In brief: Solo; The Forger's Daughter; Little Weirds – reviews

Hephzibah Anderson
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Linda Nylind/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Linda Nylind/The Guardian

Solo: How to Work Alone (and Not Lose Your Mind)
Rebecca Seal

Souvenir, £14.99, pp304

Could there be a more apt moment for a book about working on your own? The former Observer journalist Rebecca Seal is a long-term “soloist” who knows all about the glories and gut-churning grind of self-employment. Deep-diving into productivity literature, economics and social sciences, as well as hard-won experience, she’s crafted a primer that covers topics from resilience and focus to procrastination and the curse of comparison. It contrives to be kind, realistic and genuinely helpful, all without lapsing into business speak and psychobabble. Install a copy on whatever surface is functioning as your desk, and you may even feel a little bit less alone.

The Forger’s Daughter
Bradford Morrow

Grove Press, £12.99, pp288

According to Bradford Morrow, literary forgers are coy about their craft, preferring to think of it as creative endeavour rather than crime. His hero, Will, is just such a man – or he used to be, until he got caught. Now, decades later, a villainous character from his past has materialised, demanding that Will create a copy of the rarest book in American literature, Edgar Allan Poe’s Tamerlane and Other Poems. The novel flits evocatively from upstate New York farmhouses to Manhattan auction houses, and there’s an aptly gothic tinge to the tense drama that ensues.

Little Weirds
Jenny Slate

Fleet, £9.99, pp240

The actor and comedian Jenny Slate works hard at being weird in her debut essay collection. Must we really think of her as a homemade croissant, oozing “antique decadence” and made up of “layers and layers of fragility and richness”? Peel away the artifice, and she turns out to be rather like the rest of us, albeit with the volume turned way up. She’s a gardener, a dog-lover, and “very divorced”. She gets stage fright still. And, when she stops trying quite so strenuously, she becomes a writer of tender, zestful prose.

To order Solo: How to Work Alone (and Not Lose Your Mind), The Forger’s Daughter or Little Weirds go to guardianbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply