Garfunklr 2023

Reading | January 1, 2024

A pretty magnificent year in reading, with some firm new favourite authors and publishers.

The University of East Anglia’s publishing imprint Boiler House Press has been knocking it out of the park again and again with both their contemporary fiction and Recovered Books imprints.

I didn’t get to see Openheimer at the cinema this year, but I did read Little Boy – the same story but told from the point of view of the chunk of Uranium-235 that went into the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Weird, wonderful, and really affecting.

Gertrude Trevelyan died in the blitz of that war and was long forgotten until now. Her two books from the Recovered Books imprint are both devastating and brilliant marvels of style and substance. Her characters are so deeply realised that I think of them most days since reading about them. She is a revelation, and I can’t wait for more of her books to be found and reissued.

A few more of Simenon’s non-Maigret novels. I love these. They’re so dark, depraved and paranoid.

I think I must’ve read at least a few books where Anthony Powell’s A Dance To The Music of Time is mentioned. I found the first two parts in a charity shop in the summer and devoured them while on holiday in Dorset. As soon as I got back I started ordering them one after the other from my local bookshop. I never thought I’d be into a between-the-wars tale of London high society, but from the viewpoint of narrator Nick Jenkins it’s addictively detailed, peculiar, funny, relatable and heart-breaking. I really do love being in the world of Jenkins, Widmerpool et al. And while you might find yourself 100 pages into an unbroken account of a peculiar incident at a party thinking, “where is this going”, Powell will bring the whole thing to a close with a sentence that reframes the whole thing into a lesson about the human condition. Incredible. I’m halfway through the 12-novel sequence and looking forward to more in 2024.

Whenever Jon McGregor does a blurb on the front of someone else’s book, I’ll read it. I haven’t yet been dissapointed. The Way The Day Breaks is utterly brilliant and real and sad, about a family living with mental illness. After reading this I had to order more from Weatherglass Books, and all of them were fantastic reads – each on very unique and very very my kind of thing. Whether it’s kids seeing angles, a grieving pianist or an artist working as a secretary who goes down a dark road of obsession – each one was addictive and memorable.

Other highlights include Leonard & Hungry Paul (believe the hype – this will change the way you see the world), Joel Lane (somebody adapt him for TV please), David Keenan (back on form with a prequel to This Is Memorial Device), Fernanda Melchor (never going to be not-brilliant) and Benjamin Myers (likewise).


  1. The People Opposite
    Georges Simenon
  2. The Hand
    Georges Simenon
  3. The Snow Was Dirty
    Georges Simenon
  4. Three Bedrooms In Manhatten
    Georges Simenon
  5. Aliss At The Fire
    Jon Fosse
  6. Industry of Magic & Light
    David Keenan
  7. Here Be Icebergs
    Katya Adaui
  8. The Man From London
    Georges Simenon
  9. The Forgery
    Ave Barrera
  10. Byobu
    Ida Vitale
  11. Two Sherpas
    Sebastián Martínez Daniell
  12. Never Did The Fire
    Diamela Eltit
  13. The Trees
    Percival Everett
  14. Dr. No
    Percival Everett
  15. The Twilight World
    Werner Herzog
  16. Of Cattle And Men
    Ana Paula Maia
  17. Fresh Dirt From The Grave
    Giovanna Rivero
  18. Do Start: How to Create & Run a Business (That Doesn't Run You)
    Dan Kiernan
  19. The Way The Day Breaks
    David Roberts
  20. Sleevenotes
    Joe Thompson
  21. Two Thousand Million Man-Power
    Gertrude Trevelyan
  22. Beeswing
    Richard Thompson
  23. A Little Luck
    Claudia Pinero
  24. Cuddy
    Benjamin Myers
  25. Loop
    Brenda Lozano
  26. Fever Dream
    Samantha Schweblin
  27. Cold New Climate
    Isobel Wohl
  28. The Ghost Variations
    Damian Lanigan
  29. The Angels of L19
    Jonathan Walker
  30. Leonard and Hungry Paul
    Rónán Hession
  31. Panenka
    Rónán Hession
  32. The Men
    Sandra Newman
  33. Paradais
    Fernanda Melchor
  34. The Venice Train
    Georges Simenon
  35. How to Be a French Girl
    Rose Cleary
  36. Little Boy
    John Smith
  37. This Is Not Miami
    Fernanda Melchor
  38. A Question of Upbringing
    Anthony Powell
  39. A Buyer's Market
    Anthony Powell
  40. The Acceptance World
    Anthony Powell
  41. William's Wife
    Gertrude Trevelyan
  42. From Blue to Black
    Joel Lane
  43. Scar City
    Joel Lane
  44. The Woman In Me
    Britney Spears
  45. At Lady Molly's
    Anthony Powell
  46. Casanova's Chinese Restaurant
    Anthony Powell
  47. The Kindly Ones
    Anthony Powell
  48. Not A River
    Selva Almada
  49. Mini Movies to Millions
    Daniel Edelstyn

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