Books My Portfolio Recents

November In Books

"It's the kind of book that causes you to lose sleep, forget to eat, miss your train stop and cancel drinks with your friends."

Magpie – Elizabeth Day

Elizabeth Day delivers stories that are impossible to put down; Magpie was simultaneously a huge eye opener and riveting novel. A few years ago I read her previous work of fiction, The Party, and remember feeling exactly the same way; completely, utterly and indescribably captivated. Reading Magpie was like how I would imagine being in a trance. It’s the kind of book that causes you to lose sleep, forget to eat, miss your train stop and cancel drinks with your friends.

One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy.

For all the progress we’ve made, issues around fertility are rarely discussed in public and still remain very much taboo. Magpie enlightened me to the problems many couples face, and all too often completely in private. In her domestic noir Elizabeth portrays the extent of painful despair and longing experienced by those struggling to conceive.

Magpie is a stark reminder to be kind and patient to everyone around us. We have no idea what they might be going through.

Chemical Warrior – Hamish de Bretton-Gordon

Since reading Chemical Warrior, I realise that if there’s anything us millennials lack, it’s perspective. Hamish’s descriptions of Syria over the last twenty years are grotesque to say the least, and the lengths he and many others have gone to in attempts to bring around justice are indescribably courageous. Hamish does not view his own comfortable circumstances as a reason to remain sheltered and turn a blind eye, and throughout his book he reminds us that Syria is in fact surrounded by the Mediterranean, not a great distance from where we passively reside. Before reading Hamish’s book I knew very little about chemical weapons, and I’m ashamed of how obtuse this was considering the extent of the issue and the concern chemical and biological attacks continue to raise. The cruel hardship innocent civilians face in war-torn countries had me in tears while reading this book, and made me feel incredibly lucky to have been brought up somewhere free from war and the destruction and tragedy it leaves in its wake.

The Joy Of Small Things – Hannah Jane Parkinson

Described by Nigella Lawson as a book that is a ‘not-so-small joy in itself,’ The Joy Of Small Things is made up of 109 miniature essays describing the simple pleasures in life; everything from ‘Antique Shopping’ and ‘Foreign Idioms’ to ‘Chocolate.’ I recommend reading Hannah’s book not from start-to-finish, but keeping it as something to flick through when in search of a little pick-me-up. Her personal struggles with depression have meant she’s worked hard to carve out the joy in everyday life, and in publishing this book she has provided us all with a shortcut to feeling happier.

My Body – Emily Ratajkowski

Before she published her book, I had only heard of Emily Ratajkowski through the controversial music video she featured in with Robin Thicke (Blurred Lines), and in an era where it appears that everybody with a touch-of- fame is ‘writing’ a book, my expectations were relatively low. However, I was proved wrong as I sat down in a comfy chair on a stormy Saturday afternoon, and didn’t get up until I had read the whole thing.

My Body is comprised of a series of essays wherein she shares with us her experiences in the modelling industry, her upbringing and her reflections on life thus far. Emily has lived an extraordinary life, making me struggle to comprehend why I was finding myself able to relate to some of her thoughts and feelings. Reading up on reviews, I realised I wasn’t alone.

After reading My Body I discovered that Emily had written to Stephanie Danler to ask her for some help with writing her essays. Stephanie Danler’s Sweebitter remains a firm favourite, and I also really enjoyed her memoir; Stray. I then instantly recognised in Emily’s book that particular style that has me feeling superglued to a book.

I’m attending her book tour tomorrow evening where she’ll be interviewed by Pandora Sykes – stay tuned in on Instagram @mademoiselle_ldn_ to find out more!

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