Each month we pick four books relating to our monthly theme that we think you should read. Here’s this month’s suggested reading, all linking – in one way or another – to our debut theme of CREATION, of course!
How to be Both by Ali Smith
Split down the middle into two (seemingly disparate) narratives – one of a teenage girl living in the British suburbs of the 1970s, and one of a transgender painter in Renaissance Italy – Ali Smith’s most recent novel looks at the link between what we see and what we create – through the formation of memories and moments, and the creative process that goes into making a work of art. It also depicts, in brilliant fashion, how gender is something we simply construct.
‘Painting, Alberti says, is kind of the opposite to death.’
Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys
Starting over; New places
Good Morning, Midnight is like the under-appreciated older sister of the well-known classic Wide Sargasso Sea. This piece of twirling modernist prose tells the story of Sasha, a young woman who has come to France to start over again, escaping an unknown turbulent past. As well as providing a startling insight into how single women were received in the 1930s, its ever-relevant themes of loneliness and depression make it feel shockingly contemporary.
‘Saved, rescued, fished-up, half drowned, out of the deep, dark river, dry clothes, hair shampooed and set. Nobody would know I had ever been in it.’
Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
Burgeoning beginnings; False starts; Possibility
Best friends Enid and Becky have just graduated from high school. Now it’s the summer before they start new things (college, a job, adulthood) and they face the prospect of growing up and growing apart. It’s extremely funny, highly sarcastic, and a completely accurate portrayal of teenage ennui playing out in a small town. It’s also mega-weird. If you’re yet to read a graphic novel, this is the place you should start.
‘Let’s not and say we did.’
How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
Becoming; Being; Learning; Womanhood
So, you’re reading something on an online platform for female writing: you’ve probably already got this on your shelf. But Moran so effortlessly intertwines the story of growing up and realising what you are, and who you are, with how feminism applies to all of that, that it’s worth picking up again and again. It’ll also make you look back over your own life, and consider the things that made you become who you are.
‘I’m pro big pants. Strident feminism NEEDS big pants.’