I’ve really upped my game with keeping up with my NetGalley reading. I figure it’s the least I can do since publishers are so kindly giving over their books for free. I’m currently at 79% but most of the titles on my shelf aren’t out until 2021 so I’ve got a decent amount of time to catch up. Anyway, here are some of the books I have to read that I’m really, really psyched about.
Mayflies by Andrew O’Hagan
I was on a book buying ban when this one came out in early September so I couldn’t get the hardback. But by luck I found it while browsing NetGalley and was approved within about five minutes – must have been fate! Because I was gifted it after it was published it’s fallen by the wayside while I got other reading done but I’m still so excited to read it sooner rather than later.
Published on 3 September 2020
Blurb – Everyone has a Tully Dawson: the friend who defines your life. In the summer of 1986, in a small Scottish town, James and Tully ignite a brilliant friendship based on music, films and the rebel spirit. With school over and the locked world of their fathers before them, they rush towards the climax of their youth: a magical weekend in Manchester, the epicentre of everything that inspires them in working-class Britain. There, against the greatest soundtrack ever recorded, a vow is made: to go at life differently. Thirty years on, half a life away, the phone rings. Tully has news. Mayflies is a memorial to youth’s euphorias and to everyday tragedy. A tender goodbye to an old union, it discovers the joy and the costs of love.
Witch Bottle by Tom Fletcher
I love reading folk horror in the winter months, there’s just something about the darkness outside that adds so much to the atmosphere. This sounds like a really good read, kind of in a similar ilk to Andrew Hurley I reckon.
Published on 26 November 2020
Blurb – Daniel once had a baby brother, but he died, a long time ago now. And he had a wife and a daughter, but that didn’t work out, so now he’s alone. The easy monotony of his job as a milkman in the remote northwest of England demands nothing from him other than dealing with unreasonable customer demands and the vagaries of his enigmatic boss. But things are changing. Daniel’s started having nightmares, seeing things that can’t possibly be there – like the naked, emaciated giant with a black bag over its head which is so real he swears he could touch it . . . if he dared. It’s not just at night bad things are happening, either, or just to him. Shaken and unnerved, he opens up to a local witch. She can’t t discern the origins of his haunting, but she can provide him with a protective ward – a witch-bottle – if, in return, he will deliver her products on his rounds. But not everyone’s happy to find people meddling with witch-bottles. Things are about to get very unpleasant . . .
The Betrayals by Bridget Collins
I think this is another one that falls under my current dark academia obsession – definitely my defining theme of 2020. Collins’ previous book, The Binding, has been one of my favourite books of this year so I’m hoping this one carries that same magic.
Published on 12 November 2020
Blurb – Léo was once a student at Montverre, an exclusive academy tucked away in the mountains, where students learn an arcane and mysterious game. Now he returns in disgrace, exiled to his old place of learning. Claire is the first woman to serve as Montverre’s Magister Ludi. When Léo first sees Claire he senses a connection with her, though he’s sure they have never met before. As secrets whisper in the walls and the legendary Midsummer Game, the climax of the year, draws closer, will Léo discover the truth about Claire – and will that truth destroy them both?
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily Danforth
I have heard nothing but amazing things about this incredible sounding book. A sapphic horror story with historical dark academia and Hollywood. AND it’s a big un’…god, I love a big book. Such my cup of tea. I’ve been saving it up for dark winter nights and so buzzed.
Published on 4 February 2021.
Blurb – 1902, Brookhants School for Girls: students Flo and Clara are madly in love with each other, as well as completely obsessed with The Story of Mary MacLane, the scandalous debut memoir by 19 year old MacLane. A few months later they are found dead in the woods, after a horrific wasp, the book lying next to their intertwined bodies. Within five years The Brookhants School for Girls is closed. But not before three more people died on the property, each in a troubling way. Over a hundred years later, Brookhants opens its doors once more, when a crew of young actresses arrive to film a high-profile movie about the rumoured Brookhants curse. And as past and present become grimly entangled, it’s soon impossible to tell quite where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins…
How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue
I’m particularly interested in this one. I think it will be a difficult, harrowing read but as an O&G journalist whose “patch” for reporting is Africa I feel like this is required reading. It’s too easy with this job to get tied up in only thinking of things from the economic point of view, and the impact on humans and local environments is something that’s been on my mind a lot.
Published on 11 March 2021
Blurb – Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, How Beautiful We Were tells the story of a people living in fear amidst environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Promises of clean-up and financial reparations to the villagers are made – and ignored. The country’s government, led by a brazen dictator, exists to serve its own interest only. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight back. But their fight will come at a steep price, one which generation after generation will have to pay. Told through the perspective of a generation of children and the family of a girl named Thula, How Beautiful We Were is a masterful exploration of what happens when the reckless drive for profit, coupled with the ghost of colonialism, comes up against one community’s determination to hold onto its ancestral land and a young woman’s willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of her people’s freedom.
Have you got any of these books on your TBR or have you read them already? How are you getting on with your NetGalley reads?