I’ve spent a lot of time this year moving about from place to place and I really started to lose the value of just losing myself in a good book. As I mentioned back in May, when I’m going through a period of sad, I either block the world out completely with books or I won’t touch them.
This time around it was the latter, which is hard enough to try and wrap my head around. When books are something I look to for comfort, not being able to pick them up for fear of what might trigger an unexpected bout of emotions is upsetting in itself. When you add to this mix that reading is part of my job, this can make the clean break even harder. So I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few months just reading for work and otherwise taking a bit of a break. When you compare that I read 1-2 books a month between February and May and then in the last two months I’ve since read 10 books, you can see the significant difference it makes.
The book that really kickstarted this for me was the bricks that built the houses by Kate Tempest. This author is an absolute lyrical genius, having never read/ watched/ listened to any of her poetry before, I was taken by this book and the characters within it.
This then spiralled and I’ve since been buying books left, right and centre to try and emulate that same feeling. Hoping for another literary high. Which leads me to some of the books below that I’m going to talk about first.
I picked up The Power and Hot Milk on a recommendation from the excellent staff at Tottenham Court Road Waterstones after saying to them that I wanted to revisit the same kind of literature as Kate Tempest and Rupi Kaur’s milk and honey. Immediately I was recommended these two books and, having heard a lot about Alderman’s Bailey’s Prize winner, I trusted that the bookseller wouldn’t steer me wrong.
I was right to believe this. Alderman’s dystopian, futuristic, magical realism is just the kind of trip the world needs in really visualising what the world might be like if gender roles were reversed and we lived in a matriarchal society. It’s a brilliant combination of gendered commentary mixed with the raw visual rhetoric that made me believe this is an alternate future with possible truths (sadly without the gnarly electro-powers).
Whereas Hot Milk is what I’ve described to several people as ‘existential literature’. It’s deep and provocative with some really harsh truths about self-belief and the will to be selfish. Elements of this narrative reminded me of the obsessive nature in What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell and I recommend this book to everyone endlessly.
The final book is a collection of poetry by Amanda Lovelace, the princess saves herself in this one. Amanda has gone through tremendous strife in her young life so far and she taps into this fully in her poetry but her love of literature also shines through. I bought this book off the back of Rupi Kaur and I’m discovering that Andrew McMeel publishing have a strong poetry game.
Having finished the above books I have since collected another set to make my way through between now and my trip to Florida, a reasonable goal alongside about 8 books for work. I’ve been meaning to read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood for AGES and with the release of the TV show, I decided I needed to get a move on.
Similar to Lovelace’s poetry, I picked up Neon Soul at the same time and I was utterly in love with this cover (AMP have a strong simple brand for their poetry) so I’m truly excited to see what lies ahead with this collection.And the final book I’m stoked to be picking up is FEN. I saw a few tweets here and there when FEN came out in first format but never really saw what it was about. When I took the time to read the blurb, I was pleasantly surprised to see it was a collection of harrowing magical short stories, another genre I’m delving more into now.
Updates on the last three books will be to come but I’m intrigued to hear about what everyone else is reading at the moment? Tweet me @HowlingReviews with recs and your TBR!