Post-punk nostalgia in 1980s Scotland; alcohol-soaked misery in 1920s Paris; racism in 21st century Britain; a horrible amount of rabbit entrails, and an elderly laughing gnome incubus… Funny month isn’t it, August. The melancholy-tinged fag-end of summer, plus the fag-end of lockdown adding to the unsettling feeling of this time of year – along with bracing for a second covid surge and Br*xit, on top of the inevitable gloom that the descent towards the year’s end brings. And none of this month’s reading did much to boost the feel-good-o-meter either, it must be said.
Two non-fiction reads, The good immigrant and H is for Hawk, left me feeling despairing about racism, and our callousness to wild animals, respectively. Fiction-wise, Jean Rhys’s short stories are all kinds of unhappy, although deeply beautiful; Mayflies was a wonderfully poignant story about youth, music and the death of a friend, and The perfect world of Miwako Sumida was about a young suicide (featuring aforementioned elderly laughing gnome incubus). No wonder I’m feeling gloomy.
What I’ll be reading in September: (a bit cheerier, hopefully)
The country girls by Edna O’Brien – just started, really enjoying
Friends and strangers by J. Courtney Sullivan (a review for Netgalley which looks bloody awful, frankly – no idea why I signed up for it)
This green and pleasant land by Ayisha Malik
The seven deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Underland by Robert Macfarlane
If you’ve read this far, you might be interested to know that I’ve just started a little facebook book group with a friend. It’s just for general chit-chat about books and recommendations etc with fellow bookworms, no set texts to read or anything. If you’d like to join, you’d be very welcome – just let me know!