October was a slower month but I still found some titles to rave about!
To see more about the books I loved and hated this month, click here.
My Top Three:
A stunning collection of stories by one of the most prominent video journalists of our time. This book ties together stories that Lloyd-Roberts has collected across her decades of work as a campaigning video journalist to form an inarguable picture of how women are derogated and abused across the world.
The language Lloyd-Roberts uses is that of a talented, seasoned journalist. It is not sensational or overly emotional, she merely lets the stories and the facts speak for themselves – and boy do they shout from the rooftops. Sadly, Sue Lloyd-Roberts passed away before seeing her work published, giving this book a poignancy that it wouldn’t otherwise have had.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough – it should be mandatory reading for all those working in government and international development as irrefutable evidence of the gender inequality that blights the world.
RIP to a great warrior in the war on women.
“Loving someone is like moving into a house,’ Sonja used to say. ‘At first you fall in love with all the new things, amazed every morning that all this belongs to you, as if fearing that someone would suddenly come rushing in through the door to explain that a terrible mistake had been made, you weren’t actually supposed to live in a wonderful place like this. Then over the years the walls become weathered, the wood splinters here and there, and you start to love that house not so much because of all its perfection, but rather its imperfections. You get to know all the nooks and crannies. How to avoid getting the key caught in the lock when it’s cold outside. Which of the floorboards flex slightly when one steps on them or exactly how to open the wardrobe doors without their creaking. These are the little secrets that make it your home.”
This novel is essentially what could have happened in Up in between the unexpected RIP YOUR HEART OUT montage and balloon lift-off. I very much see Ove as the love child of Carl from Up, Allan from The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared with a sprinkling of Clint Eastwood from Gran Torino. But with more heart. Lots of heart!
A Man Called Ove is an homage to every kind of love: from the heartbreakingly beautiful love between Ove and Sonja; the love between friends and the family that you choose; to the love for living and the realisation that life can continue after tragedy.
“All the fakeness just rolls right off them, maybe because the nonstop sales job of American life has instilled in them exceptionally high thresholds for sham, puff, spin, bullshit, and outright lies, in other words for advertising in all its forms. Billy himself never noticed how fake it all is until he’d done time in a combat zone.”
Billy Lynn is a 19-year-old member of the Bravo squad; American heroes who have been flown out of Iraq to be paraded around on a “Victory Tour” following the unexpected fame of their bravery against Iraqi insurgents. This is the story of the last day of the tour, where the squad come face-to-face with a shining example of vapid, consumer-driven America in the form of a Dallas Cowboys game.
A sharp and clever examination of the hypocrisy of the Iraq war, and the gulf between what was being shown in America vs. the lived experience of the soldiers on the ground. I loved how Fountain presented a setting that was borderline absurd, seen through the eyes of a 19-year-old soldier, which added a layer of naivety that offset the cynicism and meant that the negative sides of the story were not overwhelming.
On the menu for November:
You can see all of my choices and reviews by following me on Goodreads, let me know what you’re reading so I can get inspired!
NB. Some of my reviews do include spoilers, so please check the top of the post for a warning before reading.