What I've Been Reading Recently

What I've Been Reading Recently

The Power by Naomi Alderman
Young women suddenly develop the ability to electrocute other people... and the balance of power in the world begins to shift. It sounded a bit... daft... but anything which looks at gender politics is worth a go (also, honestly: it was my book group's latest read so I didn't have much choice!). And it was fascinating. I didn't love everything about it, but I did love how much it made me think and I was very, very glad that I had a date in the calendar to sit down and talk through all the questions it raised with a group of other women.

Seriously... What Am I Doing Here? by Ken Schneck*
Ken Schneck is a gay Jew working for a university in Vermont; he doesn't like upheaval and he doesn't like to travel. And then he finds himself in Uganda. And then he finds himself doing a charity bike ride, attending a healing retreat, heading back to Uganda, and hiking through the Rocky Mountains. He kept this diary throughout. Now, I love - love - collections of autobiographical humorous essays but I've also started and given up on a lot of really, really bad ones; I was kind of expecting this to be one of the duds. It wasn't. Ken's writing style is seriously funny but it's not just that: throughout the book, Ken is trying (and often failing) to deal with the collapse of his marriage, and - no matter how much he tries to hide his feelings behind humour - his pain is very much apparent. This is personal, (fairly!) honest and deeply engaging. I loved it.

The Broken Bridge by Philip Pullman*
Sixteen year old Ginny's mother died when she was a baby; she has been raised by her father in a small town on the coast of Wales. She already spends a lot of time thinking about her identity - where she comes from; life as one of only two black kids in town; what her future holds - and then a social worker turns up and reveals a whole lot of secrets Ginny's father has been trying to keep. I had a couple of issues with this (mostly to do with two dimensional adults) but nothing which would have bothered me in my teens; as a young adult I would have absolutely loved this and, as a 38 year old, I was genuinely curious to find out the truth about Ginny's past.

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
Okay, I know I'm several years late on this one but: if you haven't read this, I really think you should. Dystopian yet beautiful, exploring interconnected lives and the aftermath of a pandemic which all but wiped out the human race. Astounding.

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
So, obviously I read this because it's by Aziz Ansari and I enjoy Parks and Rec and I thought it would be funny. Ironically, the jokes were the bits I didn't much like. The rest of it? The analysis of flirting, dating and relationship trends in a world of social media and internet romance? That, I found really interesting.

*Provided for review

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