The best bit about going on holiday (apart from living in a bikini) is getting time to read all those books you’ve been meaning to read for months. Or years in some cases. I always take a couple of physical books but on this particular 2-week holiday, I read 10 books so for the sake of my suitcase I’m a Kindle girl. Read on to find out what to buy/download for your next vacay…
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
I think this must be a YA novel, but I looove a YA novel. This one is pretty dark but a definite page turner. My Absolute Darling follows Turtle, a 14-year-old girl, and her father, who live hidden away in the forest. Turtle is an almost feral child: gun-toting, animal-killing, self-sufficient. Skills all taught to her by her loving father. As Turtle makes more and more contact with the outside world she begins to realise that life at home may not be all that rosy.
The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances
Ooooh, now this was a BEACH read. Fast-paced, a little far-fetched and very entertaining. This book plays on the age old trope of the warring girlfriend and mother-in-law and takes it to the next level. It’s set in London so the setting seems really familiar and makes the plot even more realistic. It’s a battle royale of the females – but who will win?
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Ugh, there is so much I have to say about this book. Perhaps it resonated with me particularly as I’m mixed race (Jamaican, Danish, English) and it is so, so rare to read anything about the mixed-race experience. This book has a few chapters on being of mixed heritage and the confusing territory it comes with. But the most interesting part of the book is delving into Britain’s very racist past – we’re so used to hearing about slavery and Black Lives Matter in the US, but how many of us know how black people came to be in the UK? Anyway, whether you’re black or white. Read this book. It should be put on the school curriculum, it’s so vital.
Under The Sun by Lottie Moggach
This is a proper holiday read, nice and easy. But don’t dismiss it as trash, it’s a really clever story and not at all twee (spoiler, there’s no miraculous happy ending). The book follows Anna as she moves to Spain, giving up everything to buy a crumbling villa with her boyfriend – who proceeds to up and leave. She makes a half-life for herself among the expats who are definitely not living the ‘a place in the sun’ dream. This story verges on thriller and it’s a great twist on the typical beach read.
Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney
This novel by 26-year-old Irish writer Sally Rooney is a wonderful, subtle peek into the mind of a young woman. And if you too are a girl, you’ll identify with the thoughts and feelings of the protagonist – the moments of self doubt, or self sabotage, and generally trying to navigate through life and relationships. The plot centres around an affair, but it’s not the plot that drives this book, it’s the well-observed, at times poetic writing. YOU MUST READ.
Dietland by Sarai Walker
This book was suggested to me by an Amazon algorithm, and I’m glad I clicked ‘buy’ because it’s a really great book. Funny, razor sharp and it deals with the whole smorgasbord of wok feminist issues: body image, sexualisation, sexual abuse and the rest. The plot is gripping and totally unexpected – it’s just so off kilter. Recommended if you loved (as I did) The Power and The Regulars.
Postcards from The Edge by Carrie Fisher
I feel embarrassed to admit this, but I’ve never see a single Star Wars movie – the franchise in which actress Carrie Fisher made her name. Fisher was Hollywood royalty, she was the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and as such led a glamourous life, sometimes interjected with scandal and drug use. This fictional tale of a washed-u starlet in rehab probably draws from life experience, and the story is solid. But it’s the writing that is striking, Carrie really knew how to turn a phrase and this book is really wonderfully written.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
This is the book we’ve selected for the 4th Ladies Lit Squad book club and I have to confess I did watch the TV show before reading the book – but I don’t think it spoiled it. The show stylistically informed how I envisioned Giliad but I still read the story afresh. The overriding emotion I got while reading tis was frustration – imagine being stripped of all your rights and freedoms… It’s the stuff of nightmares. A feminist must-read.
The F Word by Liza Palmer
Another free Kindle book – this is about a formerly fat PR exec and it was TERRIBLE. I don’t know why I bothered finishing it – I think I was expecting some insight into how it feels to have been obese and then navigate the world as a thin person… instead I got a poorly written romance novel.
Silence by Natasha Preston
This was one of those free kindle books that we all get now and again – and by this point in my holiday I was running out of books. It follows Oakley, a teenage girl who is mute. She hasn’t uttered a word for 11 years… but why? It’s blatantly obvious from the first couple of pages that she was sexually abused by her father so you just read on to find out the details and whether he gets brought to justice. This is a trashy novel… but it got me through a layover at Mumbai airport.