Here’s the list, with a quick five-word summary:
- Because of You – Dawn French (Penguin) – Funny, entertaining, French is wonderful.
- Vulnerability is My Superpower – Jackie E. Davis (Andrews McMeel) – Honest, beautifully insightful, colorful comics.
- Piranesi – Susanna Clark (Bloomsbury) – Cosmic madness in Manchester, maybe?
- Two Besides: A Pair of Talking Heads – Alan Bennett (Faber & Faber) – More monologues from the master.
- Wendy, Darling – A.C. Wise (Titan) – Peter Pan is a dick.
- The Pumpkin Eater – Penelope Mortimer (Penguin) – Who’d be a woman, eh?
- Sandcastle – Pierre Oscar Lévy, Frederik Peeters (SelfMadeHero) – The Old trailer ruined this.*
- My Phantoms – Gwendoline Riley (Granta) – Very familiar, family passive aggression.
*M. Night Shyamalan’s new movie, Old, is based on this graphic novel. If you’ve seen the trailer, you already know about 90% of what happens in this book. It’s a fantastic concept, but I really hope Shyamalan pulls out a shocking twist ending, because *SPOILER* the book does not have one.
May was a great month. Regular readers will already know of my love for Christina Henry’s amazing Peter Pan spin-off, Lost Boy, so Wendy, Darling further fueled my animosity to that little flying shit in the green shorts. I love A.C. Wise’s short fiction (check out And the Carnival Leaves Town), and am just ecstatic that she has explored the Neverland universe. My full review is up on Goodreads, but if you want a strong, feminist, fairy tale, about mental health, motherhood, and magic, I definitely recommend this one. It will be available at all good indie bookstores by the time you read this!
I don’t often finish a book in 24 hours. My four-year-old daughter will not let me. But My Phantoms was one of those magical books, when I go to bed expecting to get though the first chapter or so, and end up getting through half the book in one sitting. My Phantoms is about a young woman reflecting on her relationship with her English, working-class, divorced parents. The relationship she has with her mother is particularly fascinating. There’s a great quote from the incredible writer Evie Wyld on the back cover, that perfectly summed up my thoughts:
“To read My Phantoms is to feel that joy in a writer at the peak of her craft mixed with mild unease at how precisely she’s nailed you.”Evie Wyld
Glad to finally make time for a Penelope Mortimer novel; I’ve been devouring her short stories after hearing her work discussed on Backlisted. Side note – I have to be careful how often I listen to Backlisted, because I always come away with a list of about six books I want to buy. And they’re always brilliant. Anyway, The Pumpkin Eater was another relatively quick read, about a woman with a troubled marriage, and a million kids. Mortimer’s writing reminded me of Barbara Comyns, which is a huge compliment. Anyway, I’ve bought most of Mortimer’s bibliography now, thanks Backlisted.
Coming Up in June
I have seen a lot of people raving about Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca, so I’m excited for that. The fabulous Jenn Ashworth’s new novel, Ghosted, is out in the UK, so I’ll have to rely on Blackwells for that one. I’m intrigued by Walking on Cowrie Shells, a collection from Nana Nkweti, and the brilliantly titled novel, Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch, by Rivka Galchen.
Revival Season, the debut novel from Monica West, is finally getting published. Check out my full review here, but I loved this one. At the time I said it was about “Faith, family, and fury”. If that’s your bag, go grab a copy.
Thanks as always to the wonderful publishers at NetGalley for allowing me to access ARC of excellent books. Thanks to those publishers who decline my requests, as it just fuels my interest further (they know what they’re doing!).
Thanks to anyone who randomly recommends books on social media. I get so excited about a book when I see someone with similar tastes has enjoyed it.
And thanks for taking the time to read this. I don’t really do this for any other reason than to express my love of reading. If anyone actually looks at it, it’s a bonus. So thanks again.