Im about to embark on a masters in creative writing which means that my reading game is very much on the up. Over the last year I have been re-training my brain to read as quickly as possible and it actually works. I would get through one book, maybe two a month before. I can now read a book a week if Im dedicated. So each month I am going to be giving you a review of the books I have read as well as any interesting content, articles, podcast or audiobooks I have been listening to and I would love it if you could also share any recommendations you have with me.
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
I mentioned this in my old blog, but I have now finished the book and watched the film and I can say that Im in love. Set during a long hot summer in Italy, this is the story of a young boy who falls in love with a scholar who comes to stay with his father. A relatable book for all of us who discover what love is and how it can be the most wonderful and most painful experience of your life. This book is really vivid and stays with you for a long time after reading. I also read a very interesting profile piece on the author Andre Aciman in The Sunday Times which I would recommend.
THE BURIED GIANT
I read this wonderful book by nobel prize winning author Kazao Ishiguro on our honeymoon. I had never read any of his work but I had heard amazing things. After a dissapointing rushed purchase at the airport (I cant remember the name of the book, thats how bad it was!) this was a breath of fresh air. A tale of epic proportions set in Saxon Briton, Axel and his wife Beatrice experience a mysterious fog which makes them forget things as they try to find their long lost son. Its a really powerful story which explores how difficult the truth can be, the work needed to sustain marriage and a bit of fantasy dragon action. I would recommend this book if you want to get lost in a new world for a bit.
HOW TO FAIL
I love this podcast, like desert island disks (If you haven’t listened to this yet you MUST) this really highlights the failures people have had in their lives and how it has shaped their life or career. some of my favourites include David Nicholls, author of One Day and Dolly Alderton.
NOTES ON A NERVOUS PLANET
This book is one of the only bits of writing I have read about what it actually feels like to have anxiety. Mat Haig is a fantastic creative writer, he manages to articulate big difficult subjects with ease and this book is so digestable as well as funny and warm. It gives such a great insight into what the modern world does to a human on a basic physiological level and also explores how social media can be a great force for good but can also be very damaging. I loved it and see myself returning to it again and again.
This book by Reni Eddo-Lodge really stopped me in my tracks. I couldn’t believe how little I knew about black history in Britain and it got me pretty angry at our country. This is such an essential read as it really helps to understand what it is to grow up as a black child in Britain today and how much as a white person I didn’t know. It is a tough read but Reni’s writing is fluid and clear and it leaves you with a sense that there is still so much work to be done.
I will be back for a September edition soon and I would love to hear what you have been reading, watching and listening to.