Scarlett Curtis Recommends Her Top 5 Reads of 2019
In my mind, 2019 will always be the year that Candice released Queenie and changed the book world forever! Queenie is a stunning, funny, beautiful novel that had me in tears (both happy and sad). It’s as unputdownable as it is culturally important. Queenie is a character I will never forget and the lessons I learnt from the book on race, PTSD and womanhood will stick with me forever.
I read an early copy of this over Christmas and did not leave the sofa for three whole days until I’d finished it! It is quite literally my perfect kind of book; an intelligent page turner that will keep your brain spinning until the last page. The characters have stayed with me all year and I still miss them! I’ve been describing it as ‘a secret history set in Norfolk’ but really it’s better than that. Kate is a genius at suspense, romance, friendship and character. A perfect winter thriller!
I once met Ali Smith at a book festival and burst into tears all over her. She is my favourite living author and her Seasonal Quartet series has been one of my literary highlights of the past few years. Read together they are a complex, stunning depiction of modern life and read alone, Spring is a delicate novel that will stand the test of time. Smith has a literary ability that rivals Virginia Woolf and this book somehow manages to touch on refugees, climate, Brexit and teen activism while still retaining a mysterious imaginative beauty. It’s more than wonderful.
I say this a lot but I do think this book changed my life! When I was 18-years-old I became OBSESSED by reading books about middle aged men who couldn’t ‘get it up’ (think Roth, Updike, Franzen etc). Fleishman is in Trouble finally revealed to me just how toxic these kind of books might have been to a teenage girl! It is the perfect piece of American, male, literary fiction - written by a woman! It’s hilarious, fascinating, painfully observant, I have recommended it to every single person I know. I won’t give anything away but the narrator's observations on why women choose to write men's stories is quite literally mind blowing.
The Farm is a wickedly powerful dystopian novel that I’m surprised hasn’t been talked about more this year! It sits somewhere between Big Little Lies and The Handmaid's Tale. Joanne Ramos manages to achieve the near-impossible feat of blending a captivating plot with an incredibly culturally significant message. The story hooked me in and Ramos’s commentary on wealth, privilege, motherhood and technology has seriously stuck with me. The perfect book if you’re looking to get lost in it and learn something at the same time!
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