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Alice Oseman (author of the Heartstopper series): "Currently in my bag is And the Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando! I'm about halfway through and am loving it so much so far. It's a really beautiful, emotional story of two teenagers dealing with the loss of a boy called Al, who took his own life. Narrated dually by Al's brother and Al's schoolfriend, each of them handle the loss in very different ways."
Elle McNicoll (author of A Kind of Spark): "Currently it's Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis. It's a spooky read for October and I love books where settings are almost like characters in the story. I'm excited to get reading!"
Dr Peter Lovatt (author of The Dance Cure): "I've got two books on the go right now: In Between the Sheets by Ian McEwan and Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty. I love Ian McEwan's storytelling, he cracks open the ordinary and shows the twisted psychology within. Nine Perfect Strangers is in the wings – a recommendation from my wife."
Alice Oseman (author of the Heartstopper series): "The last great book I read was What We Don't Talk About by Charlot Kristensen. It's a graphic novel about a relationship between a Black woman named Farai and a white man named Adam. When Farai goes with Adam to meet his parents, she is faced with various acts of racism from his family, and Farai has to question whether she can stay with a man who is not willing to face the difficulties of being in an interracial relationship. The story is incredibly powerful and the artwork is gorgeous. I can't wait to read whatever Charlot Kristensen creates next!"
Elle McNicoll (author of A Kind of Spark): "How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang. I'm a complete sucker for the untold stories of the west. And this one is extraordinary. I was sad to see it left off the Booker shortlist but I can't wait to see what the author does next. It's also made me really want to write a western! It was a shot in the arm for the genre."
Douglas Stuart (author of Shuggie Bain): "I was blown away by Elaine Feeney’s As You Were. There are these wonderful moments of unguarded intimacy between three Irish women on a hospital ward. There is one scene in particular where the character of Margaret Rose is having a one-sided telephone conversation about organizing an abortion for her teenage daughter, and an attack on her philandering husband, that is funny, visceral, and so well observed – it has all the insight and wit of Alan Bennett monologue, and it will stay with me for a long time."
Stuart Turton (author of The Devil and the Dark Water): "I've read so many brilliant books recently, but the one I still think about is The Porpoise by Mark Haddon. It does so many things wonderfully, and the story is sad and whimsical, and strange. I've never read anything like it."
Kiley Reid (author of Such a Fun Age): "Rumaan Alam's book Leave The World Behind was great. It was suspenseful and funny and modern which was definitely what I needed."
Sam Sedgman (co-author of The Highland Falcon Thief with M.G. Leonard): "I could re-read Terry Pratchett’s Maskerade any day of the year. It's a parody of The Phantom of the Opera but manages to become so much more than that – a perfect mystery, satire, comedy and adventure. One of the best examples of his Discworld novels that get under the skin of a large institution and show you all of human life scuttling around inside it."
Kalynn Bayron (author of Cinderella is Dead): "I return to The Black Unicorn by Audre Lorde and Mules and Men by Zora Neale Hurston again and again. I always feel seen and heard by their work."
Kiley Reid (author of Such a Fun Age): "Definitely The History of Love by Nicole Krauss as it's so beautiful and I feel you can just turn to any page, start reading, and enjoy yourself."
Dr Peter Lovatt (author of The Dance Cure): "My favourite book recommended by a bookseller was Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton. I was in Australia last summer and I wanted to read something that was either set in Australia or written by an Australian author. A local bookseller in Sydney recommended Boy Swallows Universe and it was heartbreakingly beautiful (and funny, tense and shocking). It was my favourite book of 2019."
Stuart Turton (author of The Devil and the Dark Water): "I depend on recommendations for children's books an awful lot. My daughter is two, and I have absolutely no idea what she's going to enjoy. I end up walking into bookshops holding my daughter in front of me and saying ‘I have one of these, help me’. A bookseller recommended a series called Gregory Goose by Hilary Robinson. It’s about a goose that goes on adventures, and you have to find him on every beautifully drawn page. I have no idea how many hours we've read that for, but the bookseller who recommended it deserves a knighthood."
Britta Teckentrup (author of Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright!: An Animal Poem for Every Day of the Year): "It was Dans La Lune by Fanette Mellier, published by Editions du Livre – it was recommended by Ewa at Mundo Azul in Berlin. I bought it straight away..."
Eliza Clark (author of Boy Parts): "If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha. I flew through it! It's both really well written, and a fascinating insight into women slipping through the cracks of modern South Korean society."
Kalynn Bayron (author of Cinderella is Dead): "My book of the year so far would be Felix Ever After by Kacen Callendar. It's so beautifully written and Kacen makes us root for Felix from page one. It is a stunning addition to the YA space."
Jean Menzies (author of Greek Myths): "I have read A LOT of amazing books this year but Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?: Police Violence and Resistance in the United States was definitely one of the most important."
Fiona Waters (illustrator of Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright!: An Animal Poem for Every Day of the Year): "The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel. The final chapter is an epic and compelling retelling of the history of a man who came from nowhere to be one of the greatest advisors in the history of England."
Don't miss out on this month's giveaways! Win signed books and once-in-a-lifetime prizes.
The Books Are My Bag Readers Awards are back. Vote for your favourite books to be entered to win a £100/€120 National Book Token.