October was a fantastic month for reading. I managed to read ten books, and although I deviated slightly from my planned ‘mostly non-fiction’ month (I didn’t realise Non-Fiction November was a thing, so I am either out of the loop or ahead of the game, whichever you prefer) I have no regrets. As well as six brilliant non-fiction works, I read an astounding short story collection and three fascinating, very different novels. A two-week half term for the kidlets means that I am desperately behind with writing up my reviews, but I’m hoping to catch up soon! In the meantime, here’s a summary of my October Reading. Let me know if you see anything that catches your interest!
The Same Ledge by Daniel James (2020)
I kicked off the month with this powerful, brave novel, which I was lucky enough to read for a blog tour run by the wonderful Damp Pebbles. My review is stuffed full of trigger warnings, but if you are looking for an uncompromising insight into the shocking inequalities of our society, I highly recommend this book.
PMSL by Luce Brett (2020)
The first of my non-fiction reads in October was a book I won on Twitter and, in all honesty, might not have read otherwise. BUT I am SO glad I did – Luce Brett’s book, in which she smashes the stigma of incontinence and opens the door for further conversations on this and other taboo topics, had a profound effect on me. You can read my full review here. Even if you don’t think you need this book, trust me, you will get so much out of it. We need writers like Luce, who can inform, educate, entertain and push the boundaries. People like her make things better. (I am pretty passionate about this one, in case you can’t tell!)
Bringing Up Race by Uju Asika (2020)
Another brilliant non-fiction read, and one that every parent, regardless of race, should read. Uju Asika’s book is an informative, useful, incredibly relevant resource which has the added benefit of being written in a friendly, engaging style. It is both practical and necessary, and I highly recommend it. My full review is here, do check it out.
Running the Orient by Gavin Boyter (2020)
A bit of a change of pace (excuse the pun) for my third non-fiction read of the month – I thoroughly enjoyed Gavin’s account of his incredible ultra-run through Europe. My review details the reasons why I loved this inspiring story, even despite my lack of running experience/ability/enthusiasm!
The Night of the Flood by Zoe Somerville (2020)
I couldn’t resist deviating from my non-fiction plan to dive straight into this novel, and I felt utterly vindicated upon discovering how brilliant it is. A confident, surprising, stunningly written debut, this is one of my top reads of 2020. I do more waxing lyrical in my review – do have a look. It is going on my forever shelf, and I am definitely going to reread it.
Nudibranch by Irenosen Okojie (2019)
Right, this is the point at which my reviews remain To Be Written, as the kids started their two week break! I am really excited to share my thoughts about this strange, surreal, gorgeous collection of stories, as it hit me hard and reignited my desire to write (just in time for NaNoWriMo!). These stories really push the boundaries of narrative, and I absolutely adored them. More to come!
Sway by Dr Pragya Agarwal (2020)
Again, I will be posting a full review soon, but this study of unconscious bias is absolutely fascinating. I learnt so much, and it really showed me why it is important for me to keep reading non-fiction alongside my beloved stories. This book delves into its subject in an intelligent, thought-provoking, evidence-based way, and I want to sit down with my notes and process what I have learnt from it. Gaining a greater understanding of my own unconscious biases feels like a deeply important experience, and I definitely recommend this book. I’ve got a copy of her latest book, Wish We Knew What To Say, which has just come out, and I am looking forward to it even more now.
The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal (2019)
Another detour back into fiction: I read this novel as part of a readalong with some fab book blogger friends. This was only my second experience of a buddy read (after taking part in the Love Orange event organised by Quercus last month) and honestly, I am a total convert. It is so much fun to have a group of people to chat about the book with, and I love the artificial ‘stop points’ that give you a chance to speculate wildly before reading on! This book split opinions and gave us masses to talk about – it is an idea reading group novel! I’ll try and get some more detailed thoughts up soon! Spoiler alert: I was a fan!
I Am Not Your Baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite (2020)
Back to non-fiction, and another great read. This book dovetailed nicely with both Bringing Up Race and Sway, and I loved the way Candice’s personality shines through as she recounts her experiences. Again, I will try and get a proper review up soon! Lots of catching up to do!
Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again by Katherine Angel (2021)
My final read of the month was an ARC of a book which will be published by Verso in March next year. Absolutely worth getting a preorder in for this deceptively slim volume, which is packed with insight and incredibly nuanced discussions of female desire and consent culture. I need to sit with my thoughts on this one for a bit, but I WILL get a review up… oh you know the drill! Really fascinating, important stuff.
So in summary: a brilliant month for reading, and plenty of reviewing to catch up on! How did you get on in October? Let me know your top reads – my teetering TBR could always stand to get a little bigger!