I used to read a lot. I have childhood memories of being so engrossed in a novel, that I'd read all day, only stopping when I realised it had grown dark and my eyes were straining to read the text. University pretty much put an end to that book worm behaviour, as so much of my time was spent reading what I had to read for my course that when I had spare time, I chose to spend it vegetating in front of some vapid reality TV show (Keeping up with the Kardashians and Biggest Loser were my particular favourites).
Now that I am sufficiently distanced from University to no longer associate reading with exams, presentations, essays or general academic pressure, I've been making a conscious effort to read more. I thought I would share a few of my recent favourites.
Angela Carter - The Magic Toyshop
This was the first Angela Carter I've read, and I'm itching to discover more of her work now. This was utterly disturbing, compelling and transportative and I recently spent an evening in a pub trying to persuade my friend to introduce it to her book club. It's the kind of novel where you're not entirely sure what is real and what isn't, or indeed if any of it is. The whole text felt to me a little like a dream sequence, or perhaps a nightmare, and it was one I didn't really want to wake up from.
Emma Jane Unsworth - Animals
I spent much of my time reading this book photographing sections of prose and sending them on to my friends, as I've never read more accurate descriptions of what it feels like to be a young British woman. To me, it's about friendship and relationships and how, ultimately, the person you have to care about most is yourself, but it's all seen through the blur of the wine and pill fuelled night and the anxious hangover haze thereafter. As soon as I finished it I shoved it in a jiffy bag and sent it off to Sarah, who loved it as much as I did.
Head For the Edge, Keep Walking - Kate Tough
I struggled with this book initially. Although the prose is beautiful, I found it bleak and found myself wanting to shake the main character into action and get her to buck up her ideas. Ultimately, however, I stayed up until 3am one night to finish it. Whilst I'm yet far from my thirties, the pressures described in this novel that women face with regards to relationships and reproduction are incredibly relatable. The madness of internet dating, the desire to find a fulfilling career, the difficulties in friendships when your paths suddenly dramatically diverge; it's all in here, and it's wonderfully, wittily written and pretty darn funny too.
What are you reading at the moment? Do you have any recommendations for me?