Tuesday, 6 July 2021

My Year Of Reading 2021 - April to June

So in my last post (which was a whole three months ago - I'm a terrible blogger) I talked about how ice challenged myself to read only books by authors from non-white backgrounds this year, in an effort to widen my understanding and perspective. Here's an update on the books I've been reading since then. It's been a tricky few months so my motivation for reading has been low, but I've kept trying.

'The Confessions of Frannie Langton' by Sara Collins

I mentioned last time that I was almost finished with this book but not quite. I also mentioned it was a slow burner, which is part of the reason I hadn't finished it sooner. Parts of the novel were really interesting and gripping, other times I would put it down and not really feel motivated to pick it up again for a few days. It was very cleverly written though, and gave me some insight into the treatment of slaves in the Caribbean and of black people in Britain in the nineteenth century. It was maybe just too dark for my tastes, as it tells the story of a black servant (formerly a slave and the lines are very blurred) who is on trial for the murder of the couple she worked for in London.

'This Lovely City' by Louise Hare

I really loved this one. Set in London in the postwar era, it is primarily a love story between Jamaican immigrant Lawrie and mixed-race Londoner Evie. It is darker than I'd expected though, as much of the plot revolves around an apparent child murder (slight spoiler there but it happens early on so I'm surprised there is no mention of it in the blurb, especially given the sensitive subject matter). It is very gently handled though, and isn't dwelt on to a distressing degree. There are lots of twists in the story and I really engaged with the two main characters, it's definitely a book I would reread.

'We, The Survivors' by Tash Aw

I spotted this in our local little free library and thought it sounded interesting so picked it up. Unfortunately after two books that could be quite bleak at times, a story about a murderer from a Malaysian fishing village is possibly not what I needed. That said, it did give me an insight into a society and culture I knew very little about, and addressed issues around the treatment and exploitation of immigrant workers very well. The murder isn't dwelt on hugely, but the thing I struggled most with was how slowly and ponderously the story was told. There were also some points in the plot which were left unresolved which confused me a little. This book will definitely be someone's cup of tea, just not mine.

'Stronger' by Poorna Bell

This was won in a giveaway and I confess I thought it would be about mental strength. It's not. It's about physical strength, fitness, body image and everything related to that area. Mental health does come into it but only in relation to how exercise benefits it. It was definitely an interesting read, especially in its exploration of how race and colour affects attitudes to women in fitness, but I may write a longer blog post about it at some point as it gave me Many Thoughts which I don't have time to go into here. A good read for anyone interested in physical fitness in women and girls.

'Homegoing' by Yaa Gyasi

Another one that's not quite finished, this time because the last two books took me longer than I'd hoped. I'm looking forward to doing a proper write up of this one though because it's a good one!

This time around I've started to widen my reading to include a more diverse range of authors and genres, but once again I'd love to hear any recommendations you have!