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Three books we’ve read and loved recently 📚

Three books we’ve read and loved recently 📚

It’s almost too easy to recommend this debut because it’s short, beautifully written and has all the depth of our favourite American family stories (think Tayari Jones meets Brit Bennett). This time we are firmly in the South, following three generations of women in one family: Hazel, her daughters Miriam and August, and her granddaughter Joan.

Much of the story takes place in the 90s as Miriam flees her violent marriage and returns to stay with her sister August in their childhood home. There are also flashbacks to Hazel’s youth in Memphis of the 40s and 50s with scenes of racism, prejudice and her own activism. In the early 2000s we follow Joan, now an adult visual artist, heading off to university and working to make herself heard.

Stringfellow shares her insider-knowledge with precious local details. You’ll be swept along by descriptions of the music, the smells, the heat and the culture of Memphis itself. With themes of inheritance, resilience and love, this book left us on an emotional high, inspired by the connection and power in a community of women.

Shit Cassandra Saw by
Gwen E. Kirby

We'll read any book that is positioned as Margaret Atwood meets Buffy and we're so glad we did because this short story collection was exceptional (and a whole lot of fun). Scathing and furiously feminist, the stories are as dark as they are funny, as zany as they are shocking, as subverted as they are relatable. Virgins escape from being sacrificed, witches refuse to be burned, whores aren't ashamed, and every woman gets a chance to be a radioactive cockroach warrior who snaps back at catcallers. When these women tell the stories of their triumphs as well as their pain, they emerge as funny, angry, loud, horny, lonely, strong protagonists who refuse to be secondary characters a moment longer. Just glorious!

Is it possible to feel your brain buzzing after the mental gymnastics of a great novel? The Candy House is a trip - shifting through a range of characters, voices, and narrative styles. For fans of Jennifer Egan, this approach will come as no surprise, and you’ll no doubt be delighted (and amused, and discomfited) to find some of the characters from her cult hit A Visit from The Goon Squad reappearing here. If you’re new to Jennifer Egan, this book absolutely works as a stand-alone and a great introduction to her wild and prodigious skills.

Set in an alternative near-future, the plot is built around the idea that Bix Bouton, a brilliant entrepreneur, has invented the technology to download individual human memory to an external device. The consequences of various characters sharing, or refusing to share, blocking or accessing the memories of themselves and others is what connects these fascinating, funny and terrifying stories. Try not to freak out when the publisher says, “The Candy House is a bold, brilliant imagining of a world that is moments away.”

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