Bimonthly Book Haul

Bi-monthly she said, well that didn’t happen did it. I went on a wildly unsuccessful book buying ban, and due to the country shutting down and my brush with Covid-19 I didn’t managed to read many books let alone buy ’em but now we’re back baby. This is going to be a bit of a long clean-up post so we can get back on track with this whole book haul thing, and so I can call myself out for buying books and then forgetting about them like a fool. There’ll also be no ARCs in this post because I did, somehow, manage to resist requesting advanced reader copies and I’m quite proud of myself!

Bought

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Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2021: Book Haul

Recently I’ve been falling a little in love with literary fiction. I’m not usually the biggest fan, and I don’t normally review this genre on the blog, but lockdown has got me stepping outside my comfort zone. It all started with Boy Parts back in August (which I did review btw), then I went on to read Breasts and Eggs, and after the Women’s Prize for Fiction’s longlist was announced I figured I’d pick up a few of the nominated titles.

I decided I would pick the books based entirely on the blurbs, no reading other peoples reviews, so it would feel like I’d wandered into Waterstones and happened upon them. Is this the best way to buy books? maybe not, but it has made me really excited to sit down and fully immerse myself in their worlds. So, I figured I would make a little list of my purchases so you can see which blurbs ended up catching my eye, and what I’m planning on reading before they announce the winner in a few months. I may have already finished Luster and I’m about halfway through Detransition, Baby so I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to rise to this challenge!

Luster by Raven Leilani
White book cover with a picture of the lower half of a black woman's face, she is wearing read lipstick. 
White text reads: Luster
Orange text reads: Raven Leilani

Edie is just trying to survive. She’s messing up in her dead-end admin job in her all-white office, is sleeping with all the wrong men, and has failed at the only thing that meant anything to her, painting. No one seems to care that she doesn’t really know what she’s doing with her life beyond looking for her next hook-up. And then she meets Eric, a white, middle-aged archivist with a suburban family, including a wife who has sort-of-agreed to an open marriage and an adopted black daughter who doesn’t have a single person in her life who can show her how to do her hair. As if navigating the constantly shifting landscape of sexual and racial politics as a young black woman wasn’t already hard enough, with nowhere else left to go, Edie finds herself falling head-first into Eric’s home and family.

Goodreads: Luster by Raven Leilani

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Review: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Goodreads: Piranesi
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Buy: Bookshop.org UK | US
Synopsis: Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

There is one other person in the house—a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

Review: This book, gosh this book it’s just so gorgeous. The world that Susanna Clarke builds in Piranesi is so sumptuous and mysterious, I was instantly drawn in and this book effortlessly became a five star read for me.

The novel is actually a set of journal entries written by Piranesi himself. This format can be a little jarring, but Piranesi is so knowledgeable and fascinating as a character that this feeling left as soon as it came. Piranesi makes you take your time reading it, I’m a notoriously quick reader, but my pace dramatically slowed so I could absorb all of the details. Our protagonist takes his time explaining his world and how it works in minute detail, and so despite it’s short length the story feels so fleshed out and gorgeous.

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Best of 2020

Soo normally I’d split this out into a few smaller posts about the books, games, and films I’ve loved this year, but instead I’ve decided to pull together a big behemoth post about the things that have touched my ice-cold heart!

Books

So this years first place on Nia’s list of absolutely amazing reads was hotly contested. I have read some absolutely wonderful mind-bendingly good books this year, but one really stood out for me.

Eliza Clark’s incredible debut novel Boy Parts published with Influx Press is my book of the year! This book was a perfect example of unreliable narrator done well, and the book itself feels more than a little hallucinogenic. Boy Parts will be one I’ll come back to again and again just to drink in the detail, it’s dark, gritty, and I cannot wait to read what Clark writes next.
My Full Review
Buy Direct from Influx

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Bimonthly Book Haul

I actually really enjoyed pulling together this post for June, and so, I figured I would do it again by combining July and August! Some of these you may have already seen (because I’ve already reviewed them), but I thought it would be fun to give you a sneak preview at some of my reading plans.

Bought

So after my thorough enjoyment of Boy Parts I desperately wanted to bring more literary fiction into my to be read, so I decided Breasts and Eggs would be next. I’m hoping to have the review for that & Midnight Sun up in the next few weeks!

ARC’s

I got approved for some really exciting books over the past few weeks, most of them I’ll be reading closer to their pub dates but holy moly am I excited. I may have already read Addie LaRue, but the review won’t come out until September, and if you had any doubts about pre-ordering you shouldn’t, the book is incredible.

Well that’s all for now folks! Take care of yourselves out there ❤

Review: Boy Parts by Eliza Clark

Goodreads: Boy Parts
Publisher: Influx Press
Buy the Book from Influx and support an Indie Press
Synopsis: Irina obsessively takes explicit photographs of the average-looking men she persuades to model for her, scouted from the streets of Newcastle.

Placed on sabbatical from her dead-end bar job, she is offered an exhibition at a fashionable London gallery, promising to revive her career in the art world and offering an escape from her rut of drugs, alcohol, and extreme cinema. The news triggers a self-destructive tailspin, centred around Irina’s relationship with her obsessive best friend, and a shy young man from her local supermarket who has attracted her attention…

Review: Trigger warnings: Violence, drug abuse, sexual assault, and Alcohol abuse

This book definitely isn’t my usual shtick but it caught my eye on twitter, and it came with an adorable tote that definitely doesn’t reflect the tone of the book, but I had to have it! It has been a while since a contemporary has affected me quite so deeply, so I felt I just had to review it on the blog.

Boy Parts is a three hundred page hallucinogenic trip filled to the brim with dark humour. It’s unflinching in the way it tackles female rage and I’ve honestly never read anything like it so of course, I absolutely devoured every word.

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