The Priory of the Orange Tree, Samantha Shannon

It is no secret that I love my fantasy. I cut my reading teeth on fantasy – thank you Tolkien and Eddings and so many others! I love the way that the freedom of a fantasy world can throw a light into the contemporary. I love the sheer fun and spectacle that can come with…

The Pisces, Melissa Broder

Why is it that the words of female sexuality – and of female anatomy – are either rendered taboo or fetishised in our society ? Vagina. Clitoris. Vulva. Menstruation. Compared to “cock”, there is a different quality in these words. A frisson of shock and challenge. And that is a frisson which Broder does not…

The Rosie Result, Graeme Simsion

I’m not a person with autism any more than I’m a person with lesbianism. I’m lesbian. I’m autistic. When I get a cold, I have a cold; I’m a person with a cold and I want to get rid of it. Medical help appreciated. But being autistic and lesbian—that’s who I am, and I’m not interested in anyone trying to cure me of who I am.

Circe, Madeline Miller

Divine days fall like water from a cataract, and I had not learned yet the mortal trick of counting them.

My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite

Next up, from the Women’s Prize Longlist came Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, the Serial Killer, an interesting parallel to Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater. It is an intriguing little novel – a mere 240 pages, for those for whom that is relevant, not much more than a day or weekend’s read – and remarkably effective in the…

Spring, Ali Smith

Look what arrived this week: an ARC of Spring, the third in Ali Smith’s gorgeous Seasons Tetralogy, following Autumn and Winter. Autumn being hailed as the first post-Brexit novel – and it is so much more transformative and lyrical and funny and tragic than that! – the timing of this novel’s release at the end…

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 18!

Returning to this Book Challenge – I fear optimistically as the prospect of returning to work looms! – we meet Day 18 and A book you like by an author no longer living. Now, as I’ve said before, I’ve had to read widely and enjoyed a huge variety of books written by people who have…

The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker

The Greek epics seem to have had a resurgence – dare one say a renaissance? – or a reimagining recently. On my to-be-read list are Stephen Fry’s Mythos and Heroes, Madeline Miller’s Circe, and Song of Achilles and now this by Pat Barker. I don’t know what the appeal is of these narratives, nor why they are…

Normal People, Sally Rooney

Normal People. Are people normal? I don’t think so. I think we are weird and strange and contradictory and self-contradictory and life primarily in delusions and bubbles of pretense and make-believe. But maybe that’s me! “Normal” seems like a slur… So the point is, I’m not entirely sure what drew me to this book: it…