Looking back on September, I was certain that I’d done much more reading that I did. Barely a moment passed where I wasn’t cosied up in some corner of the house with my nose buried in a book! But, now I realise I funneled most of my time into a fiction that didn’t really quite meet my expectations. And, given everything that’s going on in the world, I’m not going to beat myself up for only managing to read two books this month.
Fattily Ever After by Stephanie Yeboah
This month I just had to support my girl Steph and her debut book, Fattily Ever After! Written in her unmistakable, hilarious and unflappable tone, Fattily Ever After is a brilliant dive into the body positivity movement, its origins and beyond, from a Black woman’s perspective. I found it endearing, insightful and knowledgeable, and I gained a lot from it. Of course I read the book from a position of privilege as a non-Black, straight-sized woman, but I found it to be incredibly illuminating. Steph shares her own experiences as well as those of others, and she shines the spotlights on fellow creators, advocates and people to keep an eye out for.
Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
“On a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the Thames, the regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories when the door bursts open and in steps an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a child. Hours later, the dead girl stirs, takes and breath and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? And who does the little girl belong to?”
Disappointingly, I didn’t enjoy this book at all. I’m usually a big fan of historical fiction and magical realism, so this title completely sucked me in. However I found that Setterfield’s meandering prose wandered just a touch too far afield for me. The expansive cast of characters meant I found it hard to anchor towards any particular one, and in turn I found it difficult to gel with the plot. Poetic and beautiful as many passages of this novel were, ultimately it wasn’t for me and the latter half felt like a real struggle to get through.
My October TBR List
- The Overstory by Richard Powers
- Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
- Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie
Which books did you read and, more importantly, enjoy in September?