Once again, it has been a while since I have posted. I have been v.busy but lucky for you, I’ve also been reading. Here is a round up of the latest books I recommend getting on your bookshelf. Stat.
Find my other book review posts here, here, here and here.
Under the Udala trees by Chinelo Okparanta
I picked up this book from the Gay’s the word bookshop which is an absolute treasure trove of queer literature. The story follows Ijeoma who grows up in Nigeria (at the time of the Nigerian war) whilst dealing with being gay. At times, this book is painful to read because of the harrowing realisation that Ijeoma’s experiences are true of many real women living in Nigeria and other non-progressive countries. In Nigeria, homosexuality was made illegal in 2014, punishable by stoning. Despite the tragedy the novel manages to be beautiful and also, hopeful. Trigger warnings – Intense homophobia, religious trauma, and marital rape.
Coasting by Elise Downing
This book was such a joy to read and the author is instantly likeable. I love reading books about people who do things they never thought possible and Elise did exactly that when she ran the entire coast of Britain. Some reviewers have said that the book is repetitive but I didn’t find it to be. It’s almost like a teenage version of The Salt Path. For anyone who dreams of a big adventure, I think you’ll really enjoy Coasting. I am going to a book event where Elise will be speaking at the end of November and I’m really looking forward to it.
How to kill your family by Bella Mackie
This was a great book, packed to bursting with seriously dark humour. The story follows Grace who spends the book killing her family. It shouldn’t be a fun book to read, but it is (and particularly fun to read when in close proximity to your own family). I thought the writing was witty and kept me gripped throughout. I listened to some of this one on Audible and the narration was excellent too. For a first fiction novel, Mackie is really impressive. If you like Killing Eve, you’ll like this book.
Magpie by Elizabeth Day
I loooooved this book and mostly because I didn’t expect the twist (which I won’t spoil but it’s a good one). It is so cleverly written as you’re left sitting on the edge of your seat wondering who’s telling the truth. There is heaps of tension and threat and an overarching sense that something is not quite right – these kind of books are my favourite. The author has previously honestly reflected on her fertility journey. Her personal experiences are clearly infused within this story, so reading about the whole subject felt real and heart breaking.
Fault lines by Emily Itami
Emily Itami’s Fault Lines does not disappoint, it is a beautiful book. The lead character, Mizuki offers a witty introspective which is what makes this novel so wonderfully engaging. I loved the sense of place in the novel and it has made me even more pining for a trip to Tokyo. It is a wonderfully written book that explores what it is to find exactly what you want in life and to sacrifice it. This is the debut novel by Itami and I will now happily read anything she writes, including her shopping list.
500 miles from you by Jenny Colgan
It wouldn’t be a book round up of mine without some much needed fluff. Once again, Jenny Colgan delivers. I picked up this book from the library and read it in a couple of days. Two medical professionals from two very different worlds switch jobs and become pen pals. Colgan writes her characters so well and is a master and interweaving multiple story lines whilst slowly bringing them together towards the conclusion. Whilst her stories will never be anything too thought provoking they are like a warm hug and sometimes that is exactly what you need. A perfect holiday book.
How the one armed sister sweeps the house by Cherie Jones
This is a heart breaking story about the death of a child, domestic abuse, colonisation, and the interconnected experiences of a grandmother, mother, and child, both as individuals and their role in their family. The sense of place and character were created perfectly by the author and I really enjoyed the multiple narratives – each person has an important story to tell. There are a lot of trigger warnings for this book – incest, rape, physical abuse, infanticide, murder. The content is fast paced and can leave you feeling breathless. It is hard to read but also hard to stop reading.
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummings
This is a powerful book in every way. I was recommended it by my Mum and girlfriend and I couldn’t put it down. I would go as far as to say it is now firmly one of my favourite books. People often ask why immigrants cross the United States border illegally and Cummins attempts to answer why. Once I started the book, I was pulled right into the story, and had to read to find out what happens to Lydia Perez and her son Luca. The novel really got me thinking and if I had to recommend one of the books from this list it would be American Dirt.