Can you believe the year is halfway done? I definitely cannot grasp that.
I have read some very lovely books so far this year and wanted to talk about my favourite five some more, so here they are, in no particular order:
Not That Bad edited by Roxane Gay
This book is brilliant, heartbreaking, necessary, raw, exquisitely edited, and all around great.
“The essays are not grouped together but rather all stand on their own while building a crescendo of voices. Because they are not thematically grouped together they always met me unawares. Every single voice is needed, every single voice adds something to the conversation. I have not read an anthology that I found this strong, ever. The essays are all perfectly structured and wonderfully realized. There is not a single weak essay in here but there were some that spoke to me even more than the rest did. […] My personal favourites of the book were Lyz Lenz’ All the Angry Women and Samhita Mukhopadhyay’s Knowing Better spoke to me in a way that I cannot just yet put into words; especially not in a forum that is by design public.”
Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot
This book wrecked me. I could not stop reading it or thinking about it. Books like this are the reason I read memoirs.
“Terese Mailhot’s memoir packs an unbelievable punch into a book this short. I could not stop reading it: her language is hypnotic, her turn of phrase impressive, her emotional rawness painful. This book does not follow conventions, Terese Mailhot tells her story the way she wants to and needs to. She is unapologetically herself. She bares her soul and hides it at the same time. I cannot wait to see what she does next.”
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
I knew from the very first page that I had something extraordinary in my hands with this one. It is unlike anything else I have ever read, but brilliant and a book I have not been able to stop thinking about.
“This debut combines many things I adore in books: unconventional framing and unreliable narrators, a story that gets recontextualized constantly and kept me on my toes, a basis in mythology that informed but did not over-shadow the actual story, perfect sentence structure that packs an unbelievable punch, and so many more things that I am still struggling to adequately talk about.”
The Pisces by Melissa Broder
God, this book. I have not been able to stop thinking about it – Melissa Broder is definitely a new favourite author and the way she crafts her main character and thoroughly infuses her with life and a personality is nothing short of brilliant.
“The biggest strength of this very strong book is therefore Lucy. She is unpleasant, deeply so, mean and self-centered while staying believable as a person and ultimately being somebody I could not help but root for, even when she makes one ridiculous decision after the other. She manages to always find the most destructive course of action for any given situation. Her addiction to love (while being emotionally unavailable) is painful to watch, exactly because it is so believable. Her reaction to men is even more unbearable to watch and Melissa Broder captures the awkwardness and heartbreak of bad one-night-stands so very vividly that it made me cringe (and I mean that as a compliment).”
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
This book just made me happy. Naomi Novik just has a way of capturing that fairy-talesque feeling that I have loved since I was a child.
“This is a very loose retelling of Rumpelstilzchen which incorporates parts of other fairy tales as well – so I was always going to love it. I am such a huge fan of books written in this fairy-talesque manner and if they than are set in snowy, frozen parts of the world I am in reading heaven. The book’s atmosphere of winter and rural communities and fairy tale was just executed brilliantly and the hints of other stories made me very happy. The prose is stunning and fluid, the world imagined is vivid and wonderful, and the main three characters were absolutely brilliant.”
What was your favourite book of the year so far?