Obviously a highlight of 2015 was moving to England and starting at Turnaround – hooray! Another big moment was breaking free from my undergrad reading list, which rather usefully featured eleventh-century Old English and an astonishing three appearances of the intensely shoddy Moll Flanders. Emerging from this overly academic state into literary freedom was a joy, and arriving at Turnaround nicely facilitated me getting stuck into some bloody great reads. Here’s my pick of the best, and you can look out for selections from the whole marketing team everyday this week. Do note we’ve decided to do you all a favour and not bang on about Ferrante for once, even though we’d all undoubtedly have her on this list, and on any list about books ever.
Francis Plug by Paul Ewen (Galley Beggar Press, 9781910296431)
I was told at my Welcome-to-the-Company lunch that I had to read Francis Plug. Having spent my fair share of time loafing around the Dublin literary scene via internships and an English degree that demanded a whopping four class hours a week from me, Francis’ blundering adventures through wine-stocked bookshops felt very familiar. I’ve never laughed so frequently at a book, and it was very cool to make pushing this unique little novel onto anyone who would listen my actual job. I think the paperback launch with Paul in Waterstones Piccadilly may have been my first London book event, too, and seeing him become Francis on-stage (stage here meaning an oversized coffee table) was perfect. I also must say this is the best book jacket on anything I’ve read this year, and though I read it six months ago it was not until just now writing this that I realised it was made up of punctuation marks.
Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire by Greg Rucka, Marco Checchetto & Angel Unzueta (Marvel, 9780785197812)
Being a Star Wars dweeb who grew up far, far away from any sniff of a comic shop or a well-stocked Sci-Fi section, I had long settled in my ways of endless rewatches of the six films as my method of worship – until Shattered Empire. I can’t remember when I read through something with a similar kind of eagerness; the later Twilight books as a budding teen, maybe? Following the old gang and some new recruits as they split off throughout the galaxy was extremely fun, and I’m loving going back over all the plotlines ahead of the midnight screening on Wednesday.
Love and Rockets: Maggie the Mechanic by Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics, 9781560977841)
I saw some marketing materials for the new edition of Gilbert Hernandez’s Girl Crazy floating around the office and the artwork immediately grabbed my attention – my one true goal in life is to have intimidatingly muscular arms. While there are some beautifully ripped wrestlers in Jaime’s Locas stories, the real draw for me once I started reading them was the totally universal struggles the more moderately drawn Maggie and Hopey face, even if they’re banked in outlandish atmospheres. It was a revelation to be reading an arc about Maggie’s weight and money struggles to then flip over to visit Penny Century’s labyrinthine mansion and her obsession with becoming a superhero.