The Book of You by Claire Kendal

The Book of You

Clarissa Bourne is being stalked by Rafe Solmes, a colleague. He is always there. He watches her. He follows her. He knows what her favourite things are. He believes they are in a relationship and that Clarissa is trying to hurt him with her cold behaviour. Clarissa’s cold behaviour is actually fear. Fear for what Rafe will do when he next shows up.

Clarissa doesn’t know how to make him stop. He will not take no for an answer. As a result, Clarissa spends her time trying to keep records of his behaviour in order to build a case against him. The last time she contacted the police it didn’t end well and Clarissa is sure that they, and everyone else in her life, won’t believe her; a feeling that’s familiar to far too many victims of abuse. She tries to follow the advice from domestic abuse leaflets, hence the note-taking, but she is at her wit’s end.

If I Fall, If I Die: A Novel by Michael Christie

Advance Reader Copy (ARC) via Netgalley included.

If I Fall, If I Die

If I Fall, If I Die* is the story of 11 year-old Will Cardiel, his mother, his love of skateboarding and a troubled childhood.

Will’s mother, Diane, suffers from agoraphobia and mental ill-health. She hasn’t left the safety of her house for years and her fear of something awful happening to her son has meant that Will hasn’t left the house either. Will has no family or friends, other than his mother. Will has never been ‘Outside’, his entire life has consisted of ‘Inside’.

Because She Loves Me by Mark Edwards

Advance Reader Copy (ARC) via Netgalley included.

Because She Loves Me

Because She Loves Me* tells the story of Andrew Sumner, a man who is undergoing treatment for a detached retina. Whilst at the hospital he meets Charlie, who makes him look at life differently. He feels his luck has finally changed.

Their relationship quickly becomes intense. You know the story; girl is so insatiable that boy becomes blinkered to everything outside the relationship. It usually comes with consequences and it’s no different this time because things with Charlie may not be what they seem.

How To Be A Heroine | Or, what I’ve learned from reading too much | by Samantha Ellis

How To Be A Heroine

How To Be A Heroine | Or, what I’ve learned from too much reading has been on my radar for a while, but now seemed like the perfect time to read it since it deals with something I’m currently working on a blog post about; the idea that the time, place and state of mind you are in plays a significant part in how you react to novels, plays, films, and music.

Samantha Ellis finds herself arguing with her best friend about whether Cathy Earnshaw is a better heroine than Jane Eyre. Ellis is firmly in the Cathy camp, while her friend thinks that Jane is the one who really makes her own way in the world.

Has she spent her life trying to be Cathy Earnshaw when she should have been trying to be Jane Eyre? A return to the literary heroines that shaped her life was in order. How did she feel about them now?

The Opposite of Loneliness – Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan

The Opposite of Loneliness

Like most people, I first heard about Marina Keegan following her death in 2012. She was killed in a car crash a few days after graduating from Yale. She was 22.

The essay, entitled The Opposite of Loneliness, she wrote to mark graduation quickly went viral. Dealing with uncertainty, Keegan’s words urged people to be fearless, embrace change and stop being constrained by expectations; both their own and the expectations of others. It’s easy to see why it struck a chord with so many.

The Humans by Matt Haig

The Humans by Matthew Haig

What are humans? What is the human condition? These questions are at the heart of Matt Haig’s wonderful novel The Humans and how better to explore the answers than through the eyes of an alien.

The alien is sent to earth to inhabit the body of Professor Andrew Martin of Cambridge University. He has a mission to complete. A mission that may not be as easy it sounds because the business of having to be a human keeps getting in the way.

Green Girl by Kate Zambreno

Green Girl

Have you ever come across a book that is a few years old, but suddenly you hear lots of talk about it? That’s what happened to me with Kate Zambreno’s Green Girl. Some friends recommended I read it and then I came across it in Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist.

Ruth is a young American woman living in London. She sells perfume in Horrids (her name for it). Her days are spent spritzing people with Desire. Her nights are spent trying to find her way in the world; navigating her way through anxiety, friendships, relationships, nights out that involve drinking too much and the male gaze. More importantly, Ruth is desperately trying to make sense of the space between where she is now and what she deems to be proper adulthood.

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

Only Ever Yours

Set in a future where girls are taught how to serve and please men, Only Ever Yours is a sharply written portrayal of teenage girls and the role of women in society.

freida and isabel (their names aren’t capitalised in the book) are best friends. They are also eves. They have been created for men and face a life spent living as a companion, a concubine or a chastity.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Bad Feminist (Kindle)

I’ve linked to some of Roxane Gay’s essays before. Since discovering her work in 2013, she has become one of my favourite essayists. Bad Feminist has been on my to-read list since it was released and the Kindle sale over Christmas provided the perfect opportunity to pick it up.

In parts memoir, reviews, critiques of pop culture, and comments on the state of contemporary feminism Bad Feminist switches between them all in a confident manner that highlights how everything is intertwined.

Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent

Unravelling Oliver

 

“I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.”

From the opening sentence, the scene is set. Oliver Ryan has hit his wife, Alice, before. On this occasion Alice has been left in coma.

What sort of a man would psychically abuse his wife? This question is at the heart of Unravelling Oliver. As we delve deeper into the life of Oliver Ryan we realise this isn’t an easy question to answer. But then it isn’t in real life either. How many times have we heard variations on “man of good character” when it comes to violence against women?