The Reading List #17
I completely lost track of time this weekend and didn’t post this on Saturday. I had a lovely relaxing weekend full of food and laziness, and it was fabulous! Anyway, here is the latest instalment of my reading list…
One Foot Wrong, Sofie Laguna
This is such a unique novel. As I read so much, and so widely, and studied literature at university, it’s very rare that I find a book that doesn’t at all remind me of anything else. This, however, filled that gap. It is told through the perspective of an 18 year-old girl who has a very limited vocabulary and a mind underdeveloped for her age. When Hester enters mainstream schooling, she begins to learn new things, and that there are certain things she cannot tell her parents. One huge secret grows throughout the novel until she makes a break for freedom.
The voice of the novel was well-crafted, and sustained brilliantly, which is something that can be very difficult to get right. It’s really quite eerie, as you begin to realise the things Hester is describing, ad that feeling of being trapped inside her mind can be quite uncomfortable. It is well worth a read, I was impressed.
Waiting for Summer, Anna-Maria Athanasiou *
Sylvie has it all, until her life is turned upside down by one discovery. Rather than feeling sorry for herself, she decides to take control of her new life, and this is the focus of the story. The new beginnings follow through in both her professional and personal life, and it’s a fun, uplifting tale.
I’m in two minds about this novel. What I was unsure about was the language in the direct speech of conversations – it felt quite stilted, as if it was trying to sound relaxed and colloquial and not quite achieving it. However, if I set that aside, the novel as a whole was well written, and had a nice style that made it a relaxing read but without being too ‘trashy’. The character of Sylvie is an interesting one, and it’s a lovely story of hope and new beginnings.
Passing, Nella Larsen
This was recommended to me so many times during my degree, as it related well to certain modules I studied. I finally got round to reading it, and I’m glad I did. Set in the 1920s, Irene is leading a happy life until a chance encounter with her childhood friend, Clare, who has been ‘passing for white’, married to her racist husband. ‘Passing’ is and was such an interesting concept, and one worth exploring if you know little about it.
It’s a short novel, but incredibly powerful. It covers race, gender, marriage and society, and some moments are so shocking. It really depicts a moment in time, and is deserving of its quiet cult status.
The Real Me is Thin, or Why all Women Think They’re Fat, Arabella Weir
This is the story of Arabella’s life, told through her relationship with food. It is told in a humorous tone, but there’s a power behind it which is quite hard-hitting. She builds up a rounded picture of her development into the woman she is now, and of her complex relationship with food.
This is a funny read, and entertaining, but there are also a lot of important messages, and moments that make you question your own self-image and thoughts in food. It’s a bit hard to understand how a book about eating could be ‘powerful and entertaining’, but it is!
So there you go! What have you been reading recently?
*PR copy, sent for review consideration