Still can’t believe it’s July and that time is just a human construct because. it. feels. so. damned. real.
Here they are. The best books I’ve picked up this year.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
Read in January – 5/5 stars
It’s like Adichie and Morrison had a lovechild. It’s like Adichie wrote Morrison’s Sula: characters so real you swear you are one of them. I never wanted this to end.
“Grief was not a line, carrying you infinitely further from loss. You never knew when you would be sling-shot backward into its grip.”
Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg (Tr. Eliza Marciniak)
Read in March – 4/5 stars (click here for review)
A series of interconnected coming-of-age vignettes set in rural 1980s Poland. Whimsical with fairy-talesque vibes at times. And the sentence of the year goes to Wioletta for…
“The asphalt glistened like the skin of an aubergine.”
A Horse Walks into A Bar by David Grossman (Tr. Jessica Cohen)
Read in April – 4/5 stars (click here for review)
Very deserving of it’s Man Booker International win, this one’s a poignant, yet hilarious novel about a stand-up comedian’s disintegration.
“Seriously, souls demand non-stop upkeep, don’t they? It never ends! Every single day, all day long, you gotta haul it in for servicing. Am I right or am I right?”
Judas by Amos Oz (Tr. Nicholas de Lange)
Read in April – 5/5 stars (click here for review)
My personal fave of the MBI2017 and I need to read everything Oz has ever written. Don’t be fooled by it’s title – it’s quiet – yet utterly remarkable, a quiet kind of enthralling. Also highly recommend The King of Norway – and Franzen’s reading of it on the podcast is rather grand.
“Anyone willing to change,” Shmuel said, “will always be considered a traitor by those who cannot change and are scared to death of change and don’t understand it and loathe change…”
Girl, Interrupted by Susannah Kaysen
Read in April – 5/5 stars
I literally just wrote about this here. Why it took me so long to read this one I’ll never know. Think The Bell Jar but real life diary entries.
“People ask, How did you get in there? What they really want to know is if they are likely to end up in there as well. I can’t answer the real question. All I can tell them is, It’s easy.”
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
Read in May – 5/5 stars (click here for review)
An eloquent conversation on identity politics in today’s world with a thriller vibe. In places it had me thinking of Murakami’s Norwegian Wood – imagine that!?
“It is remarkable indeed how we human beings are capable of delighting in the mating call of a flower while we are surrounded by the charred carcasses of our fellow animals.”
The Accusation by Bandi
Read in June – 5/5 stars
Slightly terrifying, brutally human stories smuggled out of North Korea. Yes you read that right. Fiction based on real life under Kim Il-Sung’s presidency.
“But, depending on the circumstances, he knew that even crying could be construed as an act of rebellion, for which, in this country, there was only one outcome- a swift and ruthless death.”
from, ‘So Near, Yet So Far’
Hunger: A Memoir of (my) Body by Roxane Gay
Read in July – 5/5 stars
Roxane Gay is one my personal faves. This book drove me to tears. She is just so honest and eloquent.
“What does it say about our culture that the desire for weight loss is considered a default feature of womanhood?”
And, you’re welcome!
I hope you pick up one of these beauties this year :’)
What have been your READ-OR-DIE’s of 2017 so far?
do svidaniya my friends, xx