literature, Review

 My top reads in summer 2017- books to read by the fireside.

As a huge literary fan, of course I’ve been reading to my heart’s content over the summer (with my health and long hours at work limiting me a little, but even so). Initially, I was planning to share my top three from this indulge, and still, I shall mention just three, but I can’t seem to order them as they were all so wonderful and I adored all three equally.

Those that I shall be covering today are:

  • Green Girl- Kate Zambreno
  • Here I Stand (Anthology)
  • Author Phillipa Gregory.

Green Girl

Written by Kate Zambreno in 2011 this book has been branded as a modern day ‘The Bell Jar’ and Zambreno herself has been compared to authors such as Plath and Lispector.

The novel follows the life of Ruth, an American in London, day and night, following the transitional challenges ‘from youth to adulthood’ [Harper Collins Publishers] and young Ruth working at a department store only referred to as ‘Horrids’, with her robotic system of the days and rocky nights. Regardless of whether you adore the character Ruth or the opposite, you undoubtedly etch onto her life and the vivid language used forces you to put yourself in her mind- This is aided by (only sometimes loosely relevant) quotes from Shakespeare to authors unheard of. I’m still personally unsure on if I actually like Ruth or not but in contrasts, I totally adore her! I feel the pain in her every breath and her brief moments of ecstasy.

At points, it I hard to notice a clear plot but yu’re so infatuated by the heroine, that loses it’s relevance.

I would honesty give this book:

I hope you read it to find out more yourself and enjoy it as much as I did.

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Here I Stand

Rather than being a novel, this is a book of short stories about humanity; everything from modern day slavery and exploitation, extremes hidden in front of our eyes and hatred. faced daily such as homophobia and racism.

It’s difficult to discuss each individual story or poem without giving too much away, but they’re all so different and simultaneously similar that each is harrowing and sends a chill down your spine. This book also reminded me of my love for one of my favourite childhood authors; Liz Kessler. It also led me t find out that she is LGBT and married to a woman, and as a queer woman myself this made me cry with happiness and a little nostalgia, too.

Overall I would give this a:


But many of the individual stories accepted this rating. If I could rate individual stories higher, I would, but generally each did not drop much lower than a solid 5* so an overall top mark is what I can say.

Phillipa Gregory

Okay. I know Phillipa Gregory is an author, not a book, but I couldn’t choose just one piece of her writing. My dear friend Rhi is obsessed with Gregory and hearing her tal about her so much reminded me of how much I loved reading ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ and other books by her. Luckily, when I went into my local charity shop I stumbled across now one, but nine books by her. I did want to buy them all, but it was my prom day, and I couldn’t really justify spending all of my money, so I bought three; ‘The Red Queen’, ‘The White Queen’ and ‘The Boleyn Inheritance’.

I have enjoyed all of which I have read so far and honesty just rate her as a five star author. Admittedly, I have not read as many as I would have liked  (of course I returned to buy more of her books), but that’s mostly as historical fiction can be quite heavy so hasn’t bee ideal for nights in hospital or when I just generally have not been doing too great. Otherwise, Gregory is just so descriptive that you can get s lost in the Tudor world you forget you’re in 2017!

So they’re my top picks, and despite my reading them in a warm climate (over the summer months), I wouldn’t say any are strikingly summery, so they’d be totally perfect for fireside reading or to sit in the park with if you don’t mind the winter breeze nipping at your fingers.

They’re of quite varied genres so I hope at least one of them takes your fancy.

Love always,



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