Summer is the perfect time to sit down and discover a new book to fall in love with. We asked some of our recent authors what they recommend, and why. From fiction to short stories, these books will boost your summer reading list!
1. Tara West (author of Poets Are Eaten As A Delicacy In Japan)
Book Choice: Sinker by Jason Johnson
"I award Jason Johnson's Sinker '5 Black Eyes' (that's my top rating for crime fiction). Sinker is tough talking, hard-boiled, funny and surprisingly touching, and it kept me gripped from start to finish. Johnson's approach to crime fiction is admirably fresh, and if you love strange and unexpected characters (professional drinkers anyone?) in surreal, yet believable settings (a billionaire Sheikh's luxury yacht, no less), then you'll fall hook, line and Sinker for this book."
Sinker can be purchased here
2. Jason Johnson (author of Sinker and Aloysius Tempo)
Book Choice: Undercover by Gerard Brennan
"It's a fresh, fast, noir thriller set in the North. A smashing read, smartly exploits the best/worst of a menacing but clearly loveable Belfast. It's a tightly-wound, hard-running undercover cop plot around a kidnapping, a hunt through the streets, a child and a man trying to save each other. Truly 3D characters, includes -uniquely- an interesting set of duck-and-dive negotiations around the prospects for a rising football star. There's also a set of quotes from said footie star's autobiography, which run like a witty subplot through the story. A quality read."
Undercover can be purchased here
3. Andrew Nugent (author of 1968: Memoir and Murder)
Book Choice: The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud
"Albert Camus was one of the most attractive exponents of a philosophy called Existentialism or Absurdism. He published in 1942 a novel, L'Etranger, translated as The Stranger or The Outsider. This became and has remained a best seller. The book is about a French-speaking Algerian (which Camus himself was) called Meursault who pumps five bullets into a 'mere Arab' on a sun-drenched beach in Algeria. The story is told completely from Meursault's point of view. The 'mere Arab' doesn't get a look in. Kamel Daoud's short book (160 pages) completes the picture and has been an immediate success."
The Meursault Investigation can be purchased here
4. Jan Carson (author of Malcolm Orange Disappears)
Book Choice: Find Me by Laura Van Den Berg
"A whimsical and haunting novel focusing on the survivors of an epidemic which destroys most of America. Find me is unflinching in its realism and yet also packed full of imagination. It is the sort of book which is almost impossible to pigeonhole and can be read as one compelling story or a smorgasbord of poetic mini-stories all deftly sewn together. For fans of Karen Russell, Aimee Bender and anything set in the near-future, American dystopic."
Find Me can be purchased here
Book Choice: Green Hell by Ken Bruen
"It's probably not a typical beach reading but Ken Bruen's well-crafted Jack Taylor series are worth reading at any time for the sharp dialogue and great writing. It's noir at its best, up-dated from 1930s Los Angeles (almost) contemporary Galway. Even though I tried long ago of drunks and main characters, Bruen does it (and Galway) so well that he's an exception. Looking forward to reading the latest installment, Green Hell, if not on the beach, at least on a typical western day of moody clouds and maybe a ray or two of sunshine."
Green Hell can be purchased here
6. Daniel Seery (author of A Model Partner)
Book Choice: This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff
"This Boy's Life recreates the author's early years as he moves from place to place with his free-spirited mother. We see how the young Tobias struggles to find some kind of anchor in an every changing environment and how he copes with his mother's tendency to form relationships with abusive men. It is easy to fall into such a well crafted setting of fifties America and there is immense depth in the dynamics between characters. But the economical style of the writing is what stands out for me, so clear and natural it is an effortless read but with immense payback. One of my favorite books of all time."
This Boy's Life can be purchased here
7. Dan Hegarty (author of Buried Treasure)
Book Choice: Let's Get It On! The Making of MMA & It's Ultimate Referee by John McCarthy
"For anyone who's been switched on to watching MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) by the phenomenal Conor McGregor, this book will give you an insight into what MMA actually is, and how it started and evolved. I read it a couple of years ago, and loved it."
Let's Get It On! The Making of MMA & It's Ultimate Referee can be purchased here
8. Kevin Curran (author of Beatsploitation)
Book Choice: The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
"I am rereading Kushner's 2nd novel, which jumps between civil unrest in 1970s Italy and the bohemian art world of 1970s New York. Speed, velocity, philosophy. An amazing novel."
The Flamethrowers can be purchased here
9. Kelly Creighton (author of The Bones Of It)
Book Choice: Because They Wanted To by Mary Gaitskill / Love on the Road 2015
"I tend to read shorter novels and short story collections in the summer. A collection of stories I'd recommend is Because They Wanted To by Mary Gaitskill. The book is nearly twenty years old now but it still feels fresh and original. The book's epigraph '...most of us would rather love than be loved,' (from 'The Ballad of the Sad Cafe' by Carson McCullers) sets a pattern for what to expect. Gaitskill deals in uneasy relationships and disappointment, using wounded characters who are trying to find their place. Her dialogue is excellent, as is her characterisation. It's certainly not frilly, nor is it a summer read in the lighter sense. Each story stays with you for a long time after.
Because They Wanted To can be purchased here
"My next summer read is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. There are so many popular high-concept thrillers being written by women right now, and this is one of those great "What if...?" ideas that's of-the-moment, but makes you wonder why it hasn't been done before. The concept is reminiscent of Agatha Christie's 4.50 From Paddington but with a modern twist, and I'm interested to see how far Hawkins takes the plot."
The Girl on the Train can be purchased here
11. Caitriona Lally (author of Eggshells)
Book Choice: Fathers Come First by Rosita Sweetman
"Fathers Come First is a beautifully written coming-of-age story set in 70s Dublin. It's sad and touching and funny, and the descriptions are just so realistic- teenage girls trying to outdo each other in their shows of grief at the funeral of a teacher they don't even like, Elizabeth dropping everything for a charismatic man, the confusion of whose advice to heed in a rapidly changing Ireland. There's something very comforting reading such an honestly written book; it makes you feel that it's ok not to have everything figured out, that questioning is maybe every bit as important as certainty."
Fathers Come First can be purchased here
12. Lane Ashfeldt (author of Saltwater)
Book Choice: Generation by Paula McGrath
"I would happily recommend a book by Dubliner Paula McGrath, published by John Murray in the UK. Although we're both from North Dublin and both have relatives from West Cork, I've never met Paula, but I am enjoying the way she has structured her debut novella, with sections from different characters in different times, ranging from 1958 to 2027. The writing style is lovely and I'm happy to come back and say more when I've finished reading... Or if you're curious why not go along to the book launch, at The Gutter bookshop at 6:30pm on Wednesday, August 5th?"
Generation can be purchased here