September brought all the new term feelings, particularly heightened by something of a return to ‘normal’ following the many levels of lockdown we have all been through. Still, we treated ourselves to new stationery sets and made resolutions to face into Autumn with positivity in the face of everything.
Here’s what the Willoughby team have been reading this month.
Tall Bones by Anna Bailey
Emma and Abi are best friends in their home town of Whistling Ridge. At seventeen, they are just beginning their lives and one night, whilst at a party in the woods, Emma leaves Abi behind not knowing this will be the last time she will ever see her. Emma tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her best friends disappearance but everyone has secrets and a different version of events of that night.
This is a claustrophobic and dark tale of small town America with a whole cast of toxic characters. Bailey writes incredibly well to expose the cracks in this community which leads to the truth about what happened to Abi.
Afropean by Johny Pitts
Part travelogue, part memoir, part social history, Afropean charts Johny Pitts’ travels across Europe in a self-funded exploration for black communities and how they are forging identities in the countries they reside in.
It’s an entertaining, informative, often quite bleak read with some valuable insights into the various communities he visits and the issues surrounding modern forms of segregation and deprivation in seemingly liberal cities, such as Paris, Stockholm and Lisbon.
I appreciated Pitts’ intersectional exploration of race and social class and how these two aspects of identity inform each other, particularly when he discusses his own background as a mixed race, working class man from a deprived area of Sheffield.
It’s an interesting, anecdotal read and definitely worth a read if you’re interested in the history of black presence in modern Europe.
The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell
I especially liked the different timelines, the private school & village setting & how the story is told from different characters perspectives.
To be honest, I did guess what had happened, but it hasn’t changed my opinion on how good the book was.
I finished this book in days and have already recommended it to friends. I can’t wait for the next one!
Who’s Loving You: Love Stories by Women of Colour Edited by Sareeta Domingo
This is a lovely collection of stories all by very talented women writers. It was really refreshing to read about People of Colour falling in love in all sorts of ways, especially as there has been, and still is, a lack in these types of stories.
They all explore love and the way it can be felt and portrayed, yet each story is different in its own way and you can’t help but want to know more.
I really enjoyed this book for its stories but also for the way all the characters are portrayed as just normal people, because that’s what they are. It didn’t need a race related traumatic event to happen to show us that this is a good or important book.
Representation matters in all sorts of media we consume and it makes me so happy that I am able to read a book full of stories by women of all different ethnicities and diverse backgrounds.