Book to the Future: 2010s
Pick up your South West Reading Passport 2016: Book to the Future from your local library, read through the decades and win prizes from now until March 2017. Find out more on our Book to the Future blog post.
There are more suggestions in your passport, as well as on the South West Reading Passport website, but we’ve gathered a selection of books to get you started, either set in, or published in, the 2010s. You can also download a reading list here: 2010s
Sunjeev Sahota Year of the Runaways Three young men live in a house in Sheffield, each in flight from India and in desperate search of a new life. Tochi, a former rickshaw driver, will say nothing about his past in Bihar and Avtar has a secret that binds him to protect the chaotic Randeep. Randeep, in turn, has a visa-wife in a flat on the other side of town: a clever, devout woman whose cupboards are full of her husband’s clothes – in case the immigration men surprise her with a call. She is Narinder, and her story is the most surprising of them all.
Ben Aaronovitch Rivers of London ‘My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just a probationary constable in the Metropolitan Police Service. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England.’
Deborah Levy Swimming Home ‘Swimming Home’ is a subversive page-turner, a merciless gaze at the insidious harm that depression can have on apparently stable, well-turned-out people. Set in a summer villa, the story is tautly structured, taking place over a week in which a group of beautiful, flawed tourists in the French Riviera come loose at the seams.
Ruth Ozeki A Tale for the Time Being Ruth discovers a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the shore of her beach home. Within it lies a diary that expresses the hopes and dreams of a young girl. She suspects it might have arrived on a drift of debris from the 2011 tsunami. With every turn of the page, she is sucked deeper into an enchanting mystery.
Ali Smith There but for the Imagine you have a dinner party and a friend of a friend brings a stranger to your house as his guest. He seems pleasant enough. Imagine that this stranger goes upstairs halfway through the dinner party and locks himself in one of your bedrooms and won’t come out. Imagine you can’t move him for days, weeks, months. If ever.
Peter Frankopan The Silk Roads: a new history of the world A major reassessment of world history, ‘The Silk Roads’ is an important account of the forces that have shaped the global economy and the political renaissance in the re-emerging east
Jasper Fforde The Eyre Affair Literary detective Thursday Next is pursuing the world’s most evil man, who has kidnapped Jane Eyre in a display of literary vandalism. She must also assist her time-travelling father, marry the man she loves and discover the truth about bananas.
Zadie Smith NW Following the lives of four different people living in North-West London and shifting through several different styles and forms to convey the polyphonic multi-culturalism of modern Britain. The lives of it’s four main characters intersect across time and place with Zadie Smith’s trademark ear of dialogue and literary impishness.
Jenny Offill Dept. of Speculation Fragmentary first-person narrative tracing a post-millenial marriage in all its difficulty
Nell Zink The Wallcreeper Another 21st century marriage deconstructed. This one is a bit more out-of-the-ordinary (birdwatching, dupstep and anal sex, all before lunchtime). Full of important ideas and fizzing with imagination.
Lars Iyer Spurious A novel about how philosophy functions and why it matters in the new millenium. Somehow manages to be laugh-out-loud funny and deadly serious in one breath, in a manner rarely seen since Samuel Beckett.
General Sir Richard Shirreff 2017: War With Russia Psuedo-documentary novel based on the author’s predictions of how war with Russia could erupt. Following the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russian president ‘Vladimir Vladimirovich’ decides to bring the Baltic states back within Russia by ground invasion.
A L Kennedy Serious Sweet Set in 2014, this is a novel of our times. Poignant, deeply funny, and beautifully written, Serious Sweet is about two decent, damaged people trying to make moral choices in an immoral world: ready to sacrifice what’s left of themselves for honesty, and for a chance at tenderness. As Jon and Meg navigate the sweet and serious heart of London – passing through 24 hours that will change them both for ever – they tell a very unusual, unbearably moving love story. (Longlisted for Man Booker 2016)