Claire’s Week in Books, 15th to 22nd Jan 2017


My inbox is overflowing this week.

reclaiming-hopeBoth because it was on offer and because of its timeliness, I caved and bought Michael Wear’s new book, Reclaiming Hope. It’s about faith in the Obama White House, so right up my street. Also, there’s a West Wing reference on the very first page.

“More than a memoir of the Obama administration, Reclaiming Hope is also a passionate call for faith in the public square, particularly for Christians to see politics as a means of loving one’s neighbor and of pursuing justice for all while promoting racial reconciliation and fighting for religious freedom for people of all faiths. At a time when large numbers of thoughtful Christians are arguing for withdrawal from participation in public institutions, Wear’s experience at the white-hot center of civic life shows how and why Christians must be involved in every aspect of cultural life—even if failures seem to outnumber successes—while working on behalf of the nation’s common good.”

Tim Keller calls it “an important and extremely timely book” and tells us to “get it, read it, and talk to others about it”.

I finally got the rest of my big Boxing Day order from Book Depository, which included supplies for the British Books Challenge

… as well as some French books recommended by my favourite francophone magazine, Biba.

And I also got (much, much more quickly than the Boxing Day sale orders, which took forever) a couple of other books I’d ordered from them more recently. I’ve started a blog about the world of British books and publishing, and the danger of that is that I keep hearing about great books I want to read. These two YA novels were getting a ton of buzz when they came out in the first half of January.










american-streetI also got approved for the advance review of American Street. It’s possible that I’m quickly reaching saturation point with both immigration novels and YA novels (the first-person, present-tense formula of the latter grates on me after a while, though of course the YA novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo follows the same formula). But this sounds great, and will help ensure that in an effort to read more Brits I don’t overlook the importance of reading authors of colour.



Girls in the Moon, by Janet McNally

This was my Book of the Month extra pick for January. I enjoyed it, but I think I’ve overdosed a bit on (first person, present tense, American) YA fiction lately. I also got a bit impatient with the overly detailed scenes — I don’t necessarily need to know every facial expression and every gesture in every conversation, for example. But that might be a YA thing, and it might also be a matter of taste. It certainly made for a visually vivid novel. Lots of people love this novel, and there’s certainly plenty to love, with the many musical references, the exploration of fame and family, and of course those complicated coming-=of-age emotions which are the reason I’m drawn to YA fiction in the first place.

 In The Queue

number-11Number 11, by Jonathan Coe

Jonathan Coe’s US publicist contacted me a while back and offered me an ARC for this one — though I decided I wanted to read it in the original British English, so I ordered it from Book Depository. It’s out in the US next week, and it sounds good:

“It’s about the legacy of war and the end of innocence. It’s about how comedy and politics are battling it out and comedy might have won. It’s about how 140 characters can make fools of us all. It’s about living in a city where bankers need cinemas in their basements and others need food banks down the street. It is Jonathan Coe doing what he does best ­- showing us how we live now.”



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