One of the things that's happened in the past few years that I am so amazed by and grateful for, is that I have befriended a lot of wonderfully creative humans. Some came into my life while I was at uni, some have appeared since then. All these friends have in some way brought magic to me, and this magic takes many different forms; a bed for the night (steady on), cocktails, writing dates, deep chats, a snazzy new cafe...and books.
I have friends who are always recommending books, others who will lend me books, and then a select few will write their own books. This Recent Reads post will celebrate these bookish friends who have in some way got me reading all these titles!
Rooftoppers, by Katherine Rundell.
The book was lent to me by the mighty and excellent Louise Jones; I felt honoured to be trusted with this precious signed copy, and the whole time I was reading it I wouldn't take it anywhere in my handbag lest I risk it getting scuffed or marked. Turns out I needn't have worried, because I left it safely at home on my bed and the bloody cat sat on it, creasing the cover ever so slightly...obvs. Luckily I was forgiven.
It was utterly incredible. It was like nothing I'd ever read before; words were carefully put together and worked in the most wonderful way, characters were so beautiful and genuine I felt their presence in the room and them peering over my shoulder as I read. The events that made up the story were beyond any kind of reality, but I wanted so much to believe them because they were perfect. Katherine Rundell is an enormously awesome writer, and I now cannot wait to read her other novels.
Affliction, by Kasim.
I met this dude at YALC 2016; he was doing his obligatory manning of the front desk, diligently policing the distribution of freebies, and thus had nowhere to run when I approached and trapped him in conversation for a good long hour. Also at the time he was interning at Faber. He now works in the formidable Waterstones Birmingham. Oh, and he has a book out...no big deal.
'Affliction' is the story of Scar and her issues with herself, her friends, her boyfriend and her body...that's me trying to summarise the plot without giving too much away while at the same time desperately wanting to say more and give y'all an idea of just how ingenious and unusual – unusually ingenious/ingeniously unusual – it is. Just read it, guys. Buy the book and read it. Then maybe you'll understand how hard it is to explain it.
One thing I will say is the whole time reading it, this supernatural novella written in first person from a woman's perspective, not once did I hear my friend's voice. And that was great. That's how you know it's well written.
My Name is Girl: An Illustrated Guide to the Female Mind, by Nina Cosford.
Okay, so Nina is not my friend. I know, I know. Don't rub it in. However, she does live in Hastings, so we're basically family right?!
'My Name is Girl' was witty, hilarious, and creative af. The illustrations perfectly encapsulated the mad mess of thoughts that run through my head almost daily, and have ever since I became a woman...and some were in there before, too.
Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne.
I have read this book before, early last year after reading 'The Manifesto on How to be Interesting' and falling hard for Holly's writing style and general power with words. It has taken pride of place within my rainbow ever since – and now it's come back onto my radar because my little sis asked to borrow it recently and has since been reminding me how awesome and important it is.
When your little sis snapchats you with some of the key messages in AM I NORMAL YET? and you feel so proud your heart bursts. 💛 pic.twitter.com/y7j2RAaQsu— Grace Latter (@_gracelatter) November 18, 2016
It's so lovely and funny watching my sis first experiencing the feminist wonders of the Spinster Club, when I have just said my goodbyes to it, having just read...
...And A Happy New Year? by Holly Bourne.
The finale of the Spinster Club series was the best possible ending; problems, conflicts, romances and resolutions all crammed into a teeny novella that I read in one day, on two train journeys in and out of London.
Lottie's trouble with her flatmates at uni was almost uncomfortably close to home; Amber's careful secret keeping hurt quite a bit but I understood her struggle; Evie, as always, had me itching to hug her throughout the book. I will miss these girls, but cannot wait to see who Holly brings into readers' lives next.
So those are just a few of my most recent reads, that came into my life via friends, and you all should read these immediately and, if possible, befriend every person I have mentioned in this post. Right. Go go go!