I’m not sure that I even want to mention the dreaded c-word here, but suffice to say that recent events have been playing havoc with my monthly reading plans – not to mention everything else. My reading list for April is less thought-through than it would have been, but I suppose it’s nice to have the surprises that come with picking up books more or less at random.
Recently it has felt hard to concentrate even on reading, but with the dawn of a new month I’m hoping to indulge in some literary escapism, taking myself off to other countries or even just the world we used to know. Two of my four core books of the month were received as unexpected gifts, which I think is something else that deserves celebrating at the moment. As the next few weeks bring out the best and worst in humanity, let’s concentrate on the good and the little gestures we can still make for one another. It might be something as simple as sending someone a book to let them know they’re in your thoughts (and, while you’re at it, please don’t forget to support independent bookshops and small presses too).
In April I will be reading:
The Weight of Love by Hilary Fannin (Penguin/Doubleday Ireland)
What the publisher says: ‘a beautiful exploration of how we manage life when the notes and beats of our existence, so carefully arranged, begin to slip off the stave. An intimate and moving account of the intricacies of marriage and the myriad ways in which we can love and be loved.’
Square Haunting by Francesca Wade (Faber & Faber)
What the publisher says: ‘Francesca Wade’s spellbinding group biography explores how [five] trailblazing women pushed the boundaries of literature, scholarship, and social norms, forging careers that would have been impossible without these rooms of their own.’
Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo, translated by Jamie Chang (Simon & Schuster)
What the publisher says: ‘the South Korean sensation that has got the whole world talking. The life story of one young woman born at the end of the twentieth century raises questions about endemic misogyny and institutional oppression that are relevant to us all. Riveting, original and uncompromising, this is the most important book to have emerged from South Korea since Han Kang’s The Vegetarian.’
This Little Art by Kate Briggs (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
What the publisher says: ‘An essay with the reach and momentum of a novel, Kate Briggs’s This Little Art is a genre-bending song for the practice of literary translation, offering fresh, fierce and timely thinking on reading, writing and living with the works of others.’