprising and compulsive story of three women’s challenges in their relationships.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. Elegantly written story of two siblings cast out of their family home by wicked stepmother.
Cathryn Summerhayes, Curtis Brown
The Ditch by Herman Koch. The Dinner is one of my all time faves and after a few weaker books (IMHO) Koch is back in all his dark, satirical, brilliantly and incredibly Dutch form! This one takes on politics and the scene with Macron is an absolute belter!
I also have to urge you to read Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. Surely the non fiction must-have of the summer. If you are lucky enough to receive proofs you have to get your hands on Chris Whitaker’s We Begin at the End – a hugely ambitious crime thriller that will break your heart time and again. And it wouldn’t be summer without Adam Kay’s Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas… grab a proof and don’t let go!
A Long Night in Paris – hurtle through this terrific, atmospheric and gripping espionage novel and make sure you’re collected at the airport by the right person…
Lucy Luck, C&W
Reading holiday treat was Daisy Jones and the Six, a brilliant rise and fall of a 70s rock band and the relationships within it. I loved it. And my suggestion for a holiday read is Booker longlisted Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry, washed-up gangsters in the port of Algeciras remembering back over their not-so-worthy lives. A melancholy melody of a novel with brilliant dark humour.
Gordon Wise, Curtis Brown
It has to be David Nicholls, Sweet Sorrow. I wanted to catch up with where his voice was at, and had heard so much about what he was trying to do with this story. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Janet Ellis’s second novel, How It Was. Actually, this shares some DNA with David’s – someone in later life looking back on a relationship in the past. And although for Marion, Janet’s hero, the outcome is rather different from that of David’s, both have wonderful insight into the human condition, quite how and if we make choices when it comes to love, and there each has a special kind of redemption.
And for something completely different, SD Sykes’ The Bone Fire is her brilliant ‘locked castle’ mystery – escapist in terms of taking you to another time, with a crime puzzle as deftly constructed as an astronomical clock.
I wanted to read Queenie – still on the list to do before the Bank Holiday!
Emma Finn, C&W
I’m hugely looking forward to the new Ann Patchett, The Dutch House, which I’m taking away with me next week, and to finally diving into Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino which I’ve been hearing so many wonderful things about. I also have Claire Lombardo’s debut The Most Fun We Ever Had tucked in my suitcase as I love a big, ambitious family novel … As for summer reads I’ve already enjoyed, Expectation by Anna Hope was a total pleasure.
Claire Nozieres, Curtis Brown
I’ve just read the new Susanna Clarke proof, which Jonny Geller is handling. Set in the most extraordinary world, a house of infinite halls and corridors with oceans in the basement, clouds in the upper floors and gigantic statues throughout, this is an utterly spellbinding novel. Two men meet at regular intervals, one who’s made a home of this cold and inhospitable environment while the other one visits briefly and clearly has ulterior motives. A great page turner that gets under your skin!
Becky Brown, Curtis Brown
Top of my teetering holiday stack is Richard Hughes’ A High Wind in Jamaica. Humid and anarchic, it’s a book built for holidays (and far too reminiscent of the Tube in a heatwave to be comfortably consumed in London).
I’ll also be stuffing two Durrell masterpieces in my suitcase: Gerald’s memoir, My Family and Other Animals, and Lawrence’s novel, Prospero’s Cell. There are no two better books to read, whether you’re in Corfu (which I emphatically will be) or not.
Sile Edwards, Curtis Brown
Dorothy Koomson, Tell Me Your Secret – A wonderful twisty thriller that reveals the shared secret of two strangers simultaneously. Set in Brighton and completely enthralling. I can’t wait to read this with seagulls circling above!
Lisa Taddeo, Three Women – A compelling account of feminine desire that feels like an informative conversation with a friend.
Callum Mollison, Curtis Brown
I read Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It’s a memoir of the French aviator-writer and his view on the meaning of life.
Santa Montefiore’s The Secret Hours. It’s about a woman who travels to Ireland to fulfil her mother’s last wish.
Enrichetta Frezzato, Curtis Brown
This was a book that had been on my list for ages: The Help by Kathrin Stockett. It’s one of the most moving things I’ve ever read and it captures three very different voices so perfectly and beautifully!
Katie Smart, Curtis Brown Creative
I’ve just finished Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi – this is a truly stunning debut, Emezi uses language masterfully.
Currently reading Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy. I cannot believe that I’ve not read this yet – if you’re a fan of grounded SciFi or feminist fiction – I urge you to read this.