These right here are the most recent additions to my monstrous terrifying TBR pile. I just can't get enough, it seems...each book is special to me for different reasons. The funny thing is, I sought them all out myself. As in, they weren't just automatically sent to me by a publishing house. I was offered two by friends, and accepted excitedly. Another I email-requested all by myself, and the other two I bought the old-fashioned way from a bookshop.
Needlework, by Deidre Sullivan (@propermiss).
Ces, a troubled teen girl, longs to be a tattoo artist someday, to 'embroider skin with beautiful images'. Thus she is intensely fascinated by all things artistic, by the history of tattoos and by bodies. The book is written in first person, it's her inner monologue describing her actions and feelings that are attached to various things. This flawless prose is broken up periodically with italicised rolling thoughts, some are musings on her interests and historical facts (e.g. Karo women and the importance of bearing scars in their culture, sailors and the significance of each of their tatts) and some her innermost forbidden excitements.
Here's my favourite one of those so far...
'Anything can grow from people's skin. You can slice out squares of skin to form a mosaic or a tree. Spines become trellises for ivy, stars appear to litter someone's arms. Your ribcage can become a net that heaves with freshly caught fish, open-eyed and gasping.'
When everyone would see my dreadful photos of my To Be Read piles, they'd all suggest which novels to read next – and this was the most recommended one. 90 pages in, I can see why.
I am well and truly drinking it all in. My first reaction was 'oh, shitting hell, whoa'. This book is all kinds of beautiful, if messy and scarring...but messy and scarring in the best possible way.
'The Time In Between: A Memoir of Hunger and Hope', Nancy Tucker.
Nancy Tucker has been the most brave a person can be and written a memoir about her time with eating disorders (anorexia nervosa & bulimia nervosa). How she always wanted nothing more than to be thin.
The story follows her through her time battling these disorders, and it is told with a dose of dark humour and an astonishing insight that only someone who has suffered with these awful things can truly provide.
I have actually liked the sound of this book since Leena was vlogging about it way back when it was first released last year. I'm so grateful to gorgeous Stevie for sending it my way during her final few weeks at Icon Books!
'Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery', Henry Marsh (@DrHenryMarsh).
What's it like to be a brain surgeon? One of this country's leading neurosurgeons knows, and he wants to tell us. In this shocking non-fiction Henry, an actual neurosurgeon, gives us the most intimate insights into his experiences in his insanely high-pressure profession.
'If you believe that brain surgery is a precise and exquisite craft, practised by calm and detached surgeons, this gripping, brutally honest account will make you think again. With astonishing compassion and candour, one of the country's leading neurosurgeons reveals the fierce joy of operating, the profoundly moving triumphs, the harrowing disasters, the haunting regrets and the moments of black humour that characterise a brain surgeon's life.' (Goodreads)
It's taken a very, very long time, but...I am finally ready to read this. For the past two years when really I've had every reason to pick this book up, a vested interest if you will, I just haven't. I haven't been able to – it seems too scary. I've also avoided documentaries and radio programmes about this subject. Now, though, I can do it. And I'm excited to learn.
'Eat, Sweat, Play' Anna Kessel (@Anna_Kessel).
Anna Kessel is a sports writer and has taken it upon herself (and gosh, we are most grateful that she has!) to explore and discuss sport and exercise for women. It's become trendy and more of a done thing in recent years, which is fab, but then there are still countless obstacles and restrictions in sport for women. Why?
This was sent to me by Leena, who has been raving about this book online. I was intrigued when I read her Instagram post that said 'I learned a lot and honestly I feel like this book gave me my body back...I owe this author my body'. I am all for body pride and body positivity and body education. I'm not a sporty girl, but I don't think that will matter reading this. Maybe it'll convert me...?!
'Moranifesto', Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran).
The latest Moran release is the most fantastical (but in no way fantasy, oh no!) set of musings and movements that should lead us to a lovely revolution, all in good time...
Caitlin Moran is firm in her belief that if each human on this planet worked together, and if we all just came up with one idea that could help the state of our community, country or planet, we could make everything right. She also takes the opportunity to look at some concepts and phenomenons and make her comments on them.
Caitlin has started up a YouTube channel to accompany this new book, and on this channel she treats us to readings of excerpts – all done in one take, I believe!
I highly recommend this, the letter she wrote for teenage girls (I wept when I heard this live), and this, her thoughts on themonumental issue of the camel toe.
It's no secret that Caitlin is my absolute hero. She has featured in my blog posts numerous times. I see her as a figure of the highest authority already and now she's written this new non-fiction book, I can legitimately call her my chosen leader and/or goddess. She gets my vote.
Oh, I also finally met her recently. After her amazing gig of sorts at the Southbank Centre on International Women's Day. I gushed all over her in every sense of the word, thanked her profusely for all the help she's given me (via Twitter mostly), got my ancient dog-eared copy of How To Be A Woman signed and when she hugged me for the third time I left a bright red lippy kiss on her glorious muppet face. I peaked, right there and then. I'll never do better than that. Ever, in life.