2019 has definitely been a good year for books. From vivacious short-stories to unforgettable literary classics. Here are the top-picks from the Clippings Team, including The Testaments, Orange World And Other Short Stories and Phantoms.
Winner of the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize 2019 - Robert Macfarlane takes the reader on an epic journey through the hidden geographies beneath our feet. From the vast below-ground mycelial networks by which trees communicate, to the ice-blue depths of glacial moulins, and from North Yorkshire to the Lofoten Islands, he traces an uncharted, deep-time voyage. Macfarlane's novel urges us to take a closer look at the environment we live in, and at the natural world especially. Mcfarlane's works have been described as "perception-shifters". "With its darker, delving subject matter counter-weighing its lyricism, Underland is a magnificent feat of writing, travelling and thinking that feels genuinely frontier-pushing, unsettling and exploratory." - Evening Standard.
Ripped apart by war and bigotry, two American families confront long buried secrets in this stunning tale of World War II and Vietnam. As a vietnam vet still disturbed by the horrors of war, John Frazier finds himself an unwitting witness to a confrontation, decades in the making, between two steely matriarchs: his aunt, Evelyn Wilson, and her former neighbor, Kimiko Takahashi. In this beautifully written fictitious novel, Christian Kiefer explores the aftermath of war and how it reverberates through the generations. "Phantoms sings from its surreal beginning to its stunning end. Kiefer's writing is lovely, ripe with striking figurative language...This is a beautiful, relevant read." - Jesmyn Ward.
Shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize, Margaret Atwood brings the masterpiece The Handmaid's Tale to a mesmerizing conclusion in this unforgettable sequel. The question that has plagued readers for years - "What does the future hold for Offred?" - has finally been answered. The Testaments picks up the story more than fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead. In it, she explores the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes. “The Testaments is worthy of the literary classic it continues. That’s thanks in part to Atwood’s capacity to surprise, even writing in a universe we think we know so well.”—USA Today.
A Pulitzer Finalist and New York Times Bestseller author of Swamplandia! and Vampires in the Lemon Grove - Karen Russell now brings us a stunning collection of fictitious short stories. Famous for her comedic genius and hypnotic talent, Russell creates hilarious predicaments that uncannily mirror our inner lives - and are seen in these eight spirited, animated and unforgettable stories. In 'The Bad Graft', a couple on a road trip stop in Joshua Tree National Park, where the spirit of a giant tree accidentally infects the young woman, their fates becoming permanently entangled. In 'The Prospectors' two opportunistic young women fleeing the Depression strike out for new territory, but find themselves fighting for their lives. “Russell creates fully realized worlds. Her writing is particular and alive. Her imagination spills over the sink and hits the backsplash.” –Dwight Garner, The New York Times.
Best selling novelist Elif Shafak - renowned for her captivating stories of strong female characters, immigrants and minorities - brings us the story of Leila. For Leila, each minute after her death recalls a sensuous memory: spiced goat stew, sacrificed by her father to celebrate the birth of a yearned-for son; bubbling vats of lemon and sugar to wax women's legs while men are at prayer; the cardamom coffee she shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Each fading memory brings back the friends she made in her bittersweet life - friends who are now desperately trying to find her. Beautifully penned, it is no surprise this novel was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2019. "Expect vibrant, vivid and eye-opening descriptions of Middle Eastern life propelled by a tender storyline, all in Shafak's haunting, beautiful and considered prose." - Vanity Fair.
And there you have it. Each of these books serve to educate, inspire and enlighten us as readers.
As a reminder, you can always import the Kindle notes and highlights that you make!
Liz - The Clippings Team