Whatcha reading Emma?
Updated: Sep 14, 2020
Since graduating, what have I been reading?
After the two week, cold-turkey break from reading that comes after finally submitting the fateful dissertation, I was overwhelmed by the idea that I could read anything from now on. There was no longer a set reading list to subscribe to.
So, where to start?
Oddly, and perhaps a little nerdy of me, I started with some non-fiction reading. The two non-fiction books I have read since April may be overtly marketed towards women, but I certainly believe everyone can find value in their topics and the books’ discussions.
Dipping into audiobooks, Michelle Obama’s self-narrated autobiography gave a truly interesting window into feminism, female education, marriage, and racism. I can’t claim to be an avid follower of American politics and I’m certainly late to the party, considering the book was published in 2018, but as a young woman, it was enlightening to learn about the issues faced by women of colour, some that I share and some that I will likely never experience.
Following Becoming by Michelle Obama, I happened to pick up Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and other lies in Waterstones. The book is a series of short essays and accounts from actresses, businesswomen and film directors, curated by Scarlett Curtis, a young, award-winning journalist and writer. The essays are highly accessible and tackle difficult aspects of feminism in a straightforward and critical manner.
The book is written for young readers, not a recently graduated 21-year-old. I picked it up simply because I was interested in what the book communicated to children and young adult readers, especially after taking two modules in children’s literature. Imagine my surprise to find topics and issues I had learned and critically analysed during my university degree! I think it is a fantastic book that teaches girls what behaviour towards them is acceptable and encourages a strong sense of identity and confidence.
Leaving the learning behind for now, my recently finished fictional reads vary from each other rather dramatically. The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary is a light-hearted romance novel that deals with important subjects, like stalking and emotional abuse, in a story with characters that still make you chuckle under your breath.
I am admittedly a picky reader and historically haven’t been able to stomach cheesy or tacky romance novels. The Flat Share still falls victim to a few clichés but ultimately, it felt like a romance I had not already read and that was really refreshing, if the tiniest bit still predictable.
Finally, when I’ve only had the short bus ride or quick lunch hour or that sleepy half an hour in bed at the end of a hectic day to fit in a quick read, I’ve been enjoying a short story collection called French Decadent Tales, translated by Stephen Romer.
This may seem like a rather niche choice of reading, but the stories range from romance, murder, and fantasy to the more metaphorical musings about love or marriage. Perhaps sometimes a little obscure (it might not suit all tastes), the collection can provide the reader with thoughtful ideas to mull over in the small moments of rest we find during a busy working week.
Currently, I’m reading Reasons To Be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe and look forward to diving further into the to-be-read list I have been collating since graduating.