Book Lovers Day is the perfect opportunity to tell you about a couple of books I have really enjoyed recently. I won’t go into too much detail as I don’t want to spoil them for you, however I do hope you feel inspired to pop down to your local bookshop and snap these up!
Four hours on a train to and from Birmingham last week presented me with the lovely opportunity to read many many chapters of Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I was given this book as a 21st birthday present and at the time I was taking a Women’s Writers module on my English course and was reading a lot about race and gender. I was eager to get my hands on all literature possible associated with these issues. They know me so well! The narrative switches between the two main protagonists, Ifemelu and Obinze who live in Nigeria. Ifemelu then moves to America whilst Obinze moves to London and they are both wrestling with what it means to be black in these countries. Adichie writes in a style which is informative about racism and immigration, but also compassionate and funny in her portrayal of the relationship between these two characters. This is a book which I can see becoming a classic and one which will be taught on university courses in years to come.
I couldn’t stop talking about this book even whilst I was reading it and I am still urging my mum to read it. Annie Ernaux takes us on a cultural and political journey from 1941 to 2006. The fragmentary style reflects the different memories, places and important events Ernaux recounts. We feel like we are entering into both her private past as well as her perspective witnessing the shifting cultural and political history of France. My favourite aspect to this memoir is how Ernaux writes about her experience as a women and reveals the shift in attitudes towards women from the 1950s to the near present day. I also loved how Ernaux writes witnessing the technological revolution and how it has changed the world forever. I was able to reflect on my own experience of the last decade and the integration of Apple products into everyday life. When I was younger I shared a tiny Nokia pay as you go phone with my sister which wasn’t slim in the slightest. It was our emergency phone when we were out with our friends after school. The sheer rapidity of techological advance is something which fascinates, excites, but also scares me. If you have watched Black Mirror you’ll get what I am rambling on about here. So, if you are interested in experimental narrative style, French culture, politics and a book you can read with a good cup of tea on a Sunday afternoon, this is the one for you I think. A truly important piece to be read by all generations during this time. (Translation of The Years by Alison L. Strayer)
I hope you love reading these books as much as I did. Happy Book Lovers day!