Hosted by Taking on a World of Words, this meme is all about the three Ws:
- What are you currently reading?
- What did you recently finish reading?
- What do you think you’ll read next?
Why not join in too? Leave a comment with your link at Taking on a World of Words and then go blog hopping!
Twenty-Eight Pounds Ten Shillings: A Windrush Story by Tony Fairweather (eARC, HopeRoad Publishing)
After World War Two the call went out to the British Empire for volunteers to help rebuild the ‘Mother Country’. Young men and women from different Caribbean islands were quick to respond, paying the considerable sum of £28.10s to board HMT Empire Windrush – the ‘ship of dreams’ that would take them to their new lives.
The motives and back-stories of these West Indian people is a key part of the Windrush story, one that has never been fully told. This powerful narrative reveals what happened on board that ship, was packed with young, excited people who had never before left their parents, their parishes – let alone their islands. In the course of the memorable two-week voyage there were parties, friendships, fights, gambling, racism, sex – and discussions of God and love.
Portable Magic: A History of Books and their Readers by Emma Smith (Allen Lane)
Most of what we say about books is really about their contents: the rosy nostalgic glow for childhood reading, the lifetime companionship of a much-loved novel. But books are things as well as words, objects in our lives as well as worlds in our heads. And just as we crack their spines, loosen their leaves and write in their margins, so they disrupt and disorder us in turn. All books are, as Stephen King put it, ‘a uniquely portable magic’. In this thrilling new history, Emma Smith shows us why.
Portable Magic unfurls an exciting, iconoclastic and ambitious new story of the book in human hands, exploring when, why and how it acquired its particular hold over humankind. Gathering together a millennium’s worth of pivotal encounters with volumes big and small, Smith compellingly argues that, as much as their contents, it is books’ physical form – their ‘bookhood’ – that lends them their distinctive and sometimes dangerous magic. From the Diamond Sutra to Jilly Cooper’s Riders, to a book made of wrapped slices of cheese, Smith uncovers how this composite artisanal object has, for centuries, embodied and extended relationships between readers, nations, ideologies and cultures, in significant and unpredictable ways. She celebrates the rise of the mass-market paperback, and dismantles the myth that print began with Gutenberg; she reveals how our reading habits have been shaped by American soldiers, and proposes a new definition of a ‘classic’. Ultimately, Smith illuminates the ways in which our relationship with the written word is more reciprocal – and more turbulent – than we tend to imagine: for better or worse, books do not simply reflect humankind, but have also defined who we are, turning us into the readers they would like to have.
Only May by Carol Lovekin (Honno)
The White Girl by Tony Birch (HarperCollins)
Odette Brown has lived her entire life on the fringes of Deane, a small Australian country town. Dark secrets simmer beneath the surface of Deane – secrets that could explain why Odette’s daughter, Lila, left her one-year-old daughter, Sissy, and never came back, or why Sissy has white skin when her family is Aboriginal.
For thirteen years, Odette has quietly raised her granddaughter without drawing notice from welfare authorities who remove fair-skinned Aboriginal children from their families. But the arrival of a new policeman with cruel eyes and a rigid by-the-book attitude throws the Brown women’s lives off-kilter. It will take all of Odette’s courage and cunning to save Sissy from the authorities, and maybe even lead her to find her daughter.
Bolstered by love, smarts, and the strength of their ancestors, Odette and Sissy are an indomitable force, handling threats to their family and their own identities with grace and ingenuity, while never losing hope for themselves and their future. (Review to follow for blog tour)
Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov (Vintage)
Viktor is an aspiring writer with only Misha, his pet penguin, for company. Although he would prefer to write short stories, he earns a living composing obituaries for a newspaper. He longs to see his work published, yet the subjects of his obituaries continue to cling to life. But when he opens the newspaper to see his work in print for the first time, his pride swiftly turns to terror. He and Misha have been drawn into a trap from which there appears to be no escape. (Review to follow)
What Cathy (will) Read Next
Young Women by Jessica Moor (eARC, Zaffre)
Everyone’s got that history, I guess. Everyone’s got a story.
When Emily meets the enigmatic and dazzling actress Tamsin, her life changes. Drawn into Tamsin’s world of Soho living, boozy dinners, and cocktails at impossibly expensive bars, Emily’s life shifts from black and white to technicolour and the two women become inseparable. Tamsin is the friend Emily has always longed for; beautiful, fun, intelligent and mysterious and soon Emily is neglecting her previous life – her work assisting vulnerable women, her old friend Lucy – to bask in her glow. But when a bombshell news article about a decades-old sexual assault case breaks, Emily realises that Tamsin has been hiding a secret about her own past. Something that threatens to unravel everything . . .