May has been a bit of a strange month of reading as I’ve struggled to choose books to read (more so than normal, it takes me ages to settle on my next book) but I have found a new graphic novel series that I love, as well as some wonderful irl bookshop purchases and library finds, re-reads of all-time favourites and some long overdue reads.
At the end of this post, I have also included a round up of some exciting book mail I have received from some wonderful publishers so take a look at those and see what’s coming out soon. Let’s get stuck into it!
At the beginning of the month, I decided I’d like to find a new graphic novel to get into and after a little bit of research, I learned about Paper Girls. I’m quite particular about the type of art I enjoy in the comics I read (I like it to be bold, bright and with quite thick lines) so when I saw inside the cover of Paper Girls I was immediately sold.
Paper Girls is a mystery/science fiction story which follows four 12 year old paper girls as they uncover mysterious forces from the future… time travellers warring across all time. Absolute chaos ensues!
This collection is so exciting to read. The art is absolutely stunning, the colours are gorgeous, it’s predominantly focused around kickass girls and women, and it’s just so cool. I’m very happy to have this beautiful stack of volumes on my bookshelf to pick up whenever I like.
One of the first things on my to-do list when the most recent lockdown ended was to visit a book shop (obviously) so on a rainy Saturday, I popped into Swansea, got myself a coffee and spent ages wandering around Waterstones. I’m a big fan of translated Asian literature and there was a table of recommended reads, so I knew I had to pick something up. The cover/title of this book immediately caught my eye and the premise confirmed that it was going on the to-buy pile!
If Cats Disappeared from the World was the perfect cosy Sunday read. I curled up on the sofa with (multiple) cups of coffee and read it from start to finish in one go. It was a really quirky, cute read that tells the story of a man who finds out he only has months left to live. The Devil appears with a strange offer that if the man agrees to make one thing disappear from the world, he can live another day. So begins a weird week of disappearing items and the chance to find out what really matters in life.
Another Waterstones purchase! This book had been on my TBR pile for quite a while, and when I spotted the cover in store, I thought I would properly check it out. I read approximately one sentence and was like “well, I am buying this”. Honestly, wow. What an incredible short story collection!
Salt Slow is all about women and their experiences, bodies and the bodily, and gets right under the skin of the characters and events in each story. Julia’s writing is visceral and rich and gorgeous. I absolutely cannot wait to read Julia’s debut novel, Our Wives Under The Sea, which is due out in 2022.
I am very late to the party with this read, but thanks to Ellie lending me her copy of the book, I finally got around to reading Such a Fun Age. As with books that are massively popular, I wasn’t sure where to set my expectations. Luckily, however, the hype didn’t let this one down!
The story follows the relationship and events that occur between Emira, a young black babysitter, Alix, her wealthy employer, and a bystander who films an interaction between Emira and a supermarket security guard who accuses Emira of kidnapping the child she’s babysitting.
I really enjoy this style of book which draws you in and is compulsively readable. I was quickly invested in the story and learning more about the characters (and their often very questionable or downright awful behaviours).
I was struggling to choose my next read from my TBR shelf, so I decided to go back to an old faithful, and one of my all-time favourite reads. I bought Come Closer quite a few years ago from a charity shop when I was in Manchester for a few days. I was intrigued by the cover, and the premise, and decided to just give it a go… and I’m so glad I did.
Come Closer is the story of a woman, which begins with her hearing a repetitive tapping noise and follows her as strange and uncharacteristic things start happening in her life. This short book is so perfectly weird and insidious. It’s got short, sharp chapters and it’s built on the uncanny – two of my absolute favourite things in books.
At the moment, I’ve really just wanted to pick up non-challenging reads so I decided to give a YA book a go. Whilst yes, it does deal with death, being a horror/thriller book, Mina and the Undead is a gothic YA and I love horror so I have a pretty good tolerance for the macabre.
Mina and the Undead tells the story of Mina, a 17-year-old from England, as she goes to stay with her sister in New Orleans. Mina joins her sister in an exciting part-time job working at a horror movie mansion and meets her sister’s housemate and colleague, Jared. However, the perfect summer takes a turn for the worst when, during a work shift, Mina stumbles upon the body of a girl with puncture marks on her neck. We follow Mina as she tries to uncover the truth of what’s really going on.
