October reading round-up

Hurrah for November, my favourite month! – said no-one ever. The gloomiest point of the year, now with bonus lockdown gloom. It’s a cliche I know, but reading fiction has helped me get through this year’s trials. Not as in mentally retreating from the world, but being better able to deal with its harsh realities, to develop a bit of resilience, awareness, empathy.

October’s reading was largely Black History Month themed, with more emotive and demanding reads than usual, and if there’s one thing to be said for reading about characters going through terrible/unspeakable hardship, it’s that it gives you perspective on your own problems and how insignificant they are in the great scheme of things. And a kind of vicarious experience of strength, courage, endurance, which I find necessary right now.

Black History Month reads

5 stars | Beloved – Toni Morrison; Their eyes were watching God – Zora Neale Hurston 

4 stars | NW – Zadie Smith; The bluest eye – Toni Morrison; Quicksand -Nella Larsen; Between the world and me – Ta-Nehisi Coates

3 stars | My name is Leon – Kit de Waal; The lonely Londoners – Sam Selvon

A month in the country – J L Carr *****
Look at me – Anita Brookner ****
Mr Wilder and me – Jonathan Coe ****