Monday, 26 December 2016

Best books of 2016


I thought 2016 had a bit of a slow start when it came to books, but some of the books I've read this year are among the best I've ever read, and I'll be talking about my 10 favourite for years to come.

I made a conscious effort to try and read more books by writers of colour this year, something which bears out in my best of 2016 list (even though I still read more books by white writers, could the fact that the majority of my list is books by non-white people possibly show the really high quality of writing by writers of colour who do get published? Discuss).

There were some notable gaps in my reading this year - I failed to get round to Sarah Perry's much-lauded The Essex Serpent, which I'm now saving for a time when I can savour it, and I skipped most of the Man Booker Prize shortlist because it just didn't capture me this year, plus I've not read as much YA as I did in previous years.

Now, without further ado, here are my 10 favourite books of 2016...

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life review - a trash fire with few redeeming qualities


The Gilmore Girls revival - we've all been waiting for it, wanting to revisit Stars Hollow, hang out with our favourite characters (Emily and Paris, for what it's worth), see who Rory ends up (#TeamJess).

Well, I'm here to tell you the wait was not worth it. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life - made up of four episodes by the show's creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino - is a trash fire with few redeeming qualities. It's horrible and awful, and it features terrible characters who act in terrible ways. In short, it's ruined the original Gilmore Girls forever.

Warning, there are spoilers ahead for all four episodes...

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Book review: The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla

Sometimes a book hits at the right time. The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla and crowdfunded on the publishing platform Unbound, is one of those books.

I'm heartbroken over the result of the EU referendum, saddened and angered by the surge in openly racist attacks, and all round worried about the future of the UK. And even before the referendum, who can have missed the discourse around immigrants in recent months, even years? From Prime Minister David Cameron calling refugees seeking shelter from war a "swarm" to Donald Trump's plans to build a wall between Mexico and America and ban all Muslims from entering the US, it can seem like an awful time to not be white.

So The Good Immigrant is both a soothing balm and a fiery call to action against the ugliness of the world today. As the daughter of immigrants, I have a particular interest in this book, but this collection of essays is essential reading for all human beings. It's not a book of essays where non-white people moan about how they're treated unfairly - it's a collection of nuanced pieces looking at the immigrant experience, providing a state of the nation and serving as an eye-opening agent for change. During my reading I laughed, I fought back tears, I nodded in understanding, I got angry, and I also felt inspired.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Sunday, 17 April 2016

The People v OJ Simpson: American Crime Story - further reading

The People v OJ Simpson. Picture: BBC/Fox
I'm a little bit obsessed with The People v OJ Simpson, and as well as tuning in every week to the TV programme I've been reading a lot around the subject, from pieces of journalism from the time of the trial to think pieces.

If you're as fascinated by me as the case (and you've read the book by Jeffrey Toobin that the show is based on), here is some recommended further reading...

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Book review: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a brilliant story told once needs to be retold for a modern audience, and so it is with Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice, which has been retold by Curtis Sittenfeld as part of The Borough Press' Austen Project.

Moving the action to modern day Cincinnatta, we join the Bennet family as the two oldest daughters, Lizzy and Jane, return home to help their father recover from heart surgery. The Bennet household, with all five daughters under one roof, is chaos, and the house itself is falling apart, although Mrs Bennet is more concerned about seeing her daughters married off, and Chip Bingley is more than perfect for at least one of the girls.

This is the Pride and Prejudice we all know and love, brought bang up to date. Bingley is as shy and naive as in Austen's original, but now he is a doctor - one of the ultimate status symbols in the modern world - and a reality TV star after a stint on Eligible where he searched for (and failed to find) his soulmate. His friend Fitzwilliam Darcy, a neurosurgeon, is as haughty as Darcy in the original, while lovely Jane is a yoga teacher and smart Lizzy is a journalist.

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