Good Morning and welcome tomThe Bookwormery. Today I am lucky enough to be sharing a GUEST post from Billy Moran. He is the author of Dont Worry, Everything Is Going To Be Amazing…..
Here he shares his 10 Amazing Lockdown Reads…….enjoy!
10 Amazing Lockdown Reads, My Books of 2020
Wow. What a horrible year. Let’s face it, if life in the UK peaked at the London Olympics in 2012, it’s been a bit of a slippery slide ever since. Life seems very ‘divided’ these days. We hoped, as Prof. Brian Cox and his pals once sang, that things could only get better, but 2020 has brought suffering not experienced on a mass scale in this country since World War 2. And on a surface level it hasn’t been a great one for me personally either.
However, I’m an optimist – I think good times are on their way, and, I’ve always believed that when times are bad, art is good. And I honestly think 2020 has been a real corker for new books (especially that Don’t Worry, Everything Is Going To Be Amazing J, that’s great that is!). Here are the ones that have helped me get through lockdown – maybe give one of them a try if you get a vouchers for Christmas…and let’s face it, this year you probably will! Billy.
Flake by Matthew Dooley
I loved this brilliantly British graphic tale of Howard and his ice cream wars – love the expressions on the faces. Also my publisher is called Howard – so that’s bonus points.
A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin
Rebus is my No.1 go-to character in fiction. Autumn has not been complete for a long time without a Rebus. In truth the last few – since the arrival on the scene of Malcolm Fox – have been a little disappointing, but I can’t see a day when I will pass up on a Rebus, and this was certainly my favourite for a few years, with John’s troubled relationship with his semi-estranged daughter at the heart of things, and the great man as busy as ever deliberately irritating most of those who cross his path.
Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith
This is meaty. When you’ve finished it, you can use it to hold doors ajar – or perhaps to keep them shut and stop certain activists from coming to get you for the heinous crime of reading a book. Normally I have a limited capacity for weighty tomes. 500 pages is about the limit of my attention span. But occasionally they are worth it. The Strike novels work because they are novels. The characters are as important as the crimes – Strike and Robin’s relationship is one of my favourites in modern fiction – and the things the books says about life, are as important as the whodunnit/howdunnit/whydunnit elements. The brilliant writing in this one kept me going all the way to the end.
Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
One of the highlights of the year for me as a debut novelist was reading Rosamund Lupton’s review of my book. In turn, Three Hours was a truly gripping read, perhaps her best yet. Curl up with it on Boxing Day!
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
A dark, distressing, but stunning read.
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
This is a pretty extraordinary book – but not for the faint-hearted. Not sure how many readers really care about the Booker, but I can’t help having a peak at award nominees each year, and I’ve got to say that after Girl, Woman, Other last year which I loved, nothing on this year’s list really grabbed me apart from this one. I have some kind of unbreakable link with Scottish fiction – from Ian Rankin to Irvine Welsh, Gail Honeyman to William Boyd, pretty much all my favorite writers come from north of the border. My dad was born in Aberdeen, so it must be something in my genes! The above writers all base themselves in Edinburgh, but Shuggie requires a quick trip along the M8 to gritty Glasgow.
Harry’s Kebabs by DJ Dribbler
Published in 2019, but not noticed by anyone until 2020, DJ Dribbler’s naïve, naughty and utterly authentic romp through the lives of some morally sound 90s London scammers, was right up my street. It had all the irreverence, characterisation and colourful inventiveness of Irvine Welsh, but with a ring of truth that can only come from personal experiences. A lot of people will struggle with this book if judged in all the ways books are ‘supposed’ to be – it’s clearly self-published and there are a lot of typos, but I’d take that over most of the over-edited fiction that mainstream publishing houses serve up. Bad writing can’t afford mistakes – but I’ve seen mistakes in Booker Prize winners too. What really matters is connecting with your reader, and this book offered that to me in spades.
