This week on Bookshelfie, host Vick Hope is joined by writer, academic and author Kiley Reid. Kiley stopped by to tell us the five books that have influenced both her writing career and her personal relationship with reading and writing.

From a book about going to bed, to a novel that questions our relationship with work, Kiley’s choices spark a brilliant conversation about books, life and everything in between.

The Factory

by Hiroko Oyamada

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It is a fantastic novel and I enjoy any book that can correctly portray work life culture, and also like anyone who does the real and surreal at the same time really well. I was so fortunate to interview Hiroko Yamada about her book. And she talks about how she was a temp and she started writing this book while she was temping and how the day’s monotony was just so intense that it felt like, ‘Wait, am I here? Have I always been here?’

The Walmart Book of the Dead

by Lucy Biederman

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I’m not a huge poetry person. But this book really, really captured me to just live by the side of my bed. And I would read a spell before I went to sleep. It’s beautiful. It’s about money and buying things and desire and pettiness. And I love reading about normal people just making their way through the world and figuring out what makes them so extraordinary. It’s a beautiful book.

The Bluest Eye

by Toni Morrison

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It haunted me. It was both good and bad. I listened to it when I was nursing sometimes middle of the night. And I would go back to bed and I truly could not sleep because her voice was in my head. It might be a perfect book. It’s so incredible.


by Elif Batuman

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It is such a clever, wonderful book about the musings of a young person, as she’s growing up in college. I like a lot of plot. And I wouldn’t say this book has a tonne, and it doesn’t matter, I could stay in this person’s head forever. There are pages where she just has musings of music. And there’s now songs that I can’t listen to the same way, again, without thinking of the book.

Sleepy Time

by Gyo Fujikawa

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I want my daugther to just be filled with ideas right now. And not anyone telling her what she shouldn’t shouldn’t do. Fujikawa books are so beautifully drawn, but they’re also like a bit of a fever dream, there’s not a clear through line. It’s just hey, this is what we do when we go to bed. Oh, look, there’s a horse that’s also going to bed and some animals sleep in the day. Isn’t that crazy? The end, and I really love that frenetic, but calm energy, we have three of her books, my daughter is obsessed with all of them.