Novel of 2017
Stephen Florida by Gabe Habash. I pretty much inhaled this book. I physically could not put it down. I carried it off the train and walked with it open in my hands to the tube, and read it on the platform, and then again squashed between people at rush hour, and then on the escalator up the stairs to the office, then in the lift, and all the way to my desk. It is a masterpiece, and everyone should read it.
Novel (all time)
Major thanks goes to the Professor in my Images of Africa course at University, because had Every Day is for the Thief by Teju Cole not been on the syllabus, I might never have discovered my favourite novel. I read it in three hours, lying on my bed. The fact that I finished it is a feat in itself considering that I “skim” read a lot of the course material during my University years…! When a tone of voice is so clear and vivid to you, you know that the author has done their job, and Teju Cole did a brilliant one here, and I’ve been hooked on his work ever since.
What Were They Like by Denise Levertov. This poem is powerful in a delicate and subtle way. I remember reading it during my GCSEs and it’s stayed with me ever since. A close second is dream where every black person is standing by the ocean by Danez Smith. Just read it, and you’ll understand.
Every time I get asked this question my answer changes. That being said, I get goose bumps whenever I hear ‘Nessun Dorma’ sung by Andrea Bocelli. Every. Single. Time. Then it’s a triple second place between ‘Röyksopp Forever’ by Röyksopp, ‘Swallowed In the Sea’ by Coldplay and ‘No One Knows Me Like the Piano’ by Sampha (who by the way I once saw in Liverpool Street Station, wheeling his scooter to his train platform – fun fact). Mostly if a song has strings of some sort (violin, cello), then I’m into it.
Well. The Grand Budapest Hotel (dir. Wes Anderson) is my all-time favourite. There is nothing about it that I don’t like. After watching it I became a big Wes Anderson fan too (follow this Instagram account: @accidentallywesanderson). His aesthetics, colour schemes and humour are right up my street, and it’s also my favourite performance by Ralph Fiennes (don’t get him confused with the explorer – think he-who-shall-not-be-named!). Then my ultimate binge-watch is Pride and Prejudice. No, (controversially) not the BBC TV version, the Keira Knightly, Matthew Macfayden version. I watch it whenever I’m cooking or baking, or need a period drama to watch and can’t find anything else worthy, and I’m not sorry.
The West Wing (created by Aaron Sorkin). I’ve seen the whole series twice already and I’m currently watching it again. It will never ever get old. Fun fact (yes, even more fun than the first one) – the first time I watched an episode of it was in my A-Level Politics class…
Novel of 2018 so far…
This one is easy. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. I don’t think I have ever read a 500-page book that fast in my entire life. If I’d not started it in the late afternoon, I would have finished it there and then. Books like this remind me that I should never pigeonhole my tastes so quickly. I’d never considered myself a big fan of crime until I read Helen Fields and Susie Steiner, and I’d never thought I’d like Agatha Christie-esque whodunnit mysteries until this book. It is an extraordinarily executed novel, that is well-written and quite literally impossible to put down. If you’re scared about the size of it, get the eBook!
Favourite thing about working at The Borough Press
The books are great but the team makes it for me. It’s great to get a job doing something you love, but if you don’t get on well or even work well with the people in your team, it can affect everything. Sharing the same taste in music, or having the same kind of humour, or just being able to send memes or hilarious Twitter threads to each other is underrated but invaluable when working in a team. Being the greenest (in terms of editorial experience) member of the team, I’m incredibly eager to learn everything and anything at every opportunity, and my team are very receptive to that which I am really grateful for. Essentially, if you don’t work at The Borough Press, you’re doing it wrong.
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