Lusting After

New books I want this week:

  1. ‘On Tyranny’ by Timothy Snyder.  This is published by Vintage, and from 27th March the whole thing will be up on huge posters, made in collaboration with students from Kingston Uni, on Leonard Street in Shoreditch. I love everything about that. I can’t wait to see it, and read it. I’ve been utterly obsessed with politics lately. It seems so fantastical that I’ve not even missed books. It doesn’t seem real. As a result, I’ve found myself reaching for more non-fiction. In a post-truth, fake news era, all I want is facts. Give me history, politics, even geography, science. I want to know and learn as much as possible. This seems like it’ll 100% hit the spot.
  2. ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ by George Saunders. No idea why. People on my Twitter are raving about it.
  3. ‘Difficult Women’ by Roxanne Gay. A book club choice (see previous post. another sassy feminist choice. win).

Reading: An Update

I’ve been rubbish at keeping this blogging thing up, and I feel upset I’ve let it slide (again). I think I’ve been struggling with reading (obsessively reading the news, but no books) and as a result, have felt like I’ve had nothing to blog about.

Anyway, I thought I would catch you up…

Book 7 of 2017: ‘Infernal Devices’ by Philip Reeve. This was everything that I could have wanted from the end to the quartet and it ended on the high I was hoping for. Loved it. Definitely cried at the end.

Book 8 of 2017: ‘The Mothers’ by Brit Bennett. I genuinely felt bereft at the end of this one. I think elements of this struck really close to the bone for me, and I found it genuinely heartbreaking. This was a book club choice. Also loved it.

Book 9 of 2017: ‘The Power’ by Naomi Alderman. Also a book club choice. Our book club doesn’t seem to be able to read anything but feminist books at the moment, which I am usually a-okay with, but recently I’ve been thinking maybe I should break out for some variety since they’d be my picks anyway. However, this concept is brilliant, and I went in with low expectations for this, although I’m not sure why because I thought the concept was great from the outset. I thought it was excellent. Great ideas, great writing. Challenged my thinking in some ways, affirmed them in others. Also loved this.

I’ve read a lot of books I’ve loved lately which has been nice. I’m currently working my way through ‘Moranifesto’ by Caitlin Moran so hopefully more on that later in the week…

Book 6 of 2017: ‘How to Grow a Baby and Push it Out’ by Clemmie Hooper

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I love @mother_of_daughters. I do. I love her so much that I pre-ordered her book despite not only not being pregnant, but also having zero intention of getting that way either.

I am also super interested in pregnancy, labour, birthing, the whole shibang, and have genuinely considered quitting my day job and training to be a midwife. For some reason, I thought it would add more insight into that aspect of things (stupidly). It doesn’t (of course) because it’s almost like a step-by-step guide talking expectant mothers through all of (what I imagine are) the most worrying and difficult stages of being pregnant.

It was super interesting reading, and this is 400% a book that I will get out the second I get two pink lines (whenever that may be), and it’s something that I would absolutely hand out to anyone I know that is pregnant. Considering it’s a pregnancy guide, I think that’s probably the highest praise I could give it.

As Clemmie seems on Instagram, it’s funny, kind and insightful. It’s super relatable, and I can imagine calming. It makes nothing seem too scary or too unachievable. Basically, I still super love Clemmie, and should I ever give birth, I hope I have someone like her (who am I kidding, her) as my midwife.

PS I hope you appreciate the irony that I am posting a pregnancy guide on Valentine’s Day – you’re welcome.

February To Read List

 

Safe to say, I’ve fallen firmly off the blogging wagon in the past few weeks, and actually off  the reading wagon. I haven’t blogged much, and I haven’t read much either. What I have read, I’ll post about later in the week, but, despite being about 2 weeks in already, I thought I would crack out what I’d like to read this month.

  1. The Mothers by Brit Bennett

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The cover for this is gorgeous. It took me ages to realise there was a face in there, and it’s my job to design books. Rookie. It was this month’s book club book, and I really need to get on it. I’ve spoken to a couple of people and they’ve seemed in agreement that whilst it’s nothing groundbreaking, it’s a lovely story. I’ve read the first couple of pages and I’m intrigued so I’d like to finish up that.

