After my epic fail of reading one singular book in June, I was adamant to change that in July. As the pandemic rages on, my concentration span continues to be shot and without a commute to devote reading hours to, I’ve still found it hard to sit down and just read. (But at least my Animal Crossing island and channels are doing well!)
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
One of the best books I read last year was The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I think about it constantly, and so I was excited to read another of her books. A colleague sent me her copy of The Goldfinch and I’ve been slowly ploughing through it for a few weeks. Admittedly it isn’t quite as good as TSH. Tartt’s way with words is truly incomparable, it’s poetic and fluid and plunges you into immersive little universes without second thought. However I suppose I struggled with the plot and how little you truly get from the protagonist; I never quite connected with him like I have in other similar novels.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Editor’s Note (November 2020): I recently learned that Ngozi Adichie holds – and has historically held – transphobic views. I will no longer be supporting her work, and encourage you to do your own research around the topic. This review remains true, however.
Adichie’s Americanah has been on my to-be-read list for years, and shamefully it took me until now to pick it up. My word. What a read. Ifemulu and Obinze are a young, Nigerian couple. Their paths take them to America and England, and we are taken on a whirlwind journey as Ide navigates life as a newly Black woman. Race and such labels have never been imposed on her until she became a ‘foreigner’. I absolutely loved Americanah; Adichie’s writing is smart. It’s funny, fluid, quick with wit and full of life. What I enjoyed the most is how Adichie was completely unapologetic about weaving in frank discussions about race and anti-Blackness whilst seamlessly moving the plot of her story along. The two move hand in hand and it forces you to gaze on the very real issues in the world, to understand and know the micro-aggressions and nuanced Black experiences faced by Black women today. One to pick up right now.
The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla
I first read The Good Immigrant two or so years ago on a library loan, and I recall having to fight back tears as I ploughed through the chapters. Edited by Nikesh Shukla, this collection of essays shines a light on the stories of first- and second-generation immigrants in the UK. If you enjoy reading my British-born Chinese posts, you’ll find a lot to sink your teeth into with this book. There are stories by Black writers, Chinese writers, Indian writers; at the heart of them all, is Britishness and exploring what it means to be a minority in a country that doesn’t want you to win. I related to almost every experience in there. I hope if you read it too, you take something away from it.
What have you been reading, or listening to, recently?