Finishing a degree in English Literature, for which I often had to read four books a week, could have had a couple of effects on my love for books. I wouldn’t have been surprised if I never wanted to look at one again. However, since finishing, I’ve had a fair bit of time on my hands, and four years of books to catch up on! Throughout uni, one thing I’ve majorly missed is reading whatever I want. With SO many books to read for my course, I never had the time or desire to read anything else, and even over summer a leisurely book would result in a feeling of guilt when I could be reading for the year ahead. But my freedom is back! And so I’ve been reading a few books lately I’ll take you through now.
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race- Reni Eddo-Lodge
As a white British male, this book really hit home about white privilege, and privilege in general. There is SO much we take for granted, and this book eloquently and interestingly takes us through this. Starting with a chapter in race relations and the history of People of Colour in the UK, which is a history completely left out of schools, the book opened my eyes entirely. Obviously, much of it is opinion, and there were times I found myself wondering how much I can take it as gospel, but then defending my whiteness is literally what Reni writes about to start with, and this knee jerk reaction to defending ones own privilege has definitely made me look at race differently in the UK.
First Love, Last Rites- Ian McEwan
I am a HUGE fan of McEwan- He was one of two focal points of my final dissertation for my degree (writing on The Cement Garden). This book is a collection of short stories from the very beginning of his career, and it’s frankly him at his grim best. He’s famous for his macabre writing, not shying away from the most grisly of plots, so it certainly isn’t for everyone, but incestuous plots aside, his writing is incredible. Charismatic, believable and captivating. This might not be the best place to start if you’re looking to get into McEwan, but it’s definitely a great stop along the way.
Why I Am So Clever- Friedrich Nietzsche
To celebrate the first ever Penguin Classic published in 1946, Penguin published a set of 46 Little Black Classics, including work from Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allan Poe and of course Nietzsche. The best thing is they’re only a pound each! Some are even cheaper on amazon, which is just incredible! This one is a collection of writings from his book Ecce Homo, which I believe is his final published work before he descended into madness. I studied philosophy for a couple of years and I still have an interest in it, and this book is a really rewarding read if you put the work in. It’s pretty short; a perfect little taste of his genius!
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