As an English graduate, I sometimes feel like I’ve read every kind of book on earth. Most of them I’ve loved – and I’ve learned to tolerate the ones I didn’t like so much. But I’ve rarely found myself surprised. Not in a shock twist at the end kind of way, but that feeling of discovering something you didn’t think you’d be into.
We all know that Sally Rooney could write down her shopping list and it would (rightly so) win an award, but there’s definitely something to be said for the unexpected satisfaction of a book that’s… different. I wanted to dedicate this month’s book club to the kinds of books you haven’t – but definitely should – be reading. It’s a mixed bag, I’ll warn you, but have a little faith and you might just find something that changes your life, or at the very least, your bookshelf.
This ended up on my “to read” pile after borrowing it from a friend aeons ago and forgetting about it until a few days ago. A short but rewarding read, Crimson tells the complex and connected stories of a group of Greenlanders. Dealing with depression and queer romantic experiences, the dark and raw tale has drawn wide comparisons to Trainspotting, for good reason. However, its form is markedly different – a mixture of narrative prose with letters and text messages sent between characters, each of whom tells their side in a chapter dedicated to them. It was not something I would’ve picked for myself, but it came as a refreshing change to the UK/US settings my reading has been (accidentally) confined to as of late.
When it comes to self-help books, I’m often sceptical and find them condescending, but this couldn’t be further from that. A viral website that has since transcended into a YouTube channel and this book, The Financial Diet talks about money in an accessible but completely non-patronising way. With the prospect of starting to pay off my student debt looming, I’m grateful for its genuinely useful tips that don’t advise me to save 50% of an income I don’t even have yet. I’m a total convert. And yes, it’s the only kind of diet you’ll find me subscribing to. #fuckdiets
This last pick serves as a wild card entry. An analysis of authoritarian capitalism (bear with me, I beg you) and Donald Trump’s tweets, isn’t my usual criteria for literary success, so this found it’s way onto my shelf as required reading for a university essay (Still with me?).
Look, I’m not suggesting you go out and pick this up, unless it’s your thing. I mainly included it to say this: I’ve read some seriously dry academic texts in my time and assumed this would be no different. However, and in all honesty, it was nothing short of fascinating. What I’m getting at is, as the age-old saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. Branching out in your reading is a great way to strengthen your vague interests and even find new ones.
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