January 2020 reads

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January was a pretty busy month; I started a new role at the Bath Magazine (I’m interning there one day a week) and had to learn to balance that with my part-time job and writing a 5000-word deadline. But it has been a brilliant month in terms of books. I read a lot, but it is rare that they stand out as much as A Ladder to the Sky and Girl, Woman, Other did this month – both two of the best books I’ve read in months. Anyway, I really want to keep track of the books I read, and I get asked a lot about what I’ve read and enjoyed recently so I thought I would start doing a monthly post to keep track:

Me in Agatha Christie’s writing room

Five Little Pigs

Agatha Christie is my guilty pleasure and it is always a great day when I find a new book of hers I haven’t read. I picked this one up on a visit to Agatha’s house, Greenway in Devon. I know I am a certified old lady but if you haven’t been already I would definitely recommend it!

I read Five Little Pigs curled on a sofa in Dartmouth very full with Christmas chocolate.  The sea visible from the window and the fire was flickering, I think Agatha would have approved.

A Ladder to the Sky

I couldn’t put this book down. A slow start but once you’re over the first part this book does not let up, I had to finish it. This is one of the only books I have ever sacrificed feeling (very) car sick to read.

A Ladder to the Sky follows Maurice Swift, an aspiring writer who will do anything to get his fame. We follow Maurice in four different chapters of his life, each getting more dark and more unsettling as we watch Maurice leer his next victim, powerless to do anything but shout at the pages. It is dark, powerful and all consuming. I cannot recommend it enough!

Miss Austen, Gill Hornby

I was really lucky to attend a talk by Gill Hornby about her most recent book. The talk itself was incredibly interesting, her writing process and inspiration.

Miss Austen is a book for diehard Austen fans. Hornby has cleverly replicated Jane’s own style of writing, interweaving her letters and also some of her brother’s (awful) poetry so well it is hard to tell when Jane stops and Gill begins.

Although Miss Austen isn’t a book I would usually pick up, I do fully appreciate the care taken make it true to Jane Austen’s writing.end Miss Austen

Girl, Woman, Other

I fell in love with this book. Full on, head over heels in love.  It is the first book I’ve read that follows a more experimental writing style and it has got me craving more. Bernardine’s use of poetry-prose fusion enables this book to flow beautiful and convey the lives of the 12 women. The experimental style of writing helps bring these women alive. Transforming them from characters on a page to real people who’s subconscious flows and mirrors our own..

There have only been a few books that have made me feel the way Girl, Woman, Other did. Only a very few that I have taken much longer than normal to read, because I am savouring every sentence. 

This is a brilliant feminist piece which explores the lives of women (bar one) throughout Britain. Girl, Woman, Other explores so much, race, domestic abuse, sexuality, without ever feeling forced overcrowded. Instead, it truly feels like a look at us all, all the women, girls and others. All the characters and their tales are interconnected, allowing you to truly see every side of the story. ‘Fuck Face’ the dinosaur of a teacher for LaTisha, is actually Shirley, the hardworking daughter of immigrants who dreams of transforming lives – oh and is the best friend of Amma, the playwright we meet in chapter one.

I can’t wait for her next book, and whilst I do I’m going to keep rereading Girl, Woman, Other. 

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