Literary Life: April – June in Review

“Citizens of Earth, rejoice. Your Lord and Master stands on high.”

Oh, hi there. Doctor Who fans may understand the reference above. To avoid spoilers, the last two episodes have felt like a glorious reward for a season of ‘meh’, an investment paid off.

Anyway, welcome to a brief review of what I’ve been up to / reading since last I wrote. I’ve not been invested in the blog (or other people’s) for the last year, but I’ve made changes and my desire to act has returned.

Currently Reading:

The Lessons by Naomi Alderman


10+, a.k.a. too many to list.

I’ve Read:

  1. How To Be Human – Paula Cocozza
  2. The Trouble with Goats and Sheep – Joanna Cannon
  3. I’m Travelling Alone – Samuel Bjørk
  4. A New Treasury Of Poetry – Neil Philip
  5. The Sport of Kings – C.E. Morgan
  6. The Dark Circle – Linda Grant
  7. First Love – Gwendoline Riley
  8. The Power – Naomi Alderman
  9. Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien
  10. Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb
  11. Pat of Silver Bush – L.M. Montgomery
  12. Kafka – Davind Zane Mairowitz
  13. No Country for Old Men – Cormac McCarthy
  14. Before I Go to Sleep – S.J. Watson
  15. The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k – Sarah Knight
  16. How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits – Anne Berest
  17. The Owl Always Hunts At Night – Samuel Bjørk
  18. An Act of Silence – Colette McBeth
  19. Only We Know – Karen Perry

First Love, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, and Assassin’s Apprentice were the highlights of the last few months.

So, read anything good recently?

Stop right now, thank you very much…

…whether or not I need somebody with the human touch is none of your business.

Spice Girls and my eternal loneliness aside, hello. Three packets of crisps and one diet coke later and that fifth gin last night is feeling more memory than physical, I’m finally feeling a desire to write.

After a long period of, “GOD, WHY DON’T I WANT TO READ!?!” I’ve binged some crime fiction and am very excited to read The Lessons by Naomi Alderman. I didn’t like The Power (I know, I’m sorry – great concept, boring book) but The Lessons seems as though it could hook me.

Here are some mini-reviews of stuff what I have read recently. Please bear in mind that Gin has ruined my sleep, so these opinions are combined with a deep-seated despair.

The Owl Always Hunts At Night by Samuel Bjørk

Second in the crime series by Bjørk, set six months after I’m Travelling Alone. It was enthralling, very easy to read, though at times frustrating in that it followed similar patterns to the first novel. Surely only so much can happen to one family.

How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits by Anne Berest

Witty, beautiful and generally a wonderful coffee table book.

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight

100 pages too long, amusing, not as helpful as I had hoped. It felt like something anyone vaguely amusing could write, so it has inspired me to see if I can do something similar. After all, I am vaguely amusing (well, I make myself laugh, but that’s probably not the same).

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

Not at all what I was expecting, I spent reading the novel interrupting my flatmate with theories. I don’t usually cope well with memory loss stories, but this was very clever.

Now I need to go catch up on other blogs. Fair thee well, reader.

first love by gwendoline riley

Review: First Love by Gwendoline Riley

First Love; the complexity, pain, failure, and abuse of love. A short novel, at 160 or so pages, when tense emotions ooze from the pages.


first love by gwendoline riley“A blistering account of a marriage in crisis and a portrait of a woman caught between withdrawal and self-assertion, depression and rage.

Neve, the novel’s acutely intelligent narrator, is beset by financial anxiety and isolation, but can’t quite manage to extricate herself from her volatile partner, Edwyn. Told with emotional remove and bracing clarity, First Love is an account of the relationship between two catastrophically ill-suited people walking a precarious line between relative calm and explosive confrontation.” GoodReads.


Neve and Edwyn are married, and at first, it seems content but that Neve settled. As the novel progresses and Neve tells the reader about her past, her abusive and controlling father, self-involved mother (utterly unable to read other people) and brief romantic entanglement with the selfish musician she saw but once or twice a year, you realise that the people in Neve’s life take from her until she is more a product of their needs than anything else.

Eventually, we discover that Edwyn is a variant of her father, emotionally abusive and able to twist an argument at every turn to his favour. He constantly belittles her, accuses her of being selfish every time she expresses her own needs. During every argument, Edwyn brings up a moment where Neve got very drunk with her friends in his flat and when she awoke unable to remember the night before, he accuses her of throwing up everywhere which he then had to clean up. Edwyn uses it to cement his control when it is likely that Neve was never sick at all, he merely dislikes any moment she isn’t solely focused on him.

Ultimately Neve begins to unfurl and express herself, pushing Edwyn back, but the novel does not end with her leaving, she has no person to turn to. But, perhaps it ends with the hope of change.


What did you think of First Love?