A Man in Love (Book 2 in My Struggle) by Karl Ove Knausgaard (novel, audiobook)
Book 1 hooked me with its obsession with death, particularly the death of a father, and the brutal honesty (or the convincing facsimile of brutal honesty) of being a writer.
Book 2, as the title suggests, is more concerned with romance and what comes on its heels (in Knausgaard's eyes: the emasculating labour of the modern father), and the challenges of balancing family and writing, doled out with equal depth and brutality. So, again, it spoke to me. Structurally, it's interesting to consume as a 21+ hour audiobook, as there's only very subtle cues that we're shifting scenes (there's a lot of nesting and un-nesting) or gears - but it worked for me.
Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke (short stories, audiobook)
I love short stories, but I keep finding myself struggling to get through a whole story collection in audiobook form.
Individually, Clarke's stories were all interesting and well-crafted (though a couple of the endings felt abrupt) and, importantly, sufficiently different from each other (there's a host of different settings and set-ups), while being held together by central concerns about identity and belonging - particularly as a minority (including one story about a white Australian hair-dresser who moves to East Africa).
So it must be the form (audiobooks) and the way I've been trained to immerse in 20-hour narratives that means story collections keep knocking me off balance in unsatisfying ways.
(There's something similar to be said for watching TV series vs discrete films: why invest anything in these characters that'll only be round another 90 minutes?)
Things are still getting back to normal at the Cliff household after my wife went onto shift work with uncertain hours and days for an undefined duration. My 5am starts have been rare, and those I have mustered have ended before 6am thanks to my son waking.
I have now signed off on the final proofs of NAILING DOWN THE SAINT, so that sucker is off to the printers. In stores: 6 August.
The non-fiction music book I pitched before Xmas didn't get picked up, so I'm mentally promiscuous at the moment, waiting for the right ideas to collide and let me know what I'll be doing in early mornings and my days off for the next four years.
The Bad Seed - Season 1
I Think You Should Leave - Season 1
Peaky Blinders - Season 1
Game of Thrones - Season 3 and Season 8 eps 1-3 (and Talk The Thrones following each ep)