What We’ve Been Reading: June 0 Comments

What We’ve Been Reading: June

Books! June books! Here are some of the ones that EdComm have been reading.



I just finished reading Frank by Jon Ronson, which has a strange relationship with the recently released film of the same name. Frank Sidebottom was the stage alter-ego of Chris Sievey, known for performing in a large spheroidal head. During the 80s, Ronson dropped out of university to play keyboard for Frank’s band, and they toured around parts of England playing to crowds of around 500 people until everything reached a head (sorry) and the band simply fizzled out. Though the Frank of the film and the Frank of the book share a name and have the same penchant for headwear, they are not the same person and the book recognises this. It’s a quick read, feeling more like a long-form article than a novel, and gives an interesting insight into a snippet of time in an outsider artist’s life.



Life’s too short for rereading, unless the book in question is particularly good. I’m on my third reading of Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, and I’m still finding new things. Probably a little bit from the Carver school of middle class miseries, ‘Everything Ravaged’ has a potent (but not overdone) sense of melancholy, especially from the male characters. This is the case with all stories except the last one (which is a huge break from his style and although is entertaining and different, is also a little bad). The pieces all have moments of oddness, but that’s what makes them stories rather than just a nicely drawn moment in a life.

I also failed to read 1Q84 though. Not finishing it means I can’t really criticise it fully, but it just seems somewhat indulgent to expect any person to read a thousand pages of your work. As always, he has some nice descriptions, but these are wrapped in a fairly heavy-handed mysticism. The phrase ‘Don’t let appearances fool you. There’s always only one reality’ was repeated three times, the last time in bold in case you missed it. I still maintain that Murakami is at his best and most subtle in his short stories (‘After the Quake’ a stunning example). 1Q84 takes 17 pages for a women to get out of a taxi.



Magical, mythological and heart-crunching stories, girls born with wings, and raw feminist prose-poetry waded through like honey (but runs off the tongue like blood): The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, the debut work of Leslye Walton trickled into my heart in the gentlest of ways and broke it into sharp little pieces, only to leave after making a mosaic out of me. A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride won the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, and if you pick it up and read the first page you’ll understand why. The entirety of it is written like prose-poetry, intense and constantly slapping with you with new ways to twist words.


What did you read in June? Let us know in the comments!

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