Candide by Voltaire
Penguin Popular Classic, 2001 (first published 1759)
‘It is demonstrable’, Pangloss would say, ‘that things cannot be other than they are. For, since everything is made for a purpose, everything must be for the best possible purpose. Noses, you observe, were made to support spectacles: consequently, we have spectacles. Legs, it is plain, were created to wear breeches, and are supplied with them. Stone was made to be quarried, and built into castles: that is why his lordship has such a fine castle – for the greatest baron in the province must also of necessity be the best housed. Pigs were made to be eaten: so we eat pork all the year round. It follows that those who say that everything is good are talking foolishly: what they should say is that everything is for the best.
Oh My God, What A Complete Aisling – The Novel by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen
Gill Books, 2017
I was not in the mood to be sharing the lift with happy partygoers. Probably going to spend the night off their heads on bang-bangs or yippers or whatever keeps them up until 11 a.m. the next morning talking shite. I heard some of Majella’s neighbours one time I stayed over, talking absolute nonsense in their garden at six in the morning about giant squirrels. You wouldn’t catch me at that.
Stay With Me by Ayòbámi Adébáyò
I turned to look Akin in the eyes, hoping that somehow he was not part of the ambush. His gaze held mine in a silent plea. My already-stiff smile slipped. Rage closed its flaming hands around my heart. There was a pounding in my head, right between my eyes.
Wonder by RJ Palacio
Corgi (Penguin Random House), 2014
I know I’m not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. I mean, sure, I do ordinary things. I eat ice cream. I ride my bike. I play ball. I have an XBox. Stuff like that makes me ordinary I guess. And I feel ordinary. Inside. But I know ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. I know ordinary kids don’t get stared at wherever they go.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
He won’t know it then, but years later, he will be grateful that Malcolm has prepared for his future, even when he hadn’t wanted to … that Malcolm won the fight about the grab bars around the toilet. He’ll feel a sort of bitter wonderment that yet another person in his life – Andy, Willem, Richard, and now Malcolm – had foreseen his future, and knew how inevitable it was.
I went on a pretty epic trip in October that involved Croatia, Czech Republic and Israel. Being a nerd, I checked out the following bookshops. (Sadly the only one I found in Split, Croatia was closed.)
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Penguin Books, 1993