New Year Update and a Bunch of Recommended Reads

Happy New Year! While you’re all chilling on New Year’s Day I thought I’d offer some book recommendations based on my recent reading. What’s surprising is that I’ve not read a single eBook over the past month – only print copies. Here’s a fab selection including three novels from the Man Booker 2013 shortlist and some old favourites. I can recommend them all:

Here's a pile of books I loved reading in December.

Here’s a pile of books I loved reading in December.

In-Flight Entertainment, short stories by Helen Simpson (several stories touching on issues around climate change);

The Testament of Mary, short story by Colm Toibin (Booker shortlisted. A reading highlight of my year);

Harvest by Jim Crace (Booker shortlisted. Another fabulous read set during the upheaval in rural England in the eighteenth century – a time when common land was enclosed, village by village, and many farm labourers lost their livelihoods).

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. (Booker shortlisted. A shimmering novel set in Japan, US and Canada, beautifully written. Stunning).

The Story Until Now. Short stories by Kit Reed, spanning SF and speculative fiction, including her controversial feminist short story “Songs of War.” I’m still dibbing into this collection.

The Bridegroom. Short stories of Ha Jin. This is my third re-read of this amazing collection. Real-life dystopian stories set post-Cultural Revolution.

My lovely neighbour, knowing my predilection for ‘gloomy dystopias,’ bought me Doomed by Chuck Palahniuk for Christmas (great cover art). In return, I gave her Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, which I said was life-affirming apart from (minor spoiler alert) the death at the very beginning.

And thank you…

I’ve ended the year in a much better place than I started, thanks to readers, reviewers and 47North!

I rounded off 2013 with a challenging Question and Answer session. Tom Hunter interviewed me for the online culture magazine LondonCalling and he quizzed me on my move to publisher 47North from self-publishing, on the creative urge, on art versus fiction. I had to get my brain in gear for this one. Thanks for the great questions, Tom.

Since 47North released the new edition of A Calculated Life, I’ve found many new readers, which is the best feeling for any writer! (The year closes with pretty solid ratings: 4.6 stars on and 4.5 stars on I’d like to thank everyone at 47North including my editor David Pomerico, and my fellow Amazon Publishing authors who are a funny and wise bunch, generous with their advice and support.

So now I’m cracking on with my new story collection and hope to have this completed before I set off for Norwescon 37 in April.

Spring in Seattle!

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