book reviews

I haven't written one of my round-up posts since March, and although there isn't really much to say in terms of highlights, I wanted to chat about what I've been consuming. Because there's been A LOT of good stuff. Some that's been noted on my phone to read/watch for a while, some that's new releases and some that's been suggested and hotly discussed in the wake of the latest wave in the BLM movement. 
Like most people, I've been making use of this extra time at home to fly through my TBR pile so let's talk books first. Because boy have I been reading fast.

book recommendations

What I've Read:
  • Jog On by Bella Mackie - This one's been sat on my shelf since last year and I'm glad I finally got around to reading it because not only did it resonate so much with me, but it was the push I needed to get out running. My mental health has been a rollercoaster in lockdown but running has been quite the saviour!
  • Normal People by Sally Rooney - This has been scrawled on the Notes app in my phone to buy for months and I finally ordered it in May so I could read it before watching the newly released Series. Oh my God, I don't think I've loved a book this much in a long long time. It follows the story of Connel and Marianne, two seemingly mismatched teenagers who keep coming together. The writing style, the characters, just everything!
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo - Another book that I absolutely adored. This was such a different style in telling the stories of 12 different women across the UK and how they interlink, covering such real and raw topics around race, gender and class. Evaristos writing is delightful and I've already added her other work to my list.
  • Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins-Reid - Telling the fictional story of a 70's rock band, this was the fun, light-hearted read that lockdown needed. I loved the interview style and the twist in revealing the interviewer at the end. It's a book that really transports you to the era in which it's set.
  • Validate Me by Charly Cox - Besides the dreaded Anthology at school, I've not read all that much poetry before. But I've been following Charly on Instagram for a couple of years now and love her work. After I read 'She Must Be Mad' last year and loved it, I knew 'Validate Me' would be the same. It's a nice break from the fiction/non-fiction cycle!
  • Us by David Nicholls - As a big fan of One Day, I've been meaning to read more of Nicholls work for a while now, so finding Us for 99p in a Charity shop back in February seemed like fate. After Douglas' wife Connie announces she plans to leave him and the family home after their son leaves for University, this book follows their final summer as they go all out on a long-anticipated roadtrip across Europe. It was kind of heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time and just a really wonderful read.
  • Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams - One you've probably seen all over social media recently! Queenie is a 20-something Black woman navigating life after taking a break from her relationship. It covers mental health, race, class and consent while remaining to be a laugh out loud read. I rated this 5 stars on GoodReads and, I don't regret that because I did enjoy it, but it was also a very basic writing-style and some of the issues I don't think were dealt with as deeply as they could've been. A nice quick read!
  • Emma by Jane Austen - I mentioned in my last round-up post that I'm trying to read more classics this year and Emma was number 2 on that list. I love the story, but it's in parts quite lengthy where it doesn't need to be and with the old language, I sometimes had to read sentences twice through. It's still one I'd recommend as I do love the characterisation and the plot.
  • Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Renni Eddo-Lodge - Embarassingly, this was on my list to buy when it first came out but I never got around to picking it up because I wanted to read fiction more. So with the latest BLM movement this was always going to be the first book I picked up. And there's a reason it is so highly recommended. Covering history of race issues in the UK, whitewashed feminism and the link between race and class this is an absolute essential read for everyone about what it's like to be Black in the UK today.
  • Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney - After how much I loved Normal People, I knew I had to read this ASAP. It's the tale of a complex menage-a-quatre with 21-year-old Frances at the centre and initially, I wasn't all that sold from the blurb. I absolutely loved it though because Sally Rooney is a genius.
  • I Will Not Be Erased by gal-dem - A book that was brought to mention in the wave of resources being shared alongside the BLM movement. Gal-dem is an online and print publication by women of colour and non-binary people of colour. The book shares stories of different members often in the style of diary entries to their younger selves. It was a great eye-opening read that I'm strongly recommending.
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris - I am very late to the party with this I know, but it's been falling to the bottom of my TBR pile for the past year until I decided it was time to pull it out. Based on a true story, I found this such a harrowing read but also an essential read. I'm now reading the sequel, Cilka's journey...

In terms of what I've been watching lately, I've made a conscious effort to watch a wider variety of things, whether that be documentaries/films/TV series. A mixture of topics to educate and enjoy!

tv recommendations

What I've Watched:
  • Manifest Season 2 - It's such a bizarre yet gripping series about the return of a missing plane. At times it seems very predictable but I still love to get lost in it.
  • Moonlight - A film I've been wanting to see for a long time, but if I can't add it to my list on Netflix and I don't catch it whilst it's on SkyMovies, then things slip under the radar. I paid to rent it on Prime a few weeks back and it was a really powerful watch.
  • For Sama - A documentary available on 4 On Demand in which Waad Al-Kateab films across 5 years of her life during the uprising in Aleppo. It's a harrowing look into the female experience of war, but one I would recommend everyone watch immediately. 
  • Afterlife Season 2 - This show perfectly balances the line between heartbreakingly sad and laugh-out-loud funny. It's widely popular for a reason and a great watch whether you've dealt with grief or not.
  • Normal People - After loving the book as much as I did I was kinda scared this wouldn't live up to it. But OMG! It was everything I could've dreamt of and more, it's clear that Sally Rooney had a hand in the writing of the show because it resembles the book so closely.
  • Booksmart - I wanted to see this at the cinema when it was first released but it wasn't at all locations and there were few showings near me. It's then taken me far too long to get round to watching it, and I didn't love it, but I enjoyed it. There were too many toe-curling moments and too many lucky coincidences that I couldn't see past but it was still a heart-warming coming of age.
  • BlacKKKlansman - An old work colleague recommended this to me a few months back so when I saw it was on SkyMovies I set it to record immediately. It was quite a shocking watch, especially knowing that the racism, the police brutality and the presence of the KKK are still rife in 2020. 
  • Once Upon A Time In Hollywood - I'd seen a lot of hype around this last year and after watching it, I don't really get it?? The end especially was pretty horrific, but the whole film didn't seem to have much of a plot? 
  • American Son - Based on a Broadway play of the same name, this sees an enstranged couple reunite at a Chicago police station when their son goes missing. It shows the intrinsic racism within the police force and is a must-see for all.
  • 13th - A Netflix Original Documentary that looks at the history of race and the criminal justice system in America. There are some pretty shocking statistics that I wasn't previously aware of, so is quite the essential viewing the educate yourselves on mass incarceration and how it is deemed an extension of slavery.
  • The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson - As I write this post, I've just watched this today and it was a very emotional look at such a leading force in the Stonewall uprising and how trans women are failed so often. 
What's your favourite thing you've read/watched recently?

Loves. Emma.