Whilst I feel like the book lost its way towards the end, it was a fun, quick read and something a bit different to pick up so I did enjoy it.
For some reason, I have been completely sleeping on how great my local library is. I decided to have a little look at what was available online and spotted Early Morning Riser, a book that I have been eyeing up for a few weeks now so I obviously had to take it out. This was such a sweet, big-hearted and easy read. It’s exactly the type of book I am looking for at the moment so I’m so glad I gave it a go.
Early Morning Riser tells the story, over two decades, of Jane’s life after she moves to Boyne City, Michigan and falls in love with Duncan. It looks at love, family, friendship and life. If you’re looking for something nice and warm to read, I highly recommend this.
A last minute addition to my May reads! I finally visited the wonderful Shelflife in Cardiff on the Bank Holiday weekend and my partner picked up Famished. I finished the book I was reading on Saturday morning and was hunting around for something to read. I wasn’t expecting to, but I sat in the garden, in the late afternoon sun and read it from start to finish.
Famished is a little book at only 110 pages, and it contains 18 short stories all built around food, feasts and hunger. As it’s published by one of my favourite indies, Influx Press, I was excited to finally read it. I did enjoy a handful of the stories and the wider premise of the book (alongside all the references to Wales and Welsh names), however the writing style is, unfortunately, not one that I really get along with. It was a bit too dense and literary for me – but, if you’re in to that, then you might like this collection!
Exciting book mail!
I thought I would start including any exciting book mail that I have received in the monthly round ups alongside books that I’ve heard about and I’m looking forward to!
The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jónasson, due out in June 2021 by Penguin Michael Joseph.
The Girl Who Died is about Una, who decides to escape her life when she sees an advert seeking a teacher for two girls in the tiny village of Skálar. When Una arrives, she is met with hostility, a creepy bedroom in the old house she’s living in and then there’s a murder in town…
Sterling Karat Gold by Isabel Waidner, due June 2021 by Peninsula Press.
“Sterling Karat Gold is Kafka’s The Trial written for the era of gaslighting – a surreal inquiry into the real effects of state violence on gender-nonconforming, working-class and black bodies.”
My Body Keeps Your Secrets by Lucia Osborne-Crowley, due September 2021 by The Indigo Press.
“In her first full-length book, Lucia Osborne-Crowley writes about the secrets a body keeps, from gender identity, puberty and menstruation to sexual pleasure; to pregnancy or its absence; and to darker secrets of abuse, invasion or violation.
The voices of women, trans and non-binary people around the world, and the author’s own deeply moving testimony, cohere into an immersive polyphonic memoir that tells the story of the young person’s body in 2021.”
Lucent Dreaming recently celebrated their 3rd anniversary and to share in the celebrations they sent out a copy of Issue 8 alongside some delicious chocolate to a bunch of their followers. I was lucky enough to receive this little parcel in the post and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the Issue!
Adorable by Ida Maria Hede, translated by Sherilyn Nicolette Hellberg, published May 2021 by Lolli Editions.
“From one of Scandinavia’s most innovative writers, a shimmering journey into the absurd phenomenality of family life – and the human microbiome. Adorable is a haunting, transmundane portrait of a young family told in four parts, in Copenhagen and London.
In Ida Marie Hede’s porous world, which is our world too, grime, bacteria, and even death are intimately bound up with health and renewal. Fusing the commonplace and the profound, the material and the spiritual, the elegiac and the conceptual, Adorable powerfully insists that it is impossible to tell where death and life begin or end.”
Absorbed by Kylie Whitehead, published May 2021 by New Ruins.
“Absorbed is the original and timely debut novel from Kylie Whitehead; a darkly comic story of female insecurity, body horror and modern relationships.
Allison has been with Owen since university. She’s given up on writing her novel and is working a dull office job at the local council – now it feels like the only interesting thing about her is that she’s Owen’s girlfriend. But he’s slipping away from her, and Allison has no idea who she’ll be without him.
Panicking, she absorbs him…
Soon Allison begins taking on Owen’s best qualities, becoming the person she always thought she should be. But is Owen all she needs to complete herself? Will Allison ever be a whole person?”