Here are my favourites of what I’ve been reading since my last readerly update, which was in May! I’ve the whim to write about them in pairs.
Equal Rites and Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. I could spend a good bit of my life reading Terry Pratchett; in fact, I have Thief of Time sitting across the room from me now, waiting to be read. What an absolutely charming and hilarious writer.
The Book of Tomorrow by Cecilia Ahern and Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran are both set in rural Ireland. I read them one after the other because I have really been enjoying books set in Ireland for the last few years. The former is about a selfish teenage girl who discovers a diary that each day is filled with an entry from a self one day in the future. The latter is about three Iranian sisters who run away to build a new restaurant business and a new life.
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant and The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson had both been on my to read list for a good eighteen months. They’re both about grief, in their own ways. The Red Tent is a retelling of the Biblical Dinah’s story from her own perspective, and it is something, a feminist and historical and glorious something. The Sky is Everywhere is about coming into love and loss as a young woman, being set after the main character’s sister dies.
Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore are the first two books of a trilogy I am thoroughly enjoying. The conceit of Graceling is that certain people in the seven kingdoms have graces, which are abilities as varied as being able to hold one’s breath for a long time, to be a good baker, or, as with our heroine, a talent for killing. The second book swaps out and plays with the ideas Cashore sets up with the first, so I’ll be interested to see what she does in Bitterblue, the third book.
Rose’s Garden by Peter H. Reynolds and Small Bunny’s Blue Blanket by Tatyana Feeney were both picture books I enjoyed a great deal. Birds take the seeds from Rose’s teapot home before she can begin to plant a garden, and Small Bunny’s blanket needs laundering, which is most upsetting.
Tipping the Velvet and Affinity by Sarah Waters were both amazing, much as you might expect from Waters. If you want lesbian fiction set in Victorian times, if you want beautiful fiction, look no further. I’m afraid I’m going to be comparing everything she writes to Fingersmith, however, which I loved to pieces. I’ve also got her two most recent novels to hand, but, oh, I don’t think just yet I can bear to finish all her books and then have no more Sarah Waters to read!
The Thing Around Your Neck and Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie were both fantastic, and her reputation is well deserved. The former is a collection of short stories about being Nigerian and negotiating Western presences. My favourite of the stories was “Jumping Monkey Hill,” set at a writers’ retreat in South Africa, which hits hard and true. Purple Hibiscus is about the daughter of a wealthy and (be warned) abusive father, and the ways in which she and her family mentally and physically remove themselves from him.