#2019RoundUp: Favourite Books (So Far!)

Wednesday, 26 June 2019


Oh, it has been a long six months. Six months of bleugh, six months of eh.
Six months of hey-wait-a-minute-you're-actually-bloody-brilliant.
It almost seems that, through the trials and tribulations of books that were overwhelmingly just not up to par, the rare quality and occurrence of truly amazing books only succeeded in making me appreciate them more when they did appear.
Allowed me to separate the wheat from the chaff, the luminous prose from the bog-standard, the life-altering from the just-another-day-at-the-office.
And, is that not why I do this? Trolling near-continuously through just-okay to find the books that will make me pause and think, this - THIS! - right here is what a book is meant to be. And, by god, I thought just that with all of these.


It's Not About the Burqa
A truly wonderful collection of essays that begins to peel back the layers of the expanse of Muslim female identities; rumination on faith, sexuality, marriage, feminism and race creates a chorus of previously-ignored voices that will continue to echo even when you turn the last page and reluctantly  step away from it.

Saltwater*
A startling and utterly dazzling debut. Through a series of memory-fragment vignettes, Jessica Andrews manages to effortlessly and evocatively give voice to the messiness, confusion and sometimes absolute chaos, of our teenage and early young adult years. A book that most female millennials growing up in Britain, will find themselves in, no matter how disparate their experiences.

Less
Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer and honestly, there is no wonder. Playful, rollicking, sly, observant; it is a much-needed expansion and elevation of the archetypal road-trip novel into one that traverses the globe. Through the travels, its rumination on ageing, gay identity, love, failure, success make Arthur Less, if not a truly loveable character, one that we will all find ourselves in.

#FashionVictim*
I have honestly never read anything like this. Through the juxtaposition of the endless-glamour of the fashion magazine industry and scenes of spine-tingling gore, Amina Akhtar has managed to create something utterly unique; a novel that pushes the boundaries, though just a little, to examine what people would do for their ambitions, if they only had the chance.

Diary of a Drag Queen*
Part-autobiography, part rumination on queer identity, consent, racism, homophobia, heteronormativity and hyper-masculinity, Crystal Rasmussen’s Diary of a Drag Queen is a hilarious, honest, hugely educational book that will offer a shoulder and a cocktail to anyone who ever feels too-much, too-different. Here are your people.

Where the Crawdads Sing*
This novel falls into the category of books that are so often my favourite: ones that are so evocative of their atmosphere, that you can legitimately feel the heat and the humidity of those endlessly hot summer days rolling off of them. An evocative, startling story of loss, loneliness, survival, love and the natural world, everyone is guaranteed to leave its pages with a new appreciation of the marsh.

The Western Wind*
Set in the 15th-century, it is a thought-provoking look at the intricate complexities of small-town, medieval life through its subtle mystery genre-tilt. In it, nothing is fast-moving, page-turning; instead, the backdrop allows for a quiet examination of the nature of secrets and confession. Told backwards, the relationships of the town become more entwined and confused, and it begs the question: who are you supposed to turn to with your own worries, when the space you are given is to only be privy to those of others?

This Brutal House*
A visceral, raw, unflinching look at marginalisation, poverty, found families and community in the drag ball scene of the 80s. Its glory, though we often look back on it with fondness and wistful yearning, is emphasised in all of its complexity; its beautiful, hateful realities - and the lives that were found, that were lost, within it.


Head on over to http://bit.ly/2y7JSWV for all of these books, as well as all of the others featured in my reviews, complete with the added bonuses of free worldwide shipping and bringing a little joy to my life.

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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