Partly due to B returning from his stint abroad, and partly due to my lack of enthusiasm for social media at the moment, I have been returning to reading in a big way. Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything better for the sanity (apart from perhaps walking through woodland as the leaves fall like snowflakes around you… right autumn enthusiasts?!). Below I’ve shared a few of the novels I’ve loved over the summer and over the past few weeks. Let me know if you have any recommendations in the comments below.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I bought this book in Fopp (fantastic 2 for £5 selection in there, great for making your shelves concave…) after watching the first few episodes of the TV series. The two are slightly different; the adaptation perhaps more violent but clearly inspired by Atwood’s prose and symbolism (woman as flower, meat, commodity). Terrifying and terrific at the same time.
Favourite quote: ‘We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print… We lived in the gaps between the stories’
The Girls by Emma Cline
Back in the late sixties in sunny California, Evie is an only child trapped in the confines of adolescence. In its bare prose, the book explores Evie’s desire — both sexual and psychological — as she attempts to find herself within a creepy cult, mostly of young girls, which soon turns murderous. Makes you look again at the pain and lack of power which teenage girls have over their own destiny, even now. I later learned this book was heavily influenced by the Manson murders in America, which I felt slightly lessened its originality.
Favourite quote: ‘I knew just being a girl in the world handicapped your ability to believe yourself’
Careless People by Sarah Churchwell
The subtitle of this book is ‘Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of The Great Gatsby‘. It’s such a fantastic book, both a biographical yet artistic study of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald during and after the ‘invention’ of his most famous novel. As an aspiring author (one day…) it’s intriguing to see how Fitzgerald interwove personal and newspaper narratives to create his eternal masterpiece.
Favourite quote: ‘If you make yourself up, you can be undone as well; being self-made risks unravelling’
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
A big book, but so easy to read — you become fully immersed in the world of Sayuri, a Gion geisha, that you devour this novel whilst wishing it’d never end. However, I did have a problem with the female protagonist’s reliance on her ‘saviour’ Chairman… It feels as if her destiny (which she finally attains) isn’t truly her own at all.
Favourite quote: ‘Dreams can be such dangerous things; they smoulder on like a fire does, and sometimes consume us completely’