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What to Read Now: Vol XCII

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Wild Places: Selected Stories
by Katherine Mansfield

To mark Katherine Mansfield’s centenary, and the publication of a new biography All Sorts of Lives, here is a selection of her finest short stories.  In her short life, Mansfield helped transform the art of short fiction, and was an inspiration to and a contemporary of Modernist authors like Virginia Woolf.  This collection is a perfect introduction to her work.

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The Swedish Art of Ageing Well
by Margareta Magnusson

This is not Wim Hof, this is a gentle and humourous take on getting older and prioritising what’s important to you.  Octogenarian Magnusson imparts her life lessons in a charming way, and while they won’t prolong your life (à la Tim Spector), they might make it more fun.

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The End of Nightwork
by Aidan Cottrell-Boyce

This is an incredibly original debut novel – with a main character who has a rare hormonal issue that causes him to age in fits and starts, and who has an obsession with a Puritan prophet who seemingly preditcted the Climate Emergency.  If you’ve enjoyed books by Max Porter or even Thomas Pynchon, you’re in for a treat with this one!

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To Paradise
by Hanya Yanagihara

Now in paperback, the latest novel by the author of A Little Life is another epic.  Told in three parts over three centuries, the connections between each story become apparent as you read – Washington Square is a recurrent location. The book explores themes of colonialism, sexuality and illness in a way that’s both very much of our current moment, but feels timeless.

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The Sentence
by Louise Erdrich

We have always loved good books about bookshops, and here is an absolute classic of the genre: not twee, or over-sentimental or even escapist, but an exploration of what literature can achieve.  The book follows Tookie, recently released from prison, who gets a job in a bookshop. Erdrich has a bookshop of her own, and in addition to her novels, is a Native American activist, this book demonstrates both thos passions superbly well.

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Failosophy for Teens
by Elizabeth Day

After the teenagers sit mock exams this January, this might be the perfect book to pop in their room.  Elizabeth Day expands her Failosophy to encompass younger readers, and to help them build resilience, and empower them, using tips and hints from the celebrities Day has interviewed on her How to Fail podcast.

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