At PLMR, we’re firm believers that’s it’s good to bring all of your ‘self’ to work; your interest, your ambitions, your dreams. They’re the things that spark ideas, start conversations and expand our understanding of the world. Just like a good book does.
So, for World Book Day 2019, here’s our list of what PLMR people are reading, recommending and talking about inside and outside the workplace… Enjoy!
Sarah Collier is reading Hold It ‘Til It Hurts by T. Geronimo Johnson
“Afghanistan veteran Achilles Conroy grapples with notions of masculinity, blackness and trauma as he searches for his brother in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As the spectre of his brother fades, Achilles’ Odyssey becomes one after his own identity – if you don’t define yourself through race, how do you navigate a world that does?”
Yasmin Nasli is reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The length and subject matter of this novel don’t make this the easiest read, but it became a bestseller when it was published in the early 90s and it’s been on my reading list since school! It follows the friendship of a tightly knit group of Classics students at a small elite college in New England as they become embroiled in murder. An inverted detective story, it’s less of a whodunnit as a howdunnit as we know who the murderers are from the very first page, making for a hugely interesting and thrilling concept.
Sara Ghaffari is reading Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
I recommend Home Fire for World Book Day. At its heart, it’s about love, identity, conflicting loyalties and politics. The story addresses the challenges of terrorists returning home – from the perspective of the individual, their family and a Muslim Home Secretary. Last year, the book was awarded the international Women’s Prize for Fiction being a “the story of our times” and in the wake of media attention surrounding Shamima Begum continues to be ever more relevant.
Ashley Van De Casteele is reading A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley
A recent piece in The New Yorker set off a literary storm when it helped bring this ‘forgotten classic’ back into publication. Set in the pre-Civil rights era, it tells the story of a fictional state in the Deep South whose entire black population decides to up and leave. The book explores the reactions of the white population when members of the long-oppressed minority decide they have simply had enough.
Victoria Cameron is reading Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Half of a Yellow Sun explores the meaning of war – both internally and externally – and the battle between love, loyalty, and betrayal. Seen through the eyes of Ugwu, the young houseboy of a university professor; Olanna, the professor’s mistress; and Richard, a young Englishman enthralled with Olanna’s sister, the story follows their journey as their ideals are tested and lives threatened during the turbulence of the Nigerian civil war.
Simon Darby is reading All That Man Is by David Szalay
For World Book Day, I’m recommending All That Man Is. Nine distinct short stories that bring to life various stages of modern man and the situations they find themselves in. Beautifully and evocatively written, All That Man Is captures the successes, hopes, plans, fears and failures of individual men that is – somewhat worryingly – extremely relatable.
Josh Woolliscroft is reading Books Do Furnish a Room by Anthony Powell
Books Do Furnish a Room is the 10th book in the 12 volume novel, A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell. The Dance, named after the Poussin painting, has been called England’s answer to In Search of Lost Time; but with better jokes. It covers the life of Nicholas Jenkins from the start of the 1st World War to the early ‘70s and is a window into aristocratic and bohemian life in the 20th century. Although Nick is the main character the best character is Kenneth Widmepool who starts the novel as figure of fun, becomes someone to be feared, and ends as an object of pity. It was recommended to me by a family friend who took all 12 volumes with him when travelling by train across India in the ‘80s. The perfect read for World Book Day!
Sabine Tyldesley is reading Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
2015 science fiction novel but I only discovered it last year. It was a recommendation by a friend who knew I was a fan of dystopian fiction.
Unlike other dystopian novels, it doesn’t try to appeal too much to the teenage angst market and instead delivered a clever deconstructed view of a possible future which features space travel, artificial intelligence and possible evolution of new and exciting life. While seeking out common themes in a futuristic setting, it is never nihilistic, and sometimes brings the debate back to basics in interesting ways, discussing religion, society, social justice and politics.
Emily Tester is reading The Railway Adventures by Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe
Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a bit of a geek for trains and transport more generally. The Railway Adventures follows Geoff and Vicki’s journey to visit every railway station in Britain, tracking the highs and lows of the expedition. It’s much more than a trainspotter’s guide – although there is a great section about Pacers – it pays homage not only to the rails but to the communities they help foster. I’d highly recommend it, not least because it’s great fun to see if your daily commute gets a mention!
Charlotte Watson is reading Milkman by Anna Burns
Milkman is my World Book Day choice this year. It’s the winner of the 2018 Man Booker Prize, and follows the story of a young woman trying to live a normal life against the backdrop of the Troubles in 1970s Belfast. It’s strikingly written and manages to capture the suffocation of living under the conditions of conflict, whilst making a point about how quickly completely abnormal conditions to live in can become normalised in people’s daily lives.
Alex Hackett is reading Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant by Joel Golby
“Vice magazine’s master of the convoluted sentence has produced a typically excellent read of equal parts comedy, tragedy and absurdity. It really does deserve the number of ‘Brilliants’ it gives itself.”
Patrick Cousens is reading Adults in the Room by Yanis Varoufakis
A fascinating, if slightly self-aggrandising account of an outsiders battle with the EU establishment. Given Brexit, it’s a very interesting perspective coming from the last EU nation to find itself at loggerheads with the Union’s leadership.