Despite going completely off reading fiction over the last year (I blame baby brain!), I’ve managed to get through a few books recently and it’s definitely helped to reignite my love for reading.
I found my focus was non-existent but I could usually stick to anything pretty easy-going – I’m a sucker for something a little obscure at times, so I’ve had to rethink my approach and go for page-turners and anything easy to follow.
Here’s a few I’ve really loved and would recommend if you’re looking for some new material…
Our Wives Under The Sea By Julia Armfield
So this can definitely be filed under ‘obscure’ but I knew I would love it! Julia Armfield’s first book ‘Salt Slow’ is one of my favourite books of all time, it’s a collection of sea-inspired short stories that are so beautifully written. Her haunting prose makes me feel so many emotions, and I’m so glad she carried on this sea theme with Our Wives Under The Sea.
The story follows the aftermath of a deep sea mission which goes on for months longer than expected, and we see the events played out from the perspective of Leah and Miri as they struggle to cope with the changes Leah experiences once back on dry land.
It’s such an interesting concept for a book, I can’t imagine it working in any other format. The way it edged the science-fiction genre but always pulled back in time to focus on the emotional element of trauma, grief and love was so engaging. Every time I thought the book would tackle a conspiracy or a theory on why, it moved away from it which sounds like it could be frustrating but it only ever made perfect sense. Not for the faint of heart but a book that’ll stay with me forever!
You Be Mother by Meg Mason
Another book I read and adored last year was Sorrow and Bliss, so when I saw Meg Mason had another book out I picked it up right away. I loved how timely You Be Mother was for me, it was a really warming pregnancy read and I adored the relationship between young, lost Abi and worldly, wise Phil. The characters were so layered, capable of love but also just as prone to mistakes. It made for a really interesting dynamic that had me picking sides quite often!
I don’t think it was ever going to live up to Sorrow & Bliss, a book I adored so much, but I truly loved You Be Mother – a lovely, warming, heartbreaking look at relationships and motherhood.
Friends Like These by Meg Rosoff
I picked this up on a whim (mainly for the cover) and sped through it, although to be fair it was quite a short read! I had never come across this author and was surprised to see she was older – no shade but I thought this had been written by someone in their 20s! It’s an easygoing, relatable read set against the backdrop of 80’s New York, following naive 18 year old Beth as she arrives in the city to pursue an internship. She meets wild Edie and the two form an intense, unbalanced friendship that unsurprisingly soon burns out.
I do love a coming of age story (extra points when it’s set in New York City!) and this was a lovely, funny and entertaining read!
Ghost Lover by Lisa Taddeo
Lisa Taddeo is back in all her glory with Ghost Lover, a collection of short stories that feels a bit like a mashup of Three Women and Animal in a lot of ways. This is an author with a very specific style, you really can’t fault her consistency when it comes to the themes in her writing. It’s gritty – the kind of thoughts that usually aren’t put to paper, although I admire her willingness to break taboo.
More than a book about heartbreak, these are stories of trauma, grief, obsession and desire – a really open look at womanhood in its vulnerable state. Again, not for the faint of heart but I enjoyed it!
All The Young Men by Ruth Coker Burks
I saw this pop up on Goodreads and purchased it instantly, I find reading about the AIDS epidemic fascinating because it’s so… buried.
A memoir of sorts, All The Young Men is the heroic true story of Ruth, a single mother helping sick and dying young men in a time when everyone else had abandoned them. Set in conservative Arkansas, where the AIDS crisis was being downplayed and even denied, it was up to Ruth to find ways to care for the men who were living out their final days with the virus. A truly inspirational story, and one that really opened my eyes to this massive part of history that is not often spoken about.
Heavy, heartbreaking but well worth a read.
Quite a motley of books there, but all ones I loved so much – and would recommend you add to your reading list if you’re looking for something a bit different!
Have you read any of these?