July/August/September 2019 Reads
It’s a bumper post of best books – not just the past two months, but the past three. And I tell you, I’ve read a LOT these past few months, and it wasn’t easy to pick the best. But I’ve tried to narrow it down, and by total coincidence we have another all-female line-up! (To be fair, two of the books are by male/female writing teams.)
Read on for the 16 best books I’ve read recently:
Take It Back, Kia Abdullah – Utterly addictive, confronting and complex. Without a doubt one of my crime books of the year.
What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky, Lesley Nneka Arimah – I read this while staying at novelist (and all-round incredible babe) Lisa O’Donnell’s house; as soon as I saw that compelling title on her shelves, I knew I had to read it. After every story in this collection I had to put the book down and take a moment to process what I’d just read; each story is that strong and affecting.
The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel, Margaret Atwood & Renée Nault – I read this novel several years ago and I’ve also seen the TV adaptation, so I wanted to revisit the story. This graphic novel adaptation is a must-have: the artwork is beautiful and Atwood’s words are perfectly chosen. I was struck wordless several times while reading.
Insomnia, Marina Benjamin – A slim, stunning meditation on sleep (and lack of) and its meaning. Best read in those inevitable hours when it feels like all the world is dreaming except for you.
Man Eaters #1, Chelsea Cain & Kate Niemczyk –Teenage girls who become violent, uncontrollable big cats when their periods come? YES PLEASE. I love this comic book series and can’t wait for the next one.
The Fire Starters, Jan Carson – You know sometimes you finish a book and just think: WOW? The sort of book that casts a shivering, glittering spell over you? The sort you feel right in your bones? The sort you’re so consumed by that you literally can’t look away in the last chapters? This is that book.
Help Wanted, Richie Tankersley Cusick – I’ve read about 40 Point Horror books in the past few years for the podcast I co-host, Teenage Scream; but this is the first time a Point Horror has made it into a blog post! This one deserves it, though: it’s a fun thriller, and can be read alternatively as Patriarchy: The Novel.
Bury the Lede, Gaby Dunn & Claire Roe – Lovely artwork and colours, a diverse cast of characters, a complex and difficult heroine, and great LGBT and POC representation – I loved this.
This Is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone – You might not think you need a queer epistolary spec-fic novella about two characters called Red and Blue time-travelling and falling into doomed love. But trust me, you need this book in your life.
Moominland Midwinter, Tove Jansson – I’m just back from a fortnight’s writing residency in Sysmä, a small town in Finland, where I wild-swam in a lake, had nightly saunas, wrote 14,000 words on my novel-in-progress, and spent a few dreamy hours reading this book while a thunderstorm raged outside. And then I found out that Jansson wrote this book as a metaphor for her accepting her queer sexuality, and I loved it even more.
Catching Teller Crow, Ambelin & Ezekiel Kwaymullina – You might see the slim size of this book, or that it’s shelved in the children’s section, and think it’s lightweight. But it’s one of the most complex, affecting and intense books I’ve read in a while. I wish it was many times the length – not because it needs it, but because I want to spend longer in this world and learn more about the history and present of aboriginal people in Australia.
Ghost Wall, Sarah Moss – Wow. Just wow. I read this book in one sitting as I couldn’t tear myself away from it.
Bone China, Laura Purcell – I loved Purcell’s first novel, The Silent Companions, and didn’t think this could possibly be as tense or as creepy. Well, it is, with added watery atmosphere; and that’s all I’ll say as I don’t want to spoil the mystery. It’s horrible and I love it.
WITCH, Rebecca Tamás – One of my books of the year, without doubt. I read it over many months as I wanted to savour each poem. I wish I could tattoo it on my heart.
Sheets, Brenna Thummler – A super-cute graphic novel with gorgeous artwork and an uplifting message.
The Turn of the Key, Ruth Ware – The setting of a high-tech house in the Scottish countryside fits the themes of the book perfectly. This was a thoroughly addictive book and I read it over two nights.
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What are the best books you’ve read recently?