Hello, how are you? I’m really enjoying that the sun has come out for spring, even if I am writing this whilst sat in a cafe wearing a hat and scarf for comfort (I would appreciate it if the sun made it warm as well as sunny, but I guess we can’t have it all). Luckily I have a few books to keep me warm (emotionally… they’re not that great as blankets). I’m reading a variety of genres at the moment: graphic novels, YA, poetry and literary fiction. I’ve also joined a bookclub for the first time. Plus, as I was writing this blog post in a café a doggo came and sat next to me so obviously I’ve had to include a few pictures of him for fun. You’re welcome!
Heartstopper Vol. 1 by Alice Osman
Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love.
I had heard so many good things about Heartstopper on Twitter that I was extremely happy to get my hands on a copy around Valentine’s Day. This queer love story perfectly encapsulates all the teenage angst and suspense that comes along with your first romances and friendship drama at school. The double-edged pairings of happiness and painful confusion about friendship, crushes and sexuality are beautifully explored. I cringed inwardly so much at its accuracies. Also, it is laugh-out-loud funny. Alice Osman is incredibly talented and I’m already looking forward to Volume 2. I also love how there are continuations of the story on Tumblr because the ending of Volume 1 definitely leaves you wanting more from these characters.
Jackfruit and Blue Ginger by Sasha Gill
I’ve been waiting for years to find a cookbook with good Japanese vegetarian recipes in it and so I was pretty chuffed when one of my favourite vegan Instagrammers announced that she was writing a cookbook. Jackfruit and Blue Ginger by Sasha Gill (@thesashadiaries on Instagram) is full of vegan recipes from Japanese, Singaporean, Chinese cuisine, and more.
It’s fantastic to find a whole bank of these recipes that are tried and tested because adapting recipes by yourself takes quite a bit of time. I really appreciate the inspiration that Sasha gives me! I actually haven’t been to a Japanese supermarket (or cooked Japanese food) in far too long but as soon as I do stock up on supplies, I am cooking all. of. the. things! Watch this space.
Unquiet Women by Max Adams
This book was a birthday present and look how stunning it is! I absolutely love foil on covers but Unquiet Women is particularly special looking. I cannot wait to sink my teeth into this. Exploring the period between the ending of the Roman Empire to the Enlightenment, Max Adams has set out to overturn the notion that women were queens, nuns or invisible to society. So, nope, it’s not just a pretty cover!
Having studied a lot of literature from this period, I can confirm that women were more or less always portrayed as crying for one reason or another. Heck, I once wrote a whole essay about medieval women’s tears. So I am extremely happy that this book exists! Who doesn’t love reading about the amazing achievements of cool and wacky women from the past who are finally getting the acknowledgements in history books that they deserve? From Gulfrid the Icelandic explorer to legendary spiritual icon, Margery Kempe, there are endless eccentric tales between these pages. It’s a shame that Adams doesn’t dwell on Margery’s story for longer, but oh well, I guess you’ll have to read the original artefact, The Book of Margery Kempe, for the original juicy tales.
All We Saw by Anne Michaels
It’s funny how sometimes the right book will fall into your hands at the right time. I first discovered Anne Michaels’ poetry when I was in sixth form and immediately loved her writing. Poems (which combines her collections, The Weight of Oranges, Miner’s Pond and Skin Divers) taught me so much about the link between poetry and photography, memory and it was perhaps the first collection of poetry which I felt I could truly understand and connect to as a teenager.
It was funny, then, that I stumbled upon All We Saw when I did. It was unexpected – I saw it on a shelf and was immediately hit by the emotional connection that I had had to Poems when I was younger.
I read the collection once and understood that it was largely about grief. About a week later I received the news that a friend of mine had tragically passed away and I was struck by feelings of deep shock and grief. And what book was still lying next to my bed? I immediately turned to All We Saw and read it again, devouring the pages with a new, frantic energy. I was desperate to find answers, to find solutions, to find out how to solve the feeling of hopelessness that I was experiencing. And in those kinds of situations, I feel that poetry is both the best and worst place to turn because it can provide all of the answers and yet simultaneously, somehow, none at all. Reading poetry is a constant act of searching.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
I bought this copy at the Becoming x gal-dem pop-up bookshop and I recently re-read it for a bookstagram book club, Modern Lit. It is full of fascinating anecdotes and I love the old pictures which track the histories of Michelle and Barack. How young they look! I think that many of my peers felt the same way reading through and spying these pictures – the faces are so familiar to us (having grown up with seeing them in the news) that it feels almost like looking in an old family album and laughing over everyone’s haircuts.
I love following Modern Lit on Instagram and was really intrigued by the idea of a bookclub on Instagram. When I saw that they were reading Becoming I thought this might be a good chance to give a bookclub a go! It’s less of a commitment than a book club IRL but still fun. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else made of the book.
Three Poems by Hannah Sullivan
This was another birthday present (my friends spoil me – I am very lucky). Hannah Sullivan’s collection was winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize 2018 and I have heard brilliant things about Three Poems. I have only just started this but am really enjoying it so far. Also, reading poetry in the bath is my new favourite thing. I can’t remember who suggested this to me but thank you – it has enriched my life.
Thanks very much for visiting my blog. There are so many brilliant books that I’ve discovered recently – I can’t wait to share more thoughts with you! What are you reading at the moment? Please do let me know in the comments below!
And no, I didn’t forget to add – here are the promised pictures of the beautiful doggy who befriended me and then fell asleep in the sun as I wrote this blog post… Isn’t he gorgeous?
Naomi | 直美
NB: I received some of these books for free. I do not monetise this blog – ads are by WordPress.