Midnight Library by Matt Haig
I love Matt Haig – The Humans in particular was a big influence on me as a writer. I love the fact that he always heads into a book with a big concept, but page to page, they remain really authentic, touching and real in the way they explore how we feel and live our lives. A new Matt Haig is always a highlight.
Real Life by Brandon Taylor
I’ve read a few campus novels in my time and this probably wasn’t one of my absolute faves. But it’s so relevant to the big theme of the year other than the Coronavirus – the movement towards greater racial equality – that it just squeaked onto the list!
Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
And finally…I haven’t read this one yet! But I loved the book/audio-book/movie of Ready Player One, so I’m officially excited about tucking into it during that weird period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve (or the next lockdown!).
Here is a bit about Billy Moran and Don’t Worry Everything Is Going To Be Amazing….
DON’T WORRY, EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE AMAZING…
Chris Pringle: simpleton, casualty or local hero?
Propped up by biscuits, benefits and a baffling faith in his plan, he lives in a world where every day is obsessively the same: wedged in his recliner, watching murder mysteries, taking notes. Until the day a serious and peculiar crime stumps the local police – and Chris announces he can solve it.
Accompanied by a loyal crew of chancers, committed to making amends, and pursued by a depressed Detective Inspector, trying to join the dots, Chris heads back to the raves of his past, where a heartbreaking personal tragedy lies abandoned. But what exactly is Chris Pringle looking for? Has he really worked out the way to find it? And what will happen if he does?
A quirky, nostalgic, heart-warming mystery for fans of Gail Honeyman, Agatha Christie, Jennifer Egan, Ian Rankin, Matt Haig, Irvine Welsh, Ben Aaronovitch, Dave Eggers, Jon Niven, John Kennedy Toole, Belinda Bauer and Harland Miller.
ABOUT BILLY MORAN
Billy Moran is an award-winning television writer for shows including Horrible Histories. He grew up in the West Country, where his teenage years were rudely interrupted by the Second Summer of Love. Since then he has been embracing mysteries, craving solutions and writing lots of lists. He lives in London and has two children, two cats, one football team and several favourite detectives. Don’t Worry, Everything Is Going To Be Amazing is his debut novel.
‘Zany, energetic and completely original!’
★★★★★ ROSAMUND LUPTON (AUTHOR, THREE HOURS)
‘An absolute blast – a riveting mystery that will satisfy any crime buff.’
★★★★★ JAMES NALLY (AUTHOR, THE PC DONAL LYNCH THRILLERS)
‘A murder mystery full of surprises and revelations – it made me laugh, it moved me, and I enjoyed every single page.’
★★★★★ BOOK AFTER BOOK BLOG
‘Forrest Gump meets Columbo at a rave. Moving, laugh-out-loud funny and truly original – I was completely hooked.’
★★★★★ MARK DIACONO (AUTHOR, A TASTE OF THE UNEXPECTED)
‘Will have readers reaching for their glowsticks and magnifying glasses.’
★★★★★ THE SHEFFIELD STAR
‘Fills in the missing link – most entertainingly – between Poirot’s little grey cells and the battered brain chemistry of an ex-raver.’
★★★★★ LUDOVIC HUNTER TILNEY (PRESS CLUB ARTS REVIEWER OF THE YEAR)
‘Edgy, buzzing and pulsing with life.’
★★★★★ PIERS TORDAY (AUTHOR, THE LAST WILD)
‘A unique story full of intrigue, mystery and suspense, as heartwarming as it is hilarious.’
★★★★★ CAL TURNER BOOK REVIEWS BLOG
★★★★★ THE DIVINE WRITE BOOK BLOG
‘A rollercoaster of buried memories and emotions, all wrapped up in a gripping detective thriller – I loved it.’
★★★★★ GAVIN WATSON (AUTHOR, RAVING ’89)
‘Simply the best book I’ve ever read about what rave was really like.’
★★★★★TJ, PHUTURE ASSASSINS (FUTURE SOUND)
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