I don’t know what it is about February, but I’ve been reading books at an astonishing rate for a girl who’s too lazy to read the back of a pizza box (wing it in for twenty minutes on 200 and job’s a good’un). Maybe it’s because it’s a marginally more optimistic month that January when I was simply too fed up of the cold and dark to be conscious past 9pm and too tired to read on the bus to work at 8am. Maybe it’s simply because I’m too skint to do much else. Either way, it’s a nice past time, and it means I’ve been able to write up this shiny new little book club for you because I have PLENTY of recommendations.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz was passed on to me by a friend who assured me of its magical abilities to make the reader weep on public transport. It’s fair to say it lived up to her prediction. The story is set during WWII, centring on an Auschwitz resident called Lale, who becomes the prisoner responsible for tattooing numbers on his fellow camp mates. It’s a graphic, heart-wrenching account of what actually happened during one of humanity’s ugliest moments, and to top it all off, it’s based on the true account of Ludwig “Lale” Sokolov. Whether you’re interested in Wartime events or not, this is an account of humanity at its worst and best, and so worth the read.
Second on the list is an absolute scream of a book. I first came across this title when I spied its glossy red cover perched upon my sister’s bookshelf, and then was convinced to read it after seeing various rave reviews on Twitter. It’s written by two fantastic female authors from Ireland, who manage to nail the nuances of daily life on the Emerald Isle to an absolute T. Oh My God What A Complete Aisling follows, you guessed it, a girl named Aisling (pronounced Ash-ling, to the non-Irish amongst you) on a journey from her countryside home to the big city of Dublin. It’s fair to say she’s a little bit sheltered, and the juxtaposition between her and her edgy flatmates is pure comedy gold, as well as extremely heartwarming. The events that ensue will have you laughing until you snort, and crying until your eyes are tiny mincers. I’ve already passed this book on to my best friend to read, and it’s so good that she immediately bought a copy for her Mum. Get it – you won’t be sorry.
I’m not sure I really need to give you an insight into this brilliant book by Adam Kay, as it’s never bloody off my Amazon suggestions or Twitter timeline, so I suspect you’ve probably already read it and I’m late to the party. This is Going to Hurt is essentially a huge collection of the author’s diary entries during his time as a Junior Doctor, with added commentary and insight into what it’s really like on the frontline of the NHS. The book deals with everything from the bizarre (comedy moment with the kinder egg engagement, anyone?) to the downright heartbreaking account of watching mothers’ losing their children, and every gross, bodily-fluid filled moment in between. It’s great. It’s horrendous. It’s disgusting. Read it.
We’ve already discussed this book about a million times on FGRLS CLUB, but it’s simply too good not to include again. I’ll just link the other Book Club segment so you can read it for yourself, and spare you my waffling. As you were.
Ok, this is technically more of a collection of writings than a book, but it’s brilliant so I’m allowing it and it’s staying in. I met Tallulah at our first FGRLS CLUB event and bought a copy (which she illustrated alongside the words), devouring it in approximately one day. She’d gathered anonymous submissions about the weird, unruly things women do with their bodies and was utterly inundated with the responses she received, so she decided to hop to it and publish the accounts for us all to enjoy. From tampons, to earwax, to one infamous lady shitting in a sink, the book’s filled with the accounts of hilarious, radically honest women and the unashamed things they do with their bodies. I love it.
After winning the Costa Novel Award for 2018, copies of Normal People have been flying out of stock at lightning speed. It’s the trailblazing second novel by Sally Rooney, who at 28 years old is by far the youngest person to ever win the aforementioned award. Normal People follows the lives of Connell and Marianne, two school friends, turned lovers, turned – well, who really knows. The story follows the two as their lives intertwine, and explores themes of male fragility, frank sexuality, domestic abuse and the nuances of day to day life. Reading this book was like someone holding a magnifying glass up to general life, in all its banality, awkwardness and complexity. It’s worth the hype, believe me.
If you have any recommendations for books you’ve been loving reading, please tweet me and let me know – I’m always on the lookout for new material to get stuck into. Similarly, if you’ve enjoyed any of the above, hit me up and let’s discuss. You can find me @saramacauley_.