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Friday Book Debrief Vol 53

HELLO HELLO Friday is here and that means you get to read another Friday debrief!

You know the drill, every week some of our glorious writers let us know what they have been reading this week. As always the full list is also available for easy browsing in our US and UK Bookshops! If you buy any of the books in our shops, not only are you actively supporting us and our work but you are also supporting independent bookstores with 10% of your purchase going directly to them at no extra cost to yourself, and all carbon emissions are offset! Good vibes all round. Now enough chat, big love and here is this week's debrief!

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand - Melissa

I haven't started this one yet, but anytime I see an Elin Hilderbrand that I haven't read, I simply must pick it up. I love sad books, and 'bittersweet' is used as a descriptor for this one frequently in its reviews. I can't wait to cry!

Buy it from our Bookshops - US & UK.


America Calling: A Foreign Student in a Country of Possibility by Rajika Bhandari - Maggie

From a press that focuses on voices from marginalized women, I am so excited to start digging into this memoir. I am four chapters in and already learning a lot about the international student experience with all its wonder, confusion, and loneliness.

Buy it from our Bookshops - Preorder for September 2021 - US


Song of the Crocodile by Nardi Simpson - Cat

This is a powerful family saga that delves into racism, colonisation and intergenerational trauma. Song of the Crocodile tracks three generations of the Billymil family in Darnmoor, an outback town in Australia. It's beautifully written and absolutely heartbreaking.

- Not available at any of our Bookshops, call your local library or your closest independent bookstore to source!


All My Mothers by Joanna Glen - Courtney

After reading and loving The Other Half Of Augusta Hope (UK) many years ago I was thrilled to find that Joanna Glen was releasing another book this year. Due out in August, Glen gives us another incredibly rich life saga starting from at the musings of a young girl and growing into something incredibly profound and considerate. I am only halfway through but I adore this book so much. The imagery is so strong I almost feel like I can smell the orange trees.

Buy it from our Bookshops - US & UK.


You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat - Mel

I’m reminded quite a bit of Pizza Girl (US & UK) —another book with an odd, queer narrator— and though the tone and style of storytelling here won’t be for everyone, I’m impressed by how intentional the inclusion or obscuring of every detail is. It’s a great work of literary fiction.

Buy it from our Bookshops - US & UK.


The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson - Karen

I love historical fiction because it allows me to travel through history but not be a passive traveler. I am walking alongside someone who has given me a glimpse into their life through a historical context. I see their bleeding hearts and it makes the historical events that they've lived through more vivid and visceral. In The Salt Roads, I visit Mer, a healer, who is in modern day Haiti, enslaved, and in love with Tipingee. She helps people as best as she can and is wary of Francois Makandal and his designs for rebellion. In the same book I visit Jeanne Duval, Charles Baudelaire's lover, who just wants the economic stability she's never had. Then we go back in time to ca. 400 CE, where Thathis just wants to go away from Alexandria for a bit and visit Aelia Capitolina (Jerusalem but, you know, colonized by the Romans at this time). It is a tale of a spirit that is seeking to travel through worlds and time as they find their movement. It is a tale of three women that are not talked about in history but yet their impact was felt. It is superb in its use of language, with every sentence striking your literary soul. It is Nalo Hopkinson and definitely a high recommendation. I am truly loving it so far.

Sadly we don't have this title in either of our Bookshops, so please do call your library or ask at your local independent bookstore.

Meanwhile, you can check out So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Visions of the Future which is "an anthology of original new stories by leading African, Asian, South Asian and Aboriginal authors, as well as North American and British writers of color" Edited by Nalo Hopkinson and featuring Opal Palmer Adisa, Tobias Buckell, Wayde Compton, Hiromi Goto, Andrea Hairston, Tamai Kobayashi, Karin Lowachee, Devorah Major, Carole McDonnell, Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, Eden Robinson, Nisi Shawl, Vandana Singh, Sheree Renee Thomas and Greg Van Eekhout. You can get this one from our Bookshops - US & UK.


The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans - Aleks

I've been sitting with this one for a while, ever since burning through it back at the beginning of June in a four-hour binge-read. As a lover of the #intenseshortstory, I thought I was well prepared by having Carmen Maria Machado, Sheila Heti, and Roxane Gay in my back pocket. I wasn't ready, and I was blown away.

Buy it from our Bookshops - US & UK.


Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia - Nikki

Rebecca vibes. Enough said. About 100 pages from the end of this and can’t wait to see how it ends.

Buy it from our Bookshops - US & UK.

Whilst you're at it, you can also maybe revisit Rebecca..? - US & UK.


Heaven by Mieko Kawakami, Translated from the Japanese by Sam Bett and David Boyd - Jessica Maria

I loved Kawakami's Breast and Eggs (US & UK) when I read it earlier this year. Upon my first bookstore 're-entry' since early 2020, I grabbed at this new translated release by the burgeoning Japanese writer. This one is much shorter, and is narrated by a middle school-age boy who is bullied every day, and who finds friendship in a classmate facing similar circumstances. Heart wrenching and pensive, I'm loving it.

Buy it from our Bookshops - US


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