I’ve recently realised that for a while now the overwhelming majority of my reading has been American. It’s not hugely surprising — I am deeply immersed in the American publishing world and have been for years now. I live in DC, studied for my MFA here, and love being a part of the US-based Book Riot. And American books are great — but aside from the fact that there’s a big wide world out there, I’m losing my distinctive idioms and voice and sounding less and less like a Brit. And I have been so out of touch with the British publishing world that I hadn’t heard of this year’s big-sellers, like The Essex Serpent and Five on Brexit Island, until embarrassingly recently. One of my favourite British authors, Nina Stibbe, released her third book this year, and I somehow missed it completely.
Faffing around on Twitter to attempt to plug the enormous gaps in my knowledge, I discovered the hashtag #BritishBooksChallenge2017. For the last few years, bloggers have been pledging to read and review at least twelve British books a year. Becky Scott started the challenge in 2011 and this year Chelly Toy is hosting it.
In 2017, I’m joining in. I made the most of bookdepository.com’s Boxing Day sale and ordered a whole pile of books — enough of them to complete the challenge, in fact. Here’s what I plan on reading, though I reserve the right to switch up my choices as the year progresses. I’ll be updating the page with my reviews as the year goes on.
Number 11, by Jonathan Coe
Who’s That Girl?, by Mhairi McFarlane
The Thrill of It All, by Joseph O’Connor
Mr Loverman, by Bernadine Evaristo
We Were on a Break, by Lindsey Kelk
Paradise Lodge, by Nina Stibbe
The Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry
Liccle Bit, by Alex Wheatle
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
Not Working, by Lisa Owens
The Noise of Time, by Julian Barnes
British Museum, by Daljit Nagra