Amy's Book Club: Amanda's top reads

As much as I love reading, it can get a bit lonely. After days of being holed up reading an addictive new novel (I don't get out much, no judgement), it's a bit of an anti-climax to turn the last page, read the acknowledgements and realise it's all over. I usually have so many questions, questions my cat, while of above-average intelligence, can't answer for me. We are all too busy and accomplished to host book clubs in real life, so I thought I'd start an online one, where we can benefit from the reading lists of amazing women all around the world. 

My first guest is Amanda. I adore Amanda because she is a wide, eclectic reader, who always has a suggestion or three up her sleeve. She is smart and strong, so you won't find any half-baked, boring reads in here. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I've been an avid reader since the age of 9, when I would borrow my mom's Mary Higgins Clarks from her book club. I also adored Nancy Drew and speculative YA fiction. If I did well at school, my reward was a visit to the bookstore! Eventually this love of words and stories led to my career in advertising.

What kind of stories do you gravitate towards?  

I have eclectic taste. Story is the key word. Plot, character development and originality are more important to me than genre. Hence I'll be reading a psychological thriller one week, science fiction the next, and a modern literature novel after that!

Is there a book you push into other people’s hands, saying ‘you must read this’?

Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy is required reading in my opinion. I tend to suggest different books for different people based on their tastes and personality. I've recommended "The Martian" (by Andy Weir) a lot this year, because I think it's universally enjoyable.

What were your favourite read of 2015? 

"The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August" (by Claire North) is still my frontrunner. Followed closely by "A Little Life" (by Hanya Yanahihara), "Circling The Sun" (by Paula McLain) and "I Am Pilgrim (by Terry Hayes). 

What books are you eyeing for the December holidays? 

I've been saving "The Red Rising Trilogy". I might also read "As If! The Oral History of Clueless".

We love a bit of feminism here at Bookish. Do you have any recommended reading, either on feminism or books with revolutionary characters? 

I read Seveneves a few months ago, which had an underlying feminist motif that I enjoyed. Otherwise anything by Margaret Atwood, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Caitlin Moran is brilliant.

7. Who is your favourite South African author and why? 

I must confess I'm not a massive reader of local authors. I gravitate more towards other African authors. That said, I really enjoyed Lauren Beukes when she wrote South African stories.

8. Have you ever judged someone based on what was on their bookshelf, and why? 

All the time, ha ha! Although it's not judging so much as making an assessment of their personality and interests.

9. Finally, could you share one of your favourite literary quotes with us? 

"There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice." - F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

How did you like Amanda's selection? Let me know if you go for any of her suggestions!