As Summer draws to a close I wanted to share my top picks of just some of the books that got me through the scorch of this year’s heat wave!
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A luminous and haunting memoir from the prize-winning poet – a story of love, heartbreak and coming of age, and a fearless exploration of queer identity and trauma.
When Sean meets Elias, the two fall headlong into a love story. But as Elias struggles with severe depression, the couple comes face-to-face with crisis. Wrestling with this, Sean Hewitt delves deep into his own history, enlisting the ghosts of queer figures and poets before him. From a nineteenth-century cemetery in Liverpool to the pine forests of Gothenburg, Hewitt plumbs the darkness in search of solace and hope.
All Down Darkness Wide is an unflinching meditation on the burden of living in a world that too often sets happiness and queer life at odds, and a tender portrayal of what it’s like to be caught in the undertow of a loved one’s suffering. By turns devastating and soaring, it is a mesmerising story of heartache and renewal, and a work of rare and transcendent beauty.
Mary Jean Chan and Andrew McMillan’s luminous anthology, 100 Queer Poems , is a celebration of thrilling contemporary voices and visionary poets of the past. Featuring Elizabeth Bishop, Langston Hughes, Ocean Vuong, Carol Ann Duffy, Kae Tempest and many more.
Encompassing both the flowering of queer poetry over the past few decades and the poets who came before and broke new ground, 100 Queer Poems presents an electrifying range of writing from the twentieth century to the present day.
Questioning and redefining what we mean by a ‘queer’ poem, you’ll find inside classics by Elizabeth Bishop, Langston Hughes, Wilfred Owen, Charlotte Mew and June Jordan, central contemporary figures such as Mark Doty, Jericho Brown, Carol Ann Duffy, Kei Miller, Kae Tempest, Natalie Diaz and Ocean Vuong, alongside thrilling new voices including Chen Chen, Richard Scott, Harry Josephine Giles, Verity Spott and Jay Bernard.
Beginning with a story of an ex sex-worker drifting through a rural town in South America, and ending with a young woman’s sinister wedding night, Nash writes across the complications of working class women, rendering their desires with visceral prose and psychologically dissecting the fundamental root that threads her work: craving and the conflicts within.
In her brilliantly inventive debut collection, Vanessa Onwuemezi takes readers on a surreal and haunting journey through a landscape on the edge of time. At the border with another world, a line of people wait for the gates to open; on the floor of a lonely room, a Born Winner runs through his life’s achievements and losses; in a suburban garden, a man witnesses a murder that pushes him out into the community. Struggling to realize the human ideals of love and freedom, the characters of Dark Neighbourhood roam instead the depths of alienation, loss and shame. With a detached eye and hallucinatory vision, they observe the worlds around them as the line between dream and reality dissolves and they themselves begin to fragment. Electrifying and heady, and written with a masterful lyrical precision, Dark Neighbourhood heralds the arrival of a strikingly original new voice in fiction.
In the old days, all werewolves were men. Margaret Atwood. In this slyly subversive noir anthology, Joyce Carol Oates has invited some of the world’s most celebrated authors to take their shot at the patriarchy. A fatal trip to the pool, a company that supplies ‘the one black friend’ to racist clients, a decapitation of a local political figure – these stories present a fresh and timely take on the gendered status quo.Featuring stories and poems from Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, Valerie Martin, Aimee Bender, Edwidge Danticat, Sheila Kohler, S.A. Solomon, S.J. Rozan, Lucy Taylor, Cassandra Khaw, Bernice L. McFadden, Jennifer Morales, Elizabeth McCracken, Livia Llewellyn, Lisa Lim, and Steph Cha.
What were you favourite summer reads this year? Let us know in the comments!