It is a genuine mission of mine to read more this year and already i’ve read or re-read around 10 books this January, this was partly due to a somewhat traumatic coach ride which turned out to be twice as long as the original, there was drugs (obvs not mine) and policemen. It was not fun.
I re-read Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge it’s a powerful, unflinching polemic on race addressing white privilege, white vulnerability, class, gender and structural systems that empower the oppressor.
I also picked up a book that I believe has followed me around for a really really long time and finally I gave in and picked it up, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert which taught me a few key things: Don’t fight for your limitations, your 20s is too young to start panicking about time running out, you don’t need permission to be creative.
The End We Start From by Megan Hunter is a beautiful debut, mesmerising and unusual it has low-key terrified me about how we will leave the world for future generations. I didn’t think a book about a post-apocalyptic England and motherhood would keep me reading but I was much mistaken.
Turtles All The Way Down by John Green is powerful, real and comforting, after I finished the book I wanted to hug it and carry the book around with me everywhere. JG’s explores emotions around mental health, specifically OCD, there’s a billionaire on the run, a boyfriend and a best friend forever and a teenage main character who reads like he definitely isn’t a teen but it’s okay.
I also read Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron (not out until March), it’s a lyrical story about loss and grief and angels falling from the sky with LGBT representation set in Edinburgh and I loved every word.
I started reading Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu but eventually DNF’d (did not finish) the book as I found it quite patronising. I acknowledge i’m probably not the target audience for this book but I also had a huge issue with this book not really addressing intersectional feminism in-depth. Honestly i’m tired of reading about white/mainstream feminism which ignores my existence and experience as a woman of colour.
I really enjoyed Second Best Friend by Non Pratt which is a story about how friendships are complicated and how mean words and our own insecurities can turn things toxic very quickly.
I’ve also read I Am Thunder by Muhammed Khanwhich is highly anticipated read about a Muslim girl and extremism.
Although I was sad to read the final words, I read Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton, Amani’s final adventure as she struggles to handle a rebellion that isn’t hers and one she’s unknowingly become the leader of willing to die for her country but clutching onto to those she loves as they fall one by one.
I read One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul in 2017 i’ve picked this up many times this past month too. It’s a wonderful, funny and fierce collection of essays about growing up as the daughter of Indian immigrants in Western culture addressing sexism, stereotypes and love.
I’m also currently reading: The Enemy Within: A Tale of Muslim Britain by Sayeeda Warsi, The One Who Wrote Destiny by Nikesh Shukla, Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone, The Quran Oxford edition (English translation) and I also dip in and out of reading Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girl.
Although this is my second time reading Why I’m No Longer Talking… i’m constantly in awe of Reni’s fierce honesty, like: “We don’t live in a meritocracy and to pretend that simple hard work will elevate all to success is an exercise in wilful ignorance.” For those of us who identify as people of colour, I can guarantee that you’ve heard the phrase: work twice as hard for half as much. I believe Reni’s words give truth to this phrase, they reiterate the struggle many of us go through, the tiresome conversations we have time and again trying to explain to everyone from our white teachers to white best friends that our successes and simple hard work regardless of how dedicated we are will probably never allow us the same opportunities as those available to them simply because they are white.
Also I wrote about how there was only 9 UKYA book by PoC authors being published in 2018 for Dazed. And I also wrote about my 10 YA books to look out for this 2018 – this is basically mostly made up of USYA by PoC writers.
I’ve started a newsletter which you subscribe to here, this is a more direct way to find out what i’m reading more regularly.