2. Orlando by Virginia Woolf

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For a self proclaimed VW fangirl, I feel quite ashamed I haven’t actually read this. Whilst I didn’t put it on my reading resolutions this year, I would really like to get through Ms Woolf’s back catalogue (the shame that there is more than 1!), because the woman is a genius. I’m off to see Woolf Works tomorrow (the Royal Ballet’s ballet based on Mrs Dalloway, Orlando and The Waves) which I am over the moon excited about so I think I may be on a bit of a Virginia Woolf hype-train after that.

3. A Darkling Plain by Philip Reeve

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I’ve been loving this series. I’ve just finished up Infernal Devices and I am stoked to see how it ends.

4. The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

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My boyfriend designed this book. It was Waterstone’s Children’s Book of the Month in January and everyone says it’s brilliant. I’ve had a beautiful proof copy for ages that I never started. What is my problem?! I need to crack on.

5. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

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Similar vibe. The hype train was strong on this one. I borrowed my friend’s copy and I really need to get through it so I can give it back soon… Awkward.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Book 5 of 2017: ‘To-morrow’ by Joseph Conrad

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This was a strange little book – very emotive, a little bit of a rollercoaster. I find that Conrad can be very brutal with his characters, toying with them, and with you as a reader. He makes you fall in love, and then reveals the character as a scoundrel. Your hope is up, and then it’s utterly dashed at the end. Conrad isn’t afraid of an unhappy ending, that’s for sure. I’m left not really sure if I enjoyed this. I feel a bit disconcerted.

This title was one of the Penguin Little Black Classics, which are so cute. I love them. As with many of them, this was more of a short story. I find Conrad quite a task, one that involves a lot of thought and brain power, so I thought this was a good way to go back to reading some of his work, and I’m pleased I did. I’m not sure how long it’ll be until I read another title by him, however, given how long my ‘To Read’ list is at the moment…

Book 2 of 2017: ‘Predator’s Gold’ by Philip Reeve

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I’ve already got a little behind with my blogging because I actually finished this book on 4th January. I’m writing this in hindsight, because I prioritised reading ‘Swing Time’ by Zadie Smith. I needed it read it in time for book club, and it’s big so I felt under pressure, and then I never caught up with my blogging. However…

I loved it, dare I say, potentially even more than Mortal Engines. This book was so delicious to read (‘Swing Time’ may have paled next to the drama of this I now realise…). It builds on everything I loved about the first book and nailed it as a follow up book in a way that not many books manage.

Action-packed is a massive understatement because the character’s move through so many different standpoints and emotions and areas of the world – new, beautiful, totally unchartered areas of the world, from the character’s perspective and mine, post-Mortal Engines. It is a super compelling read. I needed to know what happened, and was only okay with taking breaks because I was exhausted. Things happened that I found unexpected, which I was delighted by. I think it’s really difficult to surprise a reader when a world and all the characters are pretty well-established.

There was also character development which I wasn’t expecting. They did things that felt like curveballs, and watching how they reacted to that was great. It felt very true to life because it’s uncertain how much it’ll affect them. I think it also made them more rounded and filled out as characters, because they were flawed, and they do bad things, but you still like them.

As already stated, I thought this book was heavenly. I’m sort of putting off reading the 3rd and 4th books because I sort of don’t want the series to end… That said, I’m finding it pretty difficult to pick which book to read next, because there are so many that I want to sink my teeth into. Watch this space for a To Read Pile post soon. We’ll see how that goes.

 

Book 4 of 2017: ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ by Paul Kalanithi

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I’ve been a bit nervous about reading this book, because my Grandpa died of lung cancer a couple of months ago, so I was worried that it would strike fairly close to home (which it did, obviously). However, I picked it up on Wednesday night on a whim. I’d wanted to read since I saw it in Waterstones in the middle of last year and I was feeling fairly restless, and the time felt right to open it up.

I’m writing this, but honestly, I don’t have a lot to say. It was brilliant. Probably in the top 10 of books I’ve ever read. It doesn’t feel totally finished, but it’s beautifully written. It encapsulates how I feel about death really well. His treatment of people and life are incredibly inspirational. When I got to the end, I truly felt like I valued life a little more, was able to see the magic a little more, and I think that’ll stay with me for a long time. It genuinely shifted my perspective slightly, or reminded me of where I want it to be, and honestly, I don’t think a book can do more. Heart-wrenching the whole way through, but phenomenal.