There’s been a lot happening on the book front this month, with festivals and events and new prizewinners. Maybe that’s why many of our top reads have come pretty much fresh off the shelf. From comics to anthologies to novels, we’ve mostly been buried in some of 2014’s best new releases so far.
Complicit No More curated by Yasmin Gunaratman (2014)
A hugely illuminating collection of essays written by women of colour, Complicit No More explores the diverse intersections of race and gender. From Heidi Mirza’s account of changes in black feminism over the past 30 years to Carolyn Wysinger’s challenge to gendered corporate dress codes as a queer person, the collection asks important questions around crosscutting facets of complicity as they play out within our relationships to our bodies, each other, our communities, to media representations and to mobilization. [Henna]
The Believers by Zoe Heller (2008)
A dark dysfunctional family farce set in New York, recounting the experiences of the liberal Litvinoffs in the aftermath of Joel, a notorious activist and social justice lawyer still practising in his seventies, falling into a coma following a sudden stroke. Skeletons come out of cupboards and family secrets are unearthed as the family attempt to adjust to their confusion and grief and understand themselves and each other. Funny, poignant and wryly-observed, even if the characters are often far from likeable. [Jane]
I came across Kristyna Baczynski at the East London Comics and Art Festival (ELCAF), which took place in Bethnal Green this month. There was a lot of awesome stuff there, but seeing her work for the first time was a bit like ‘why isn’t everybody reading her comics yet!’ Vantage follows a female protagonist as she goes about her boring routine, unaware of all the things that are happening beneath the surface (eyeballs chatting, germs having a disco). And in A Measure of Space, an introvert waits alone in her apartment for a meteorite to hit earth. The drawings are super charming, and the stories are dark and funny. Look her up! [Jenn]"Lord of the Flies with sex - the veracity and starkness of her prose in Part Two will shock in the very best kind of way"
Power Games by Victoria Fox (2014)
Escapist fiction with a twist; Fox’s latest book (out next month) looks at the pros and cons of celebrity and then – startlingly – at base human instinct as the central characters find themselves stranded on a desert island. Lord of the Flies with sex – the veracity and starkness of her prose in Part Two will shock in the very best kind of way. Despite its glammed up cover, this is a beach read with a difference! [Ali]
The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-mi Hwang (2013)
In its native South Korea this book was on bestseller lists for ten years. It follows Sprout the hen, who craves freedom from her monotonous egg-laying life. But when she gets it, it isn’t as peaceful as she imagined. A charming modern fable that contains wisdom for adults too. [Kate]
That’s it for June. If you like what you’ve read, grab a copy! And stay tuned next month for more bitchin book picks from the For Book’s Sake team…