02 Oct // Spring book club

It’s spring! Which is uplifting for one’s mood, if one finds oneself adjusting to life in a new city and trying to find a house within budget you actually want to live in, and, you know, a job. In the immortal words of Ronan Keating, Life is a rollercoaster, just gotta ride it, and thus it’s proving true for remaining optimistic and not eating Messina every day.

One very big perk of the current fluidity in my daily timetable however, are the opportunities for sunny afternoons on the couch reading. This sometimes also means turning a morning coffee into reading, reading on public transport, going to the park and reading, and reading in bed.  

With my book club back in Auckland my commitment to reading the actual books in time was patchy (my commitment to the yarns and platters and wines however, unwavering), but with my newfound obsession, I’ve found myself churning through the list. It’s partly because I’m bored of instagram, and partly I think it’s guilt about All The Books I Did Not Read during my English Literature degree, when I was too busy trying to wrap my head around legal doctrines, waitressing, or drinking staff discount handles of beer.

Anyway! My friend Jenna manages the beautiful Time Out books in Mt Eden, and had recommended a couple of books, and friends had recommended some too, plus I had the book club list to play catch up with. I polished off three novels in a week (unheard of) and put them on my instagram (it’s good for some things!) and that lead to an absolute flurry of recommendations and discussions way more interesting than any 200-level contemporary fiction tutorial.

Here my recent reads, in no particular order, that I have loved, or had recommended strongly by people I trust. 

Normal People by Sally Rooney (Loved it, lots to discuss)

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh (Also loved it. So refreshing and interesting and graphic and funny and different.)

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (My friend Rebekah recommended this as the best book she’d read this year, and I loved it)

The Idiot by Elif Batuman (I’m still reading it and loving it)

Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang (So good, a series of short stories. Incredible perspective. Raw and funny)

The Power by Naomi Alderman (Not usually into fantasy, this was an enjoyable read! Lots to think about)

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (The opening scene is so so good)

Next on my list: The History of Bees by Maja Lunde; Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh; Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney; The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer; How to be both by Ali Smith; Her body and other parties by Carmen Maria Machado.

You may note a lack of male authors (reminds me of my friend at uni who once went home with a guy who was proudly showing off his book collection, which contained not one single female. She bought him a vintage version of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, and they broke up shortly afterwards). In the words of my friend Gemma: ‘Seriously not interested in male perspective rn’. I mean, we get that by default everywhere, right? 

And since this still somewhat resembles a food blog, if you are hosting book club and need food I highly recommend this stuffed bread, and this fig cake. Happy spring reading!