Five favourites: January 2018

This is the first post of my new monthly series, in which I’ll share five of my favourite things. They may be books, articles, podcasts, plays, or whatever else I’ve been enjoying.

Let’s begin.

1. England and Other Stories by Graham Swift

Last autumn I sped through Mothering Sunday and vowed to read more of Graham Swift’s writing. England and Other Stories, a collection published in 2014, focuses on the lives of people throughout England. The stories are rich with detail and interesting social commentary.

Buy it here (and support a local bookshop of your choice) or request it at your nearest library.

England and Other Stories by Graham Swift on Wooden Table with White Flower

2. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I became so absorbed in this novel about Ifemelu and Obinze’s experiences across Nigeria, the USA and England. It’s full of striking description and nuanced relationships between people, the places they live in and those they dream about. A brilliant book.

Find it here.

3. Beta: Quiet Girls Can Run the World by Rebecca Holman

This was my first non-fiction read of 2018. Beta offers insights and advice about working successfully when you don’t want to be the loudest person in the room. This slim book is full of anecdotes and practical tips.

Find it here.

4. Charlie Brooker on Desert Island Discs

In this episode, Charlie Brooker talks to Kirsty Young about criticism, anxieties, creativity, family and future plans. I almost put Black Mirror in this post, but Crocodile made me hide behind a blanket and cry. This podcast was much gentler entertainment.

Find it here or through your Podcasts app.

5. Ask Roxane

If you like Ask Polly or other advice columns, don’t miss this new one by Roxane Gay. The first problem she tackles is from two older people who feel like career chances have passed them by. Here are my favourite lines in Roxane’s answer:

“Try not to worry about what other people your age or younger have already accomplished because it will only make you sick with envy or grief. The only thing you can control is how you write and how hard you work.”

Read it in full here.

That’s all for this month!

Black, Blue and Grey Book Stack from Pexels