Hay Festival 2024 FOMO

The Hay Festival FOMO is real but we are here to recommend six books you should read so you don't feel too left out. 


The Hay Festival FOMO is real but we are here to recommend six books you should read so you don’t feel too left out.

Soldier Sailor by Claire Kilroy

A short but gripping novel about motherhood, Soldier Sailor is Claire Kilroy’s first novel in over a decade. In the form of a love letter, Claire Kilroy manages to build a sense of urgency that all mothers would have felt whenever their child was unsettled, and a sense of rage that some mothers unfortunately need to face due to their husbands being unsupportive. It’s no surprise that Solider Sailor is shortlisted for the Women’s Prize 2024 and we hope that would encourage more men to pick up this one.




A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marion James

First published in 2014, A Brief History of Seven Killings is the winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2015. It is a chunky book that reimagines the story of how seven gunmen tried to kill Bob Marley. But don’t let that 700 pages intimidate you as there is a 4-page character list to aid you. And to celebrate the 10th anniversary, OneWorld Publications has released a new edition featuring a foreword by Bernardine Evaristo and a Q&A with Marion James. The Q&A gives a glimpse of why Marion James wrote this book, and how winning the Man Booker Prize changed his life.




The Husbands by Holly Gramazio

A debut novel, The Husbands is part of the Debut Discoveries series. The premise is very interesting — Lauren finds herself an endless supply of husbands that reside in the attic. And so readers find themselves meeting many “husbands”, not all great but well, we have an IRL swipe left swipe right. It is very fun to read this reverse Groundhog Day book and it’s definitely interesting to think about the implication of being able to switch people you are talking to (with the press of a button).





The Glutton by A.K. Blakemore

With a captivating cover, The Glutton is a historical fiction that follows a French man who eats anything and everything. The book thus explores the interesting but dark story behind this man, and it is so mind-blowing how A.K. Blakemore managed to learn about this part of history originally. The Glutton was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, and it’s no surprise. The writing is poetic and the setting is so well-researched that one can easily imagine themselves in the French Revolution.




Julia by Sandra Newman

Loving the design of this book, as it reflects the nature of Julia – a retelling of the Orwell classic, 1984. Blessed by the Orwell estate, Julia is the perfect mix between being a retelling and being a strong story by itself. We definitely applaud Sandra Newman for taking on this daunting this project, and it’s almost thought-provoking to think about all the female POVs we have missed when reading classics. We are very on board this new trend of feminist retelling of classic stories and can’t wait to see which novel gets retold next.




A Sign of Her Own by Sarah Marsh 

If the gorgeous cover and the endpapers that feature the British Sign Language alphabets didn’t captivate you, maybe the fact that this story was inspired by journals kept by Alexander Graham Bell’s deaf students would. It was eye-opening to learn that Bell banned sign language at his school, and to ponder about the implications of him being an inventor of the telephone. The book is clearly well-researched and hopefully it will encourage readers to think more about people who are deaf.




And if you want more recommendations — check out our reviews on weirdo on Sara Pascoe and Prophet Song by Paul Lynch.

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