25th June 2020

Culture / Charlie Gladstone

Recommendation: 15 Fiction Novels Charlie Gladstone has Read in the Last Year and Loved

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AA list of Good Book recommendations by Charlie Gladstone.

Such A Fun Age by Kiely Reid. When a young woman is arrested for being with a child she is babysitting it sets off an explosive series of events. A simple/complex story and elegant commentary on race, guilt. friendship and love. It’s been a huge hit and deservedly so.
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson. I’ll read this again one day; it’s that good. A young girl becomes a nanny to a schoolfriend’s two stepchildren. The problem is that the children catch fire when they become angry. Wonderful, funny, eloquent, profound.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. The appalling consequences of a wrongful conviction of a young African-American man. This asks difficult questions with verve and sparkle. A blockbuster hit and worthy of your attention.

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. Possibly my favourite book of the last year. A brilliant modern American take on a marriage falling apart; richly funny, absurd, profound and surprising.

The Dakota Winters by Tom Barbash. I loved this. What would happen if you lived in the Dakota Building with John Lennon and befriended him? The Winter family did and this is what happened. It’s bonkers.
You Will Be Safe Here by Damian Barr. A novel set in 1901 at the height of the Boer War about family, war, friendship, cruelty and redemption. Every character will etch its way into your memory.
Kudos by Rachel Cusk. The third part of a loosely interconnected trilogy (but this stands up by itself). An uninterrupted conversation; unusual and original and beautifully written.
In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne. A brilliant debut about life on an estate in London. A group of friends move through life one hot summer. Moving, educational, captivating, warm.
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. Deeply funny, eccentric and unexpected. A Japanese bestseller.
Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin. This short novel is an unexpected joy; it’s translated from Korean and lingers on a few relationships in a Korean city one winter. It’s at once simple, strange, highly memorable and literary. I can’t see it being a best seller but it’s definitely a gem.
The Order of the Day by Eric Vuillard. Translated from French, this is a short book that paints a vivid historical picture of Europe’s descent into war by combining meticulously researched history with imagined details and conversations. I think it’s a masterpiece.
A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I don’t often reread books but I wasn’t mad on this the first time and people kept telling me I’d like it. So I read it again and I loved it. It’s a hilarious tale of an ageing rock star/record exec and his long-suffering assistant. It’s great.
The Year of The Monkey by Patti Smith. This isn’t really a novel but neither is it all factual; it’s a sort of fever dream of memories about a short period in Smith’s life and I loved it (though not quite a much as Kids).

Grief is the Thing With Feathers by Max Porter. Everyone should read this if only because it’s so incredibly original. A strange, spooky but sentimental bird helps two young boys come to terms with the death of their mother. It’s short and absolutely wonderful.

French Exit by Patrick deWitt. A family consisting of an aged New York socialite, her son who suffers from arrested development and their cat Small Frank relocate to Paris where things start to go completely bonkers. The funniest, most eccentric literary novel I’ve read for ages.

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Charlie Gladstone and his wife Caroline, are the founders of The Good Life Society (The Good Life Experience, Camp Glen Dye, Camp Hawarden and Some Good Ideas), Pedlars, Hawarden Estate Farm Shops, Glen Dye Cabins & Cottages, The Glynne Arms and more. Throughout all their businesses, Charlie champions integrity and sustainability.

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