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It’s toss-up between this book and The Secret History (by the same author). I chose The Goldfinch because it is superb prose that combines deliciously with the tropes of crime fiction. I love the book so much that I am in the minority of people who also love the movie. The adventures of Boris and Theo may be considered a tad self-indulgent to some, but for me, Ms Tartt’s love for the written word shines through in her rendering of these imperfect (and ultimately human) heroes.
A Little Life by Hanna Yanagihara
Buy A Little Life from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones.
A Son of the Circus by John Irving
Buy We Need New Names from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones.
Buy The Goldfinch from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones.
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
Buy The Lightseekers from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones.
This was one of the most heartbreakingly funny books I ever read. I love all John Irving’s books but this is my absolute favorite because you can feel he had fun writing this book. On desert island, it will be very easy to imagine myself laughing out loud, sobbing and soaking in the moments of profound reflections that the story demands. For character and setting, few books beat this in my opinion.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
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Buy A Son of the Circus from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
A good book doesn’t leave you the way it met you. This book tore me apart on many levels and I emerged from the experience of reading it feeling like I have been put through a rollercoaster. The prose is exquisite and transcendental. The story is heartbreaking and told with compassion. It is the one book I wish I could write but know I can’t. The next best thing is to carry it almost everywhere with me; reading bits and pieces, treasuring every word, observation and insight on the human condition.
Razorblade Tears by S. A Crosby
I confess: I have not read any of this author’s books. I came across Brian Jenkins’ screen adaptation of The Underground Railroad and swore I will read every single one of the writer’s works. I have succeeded in buying his last three books (The Underground Railroad, The Nickel Boys and the new Harlem Shuffle) just recently. So, if I get stranded on a desert island, I will be tucking into The Underground Railroad with great excitement, grateful for the opportunity to reduce my sky high to TBR pile without distraction.
Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra
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The Tradition by Jericho Brown
This book’s gorgeous prose shot it to my list of favorite books. I bought several copies of it and gifted people. I have an autographed copy that I guard jealously. I’d take this to a desert island to soak in Ms Bulawayo’s simple, yet lyrical prose about a young girl growing up in troubled Zimbabwe. I love this book because it presents a very complex history and present in simple, very accessible prose. I can’t remember exactly how it was that I first came across Femi Kayode; though suffice it to say it was when I was down something of a literary rabbit hole on Twitter. I subsequently read about his award-winning debut, The Lightseekers, and – after ordering myself a copy – asked him if he’d like to take part in my Desert Island Books series. There’s not a single book on his list of eight that I don’t adore the sound of, and – having already read three of them – I can’t wait to work my way through the remaining five. From a poetry collection to an epic crime fiction, read on to find out which eight books Femi would take with him to the sandy shores of a desert island.
Then, I will close my eyes, and let each poem usher me into what I am sure will be gorgeous dreams.
This is a collection of poems on fatherhood, queerness, trauma and so much more. I am generally in awe of poets, but Jericho Brown’s work earns my respect for its accessibility while lifting the written word to a level that is close to sacred. It’s one of my first encounters with poetry that opens worlds, tells stories that ends with twists/surprises that demands that you set the book aside for a while and just breathe, think and send showers of blessings to the universe for gifting this generation with Jericho Brown. On a desert Island, I will treasure each poem in this collection; read one a day, stretch out my enjoyment like a hoarder of sweets, and let each word settle on my lips as I read out loud.
Buy Razorblade Tears from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones.