Recent Reads – November 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 - November 2018
Original photo: Viktor Hanacek from picjumbo

November was the month of the chest infection from hell (the joys of a suppressed immune system!), which meant lots of time curled up on the couch spent reading in between painful coughing fits. Here are the books that saw me through it.

Roar by Cecelia Ahern*

Roar by Cecelia Ahern

This collection of thirty feminist short stories is full observations and revelations about what it is like to be a woman in a patriarchal world. Each story title begins The Woman Who; The Woman Who Forgot Her Name, The Woman Who Slowly Disappeared, The Woman Who Returned and Exchanged Her Husband, The Woman Who…well, you get the idea.

Roar * is an ambitious set of stories with elements of magical realism that, for me, was rather hit and miss.

Falling Through the World by Rachel Clarke

Falling Through The World by Rachel Clarke

Falling Through the World is a YA novel about living with an invisible illness that is so-often misunderstood even by those in the medical community. When Sarah begins experiencing symptoms that show no sign of disappearing, her life changes. Doctors visits which yield little answers become her new normal. A diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is eventually reached, but doctors differ on the cause and treatment leaving Sarah and her family searching for answers.

As Sarah tries to balance recovery with school, friendship and her relationship with her boyfriend, she feels like she being left behind while everyone else gets on with their lives.

Subject wise this is an important book, but the writing style was a little too simplistic for me.

Madam Politician: The women at the table of Irish political power by Martina Fitzgerald

Madam Politician by Martina Fitzgerald

Madam Politician is an insightful look at the lived experience of the small number of women who have become government ministers and our two female presidents. Prepare to be inspired while also being frustrated at how slowly the number of women entering politics is changing.

Redefining Realness by Janet Mock

Redefining Realness by Janet Mock

Janet Mock’s experience of growing up trans, multiracial (a word she uses throughout the book) and poor is written with honesty and compassion, while not shying away from the difficulties she faced.

Fully Functioning Human (Almost) by Melanie Murphy

Fully Functioning Human (Almost) by Melanie Murphy

As someone in their mid-thirties, I am not the target market for Melanie Murphy’s memoir Fully Functioning Human (Almost). Aimed at people in their late teens or early twenties, Murphy writes about her life, body image, mental health, sexuality and growing up online with a warmth that feels like having a long conversation with a sister.

My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff

My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff

When Joanna Rakoff takes a job at a literary agency she expects to be doing more than typing up letters for her boss. When Rakoff discovers that the agency represents JD Salinger she finds herself in the weird position of replying to his fan mail. There is a stock response she is supposed to use, but she soon dispenses with it.

If you’re a Salinger fan you’ll get a kick out of Rakoff’s experience, likewise if you are interested in all things literary and how words shape us.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Marianne and Connell grew up in the same rural Irish town, but their family backgrounds make their relationship complicated. When they attend the same university in Dublin these complications become a recurring theme as their relationship changes alongside their own personal experiences of figuring out who they are.

Sally Rooney has a way of writing characters that get under your skin and refuse to leave. In the year since reading her debut Conversations with Friends I’ve often wondered what Frances and Bobbi are up to now. In the months to come I’ll be thinking the same about Marianne and Connell. Normal People is as engaging as it is skillfully written. Go read it, now!

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