May-June 2021 Reads
Well, pals, it’s been a great few months of reading. I’ve spent several long afternoons lying out in the shade of my back garden, getting lost in books. And summer is just beginning, so I’m hoping for many more days like that. My top 8 of May and June covers novels, non-fiction, poetry, graphic novels:
Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks – I bought this years ago as research for a novel I planned to write about medieval witches in a post-plague landscape. The novel is finished and edited, and I only now got around to reading this book. I shouldn’t have waited so long, because it’s a real beauty.
The Crossroads at Midnight, Abby Howard – The stories are compelling and genuinely creepy. The panels are clean and uncluttered, but still contain masses of detail about the characters and their world. There’s great diversity in the characters in terms of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, economic background and age, but this is never signposted; it’s just an organic part of the story, which is great. Horror can definitely do with more diversity. I really can’t fault this book – it’s my favourite horror graphic novel since Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods.
All the Things She Said: Everything I Know About Modern Lesbian and Bi Culture, Daisy Jones – A fun, quick read touching on several aspects of modern queer women’s culture.
The Plot, Jean Hanff Korelitz – A pacy, keeps-you-guessing thriller set in the world of books and writing. Other reviewers have said that the beginning is slow, and it is compared to the rest, but I still enjoyed it – mostly because Korelitz is so scathingly accurate about the life of a midlist writer, and that stuff is catnip for me. If you’ve been looking for a fun, smart, absorbing thriller, this is certainly worth a read.
Laziness Does Not Exist, Devon Price – A genuinely life-changing book. I’m going to re-read this every year – hell, every month – until all its wisdom seeps properly into my brain. This is a must-read for every overachiever who can’t shake the feeling that their worth is tied to their productivity.
Grimoire, Robin Robertson – The best poetry collection I’ve read in years. Themes of violence, madness and retribution; stories of second sight, witches, ghosts, selkies, changelings and doubles. I adored every page.
Tales of the Mist – Laura Suárez – So much to enjoy here! I loved the art style, and there’s a great slow-build sense of unease.
Absorbed, Kylie Whitehead – You might think this concept – a woman absorbs her boyfriend – can’t be sustained for a whole novel, but I was delighted to find that Kylie Whitehead entirely pulls it off. This novel is unique, beautifully written and… yes, absorbing.
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What are the best books you’ve read recently?