Recent Reads – December 2018

Some Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) included. They are marked with an *. No affiliate links used. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

Recent Reads - December 2018

I finished 2018 with a heavy dose of non-fiction, which seems appropriate considering 45 of the 70 books I read last year fell into the non-fiction category. It seems I’m all about the memoirs, essay collections and feminist non-fiction these days, which I am thoroughly enjoying.

Pill by Robert Bennett*

Pill by Robert Bennett

Pill* isn’t published until March, but the premise intrigued me so when I received an advance copy I picked it up immediately. Robert Bennett takes us through the world of psychiatric medication and the impact each new discovery has not only on the people who take them, but society as a whole. Bennett weaves these narratives together through the prism of how pop culture presents mental illness and the drugs used to treat them. I didn’t agree with every conclusion reached, but that doesn’t make Pill* any less enjoyable a read.

Pain Woman Takes Your Keys, and Other Essays from a Nervous System by Sonya Huber

Pain Woman Takes Your Keys has already featured in my Best Books of 2018 round-up, so I won’t gush about it hear too much. This collection of essays about Huber’s experience of living with chronic pain due to rheumatoid arthritis and the politics of having an invisible, or mostly invisible, disability is thoughtful, frank and full of humour.

Sick: A Memoir by Porochista Khakpour

Sick - A Memoir by Porochista Khakpour

Reviewing memoir can be tricky not least because it is someone’s lived experience being shared. Reviewing Sick: A Memoir is trickier again because the illness that dominates so much of Khakpour’s life and by extension the narrative of the book is eventually diagnosed and described as chronic or late-stage lyme disease and which the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states it actually post-treatment lyme disease syndrome. Porochista Khakpour’s illness and the progression of her symptoms are clear to see. Her life is dramatically impacted as a result. As someone who lives with chronic pain and invisible illnesses that (a) were not all easy to diagnosis and (b) are not all easily treatable I understand the need for answers and a clear treatment plan but so much of this book made me uneasy because of the emphasis on unproven therapies.

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss*

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

Ghost Wall* is a beautifully written strange and twisted tale of Silvie who is spending the summer with her parents in the Northumberland countryside. Thanks to her father’s obsession with the Iron Age, they are taking part in an experimental archaeology exercise to see what life was like then. Just how far will he go in pursuit of an authentic experience?

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