Edinburgh's Radical Bookshop

Mairi's favourites 2022


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Yes, it's the time of year when every bookshop in the land tells you about their top reads and why there were no better reads in this particular year. We're no different, but we HAVE made it extra difficult for our booksellers by asking them to choose only three books. These needn't have been published in 2022; they were merely titles that our team picked up at some point in the year and which will stay with them long after the 2023 page has been turned.

The time has come for Mairi's round-up!

It was cruel of Jess to limit the team to just 3 favourites in a year that has seen so many spectacular books come into the world. In protest, and because I couldn't narrow down my non fiction list (which would have included The Nerves & Their Endings, Wander Women, Practice Makes Perfect, The Ethical Stripper, The Right to Sex, This Arab is Queer and Uncommon Wealth, just for starters...) I've picked 3 novels I've loved most recently.

Astrid Parker Doesn't Fail by Ashley Herring Blake is queer rom-com at its best! It's clever, sexy, and actually laugh-out-loud in places, with wicked bi rep that's all too rare. It's free of tortured artificial tension and instead rich in friendships (so. many. queer. characters) and work drama (renovating an old family Inn for a TV show) - delicious. (Picture shows Ashley's first book, set in the same town, same group of friends, also excellent)

Honoree Fanonne Jeffer's Love Songs of W.E.B Du Bois is a door stopper of a book (like 900 pages). What Yaa Gyasi did gorgeously with brevity in Homegoing, Jeffers does the opposite to similar effect here. It's 400 years of North American history that connects generation after generation in the most immersive, captivating way - individual experiences are layered with generational trauma, so that in the minutiae of family and friendship, first loves and broken hearts Jeffers maps America's history of racialised capitalism with all the humanity left in. It's breathtaking.

Finally it was SO hard to choose between Jennifer Egan and Louise Erdrich (The Sentence is a masterpiece) but in the end The Candy House has won out for its twisty plot and the way the characters and stories emerged out of each other like Russian dolls - David Mitchell-esk, if you like his stuff. At the heart of Egan's novel is the idea of downloading or "externalising" memory, into which she weaves the politics of social media and connection in a near future world.

Check out 2022 favourites from the rest of the Lighthouse team: Lindsay, Rachel, Noor, Christina, Nyrema, Trisha and Jess

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