I love to read, and at the beginning of this year I started using Goodreads to keep track of my reading progress. I’m not sure if this has caused me to read more, or if it’s just the fact I’m keeping track of them for the first time – but I’ve made my way through 53 books already this year. Here are some of my favourites…
Endless Skies by Jane Cable
I loved each of Jane Cable’s previous books, so I preordered this one. It arrived on my Kindle on a Monday morning, and by Thursday lunchtime I was finished. (To put this into perspective: I still have a book I’ve been reading for 24 years on my shelf. I am not a fast reader!) It’s billed as romantic fiction, which is not something I would normally go for if I’m honest – but I really love this author’s work.
Click to buy Endless Skies
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
If this book is not already on your radar/in your TBR pile – seriously, where have you been?! On the surface, it’s about a young woman navigating her life and relationships – but really it’s so much more than this. It touches on race and mental health issues in subtle yet brilliant ways and is a real page turner. Another book I finished really quickly; it’s just so good I couldn’t bear to put it down!
Click to buy Queenie
I Am Not Your Baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite
The cover of this book says it’s about what it’s like to be a black British mother – and it is… but it’s also so much more than that. It’s about what it’s like to be black, and also what it’s like to be a mother- a real mother, not the polished version we see on Instagram with a shiny bob haircut and a stripy t shirt (I stole that from the book and it’s so true isn’t it!) It’s Brathwaite’s own story, but tied in with facts and figures and historical notes that make it so much more than “just” a memoir. I loved it.
Click to buy I Am Not Your Baby Mother
Natives by Akala
After George Floyd was murdered, I realised I knew woefully little about the history of black people either here or in the US. When I realised Akala had written a book about his own experience and that of black people in the UK, I decided to give it a go. And oh my word, was it ever an education. It’s one of those books you read with Google open next to you. Akala references so many things I had been blissfully unaware of – as well as recounting his own experiences as a mixed race male growing up in London. A brilliant book that should be read by everyone.
Click to buy Natives
Take my Hand by Kerry Fisher and Pat Sowa
I am a massive fan of Kerry Fisher’s fiction, but this is nonfiction – which can sometimes be a bit hit and miss… this one is definitely a hit. Kerry and her friend Pat take it in turns to tell the story of the period when both of their teenage sons were diagnosed with life threatening illnesses. It is heartbreaking but also strangely life affirming. Their friendship and dark humour are a shining light through the worst thing imaginable, and the result is a book that is incredibly honest, uplifting and useful – it contains lots of advice for people who find themselves in a similar position.
Click to buy Take my Hand
How to Fail by Elizabeth Day
I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Day’s podcast How to Fail With Elizabeth Day (check out my recent post listing some favourite podcasts). This book is like an extension of the podcast. Day is a journalist, and an excellent writer; each chapter of this book reads like a magazine article about the main topic, pulling in her own personal experience as well as quotes from people who have been on her podcast. The premise of the book (and the podcast) is that failure is something to be celebrated and learned from – and the result is a level of honesty and vulnerability we don’t often see these days. Well worth a read.
Click to buy How to Fail
One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days by Giles Paley-Phillips
This is one of those books that just has an energy about it, a feeling I can’t put into words. It’s about a teenage boy whose mother is terminally ill, but he can’t visit her because he’s recovering from pneumonia. It’s the story of him coming to terms with this situation and navigating a quite isolated and lonely life. Which sounds miserable but really it’s not. I’m not anywhere near as good a writer as Giles Paley-Phillips so I can’t explain why, but it’s quite comforting and uplifting despite the external elements of the story being quite sad.
Click to buy One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days
Calypso by David Sedaris
There are no words for how much I love the work of David Sedaris. In my eyes, he is a genius, and this book only cemented that view. Sedaris managed to observe the world around him, to pass judgements on friends, family and strangers alike – but without seeming judgemental or unkind. He also reveals his own shortcomings and weirdness without flinching. Honestly, I could read this book again and again and would heartily recommend it to anyone and everyone.
Click to buy Calypso
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