February has been tough. My minor physical injuries continue to heal but not yet sufficiently to allow me to return to running or even to walk any distance. In the week just past, the cold and wet weather finally cleared to enable me to return to cycling. It is good to get outside but I still miss running more than I could have imagined before I took up the habit. It is, as far as I have experienced it, akin to an addictive, if mostly socially acceptable, drug.
My little family is keeping well although stress levels have increased notably. This has not been helped by the raising then smashing of hope that came with the government’s proposed path out of lockdown. The suggestion that mandatory vaccination or testing will be added to mask wearing in public spaces raises the spectre of being unable to eat out, take a holiday in the UK or even visit my local gym for the foreseeable future. The prospect of still being deemed a biohazard after so many months staying home leaves me questioning the freedoms we have surrendered – what a country I moved to for its tolerance and opportunity has become.
My inability to exercise each day left me with little to do other than read. Thankfully most of the books I picked up proved capable of taking my mind off the more negative aspects of the life I am currently required to live. February has been a busy month on the blog, mainly because I agreed to help promote the inaugural Barbellion Prize by reviewing the shortlist. My roundup post for this may be found here.
I reviewed 13 books: 5 fiction (including 2 short story collections) of which 3 were translated; 8 non-fiction, 5 of which were memoirs. All of the latter chronicled the lives of people with health impairments. They were eye-opening and well written. None milked the misery but rather wrote to raise awareness of issues faced. Robyn added a further 12 reviews, a good mix of new releases and older works.
As ever in these monthly posts, click on the title below to read the review and on the cover to learn more about the book.
Fiction / Short Stories
Astral Travel by Elizabeth Baines, published by Salt
Like Fado by Graham Mort, published by Salt
Theatre of War by Andrea Jeftanovic (translated by Frances Riddle), published by Charco Press
Havana Year Zero by by Karla Suárez (translated by Christina MacSweeney), published by Charco Press
Translated Fiction – Short Stories
Nordic Fauna by Andrea Lundgren (translated by John Litell), published by Peirene Press
Dreamy Days and Randon Naps by Mawson, published by Odyssey Books
The Pleasure of Regret by Scott Manley Hadley, published by Broken Sleep Books
Chauvo Feminism: On Sex, Power and #MeToo by Sam Mills, published by The Indigo Press
Trauma: Essays on Art and Mental Health, published by Dodo Ink
The Barbellion Prize Shortlist
Four memoirs that explore the realities of living with disability and chronic health conditions.
Sanatorium by Abi Palmer, published by Penned in the Margins
The Fragments of my Father by Sam Mills, published by 4th Estate
Golem Girl by Riva Lehrer, published by Virago
Kika & Me by Amit Patel, published by Pan MacMillan
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, published by Rebellion
The Stranger Times by C.K. McDonnell, published by Bantam Press
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth, published by Borough Press
Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell, published by Orbit
Fable by Adrienne Young, published by Titan Books
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, published by Faber & Faber
To Be Taught If Fortunate by Becky Chambers, published by Hodder & Stoughton
Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, published by St Martin’s Griffin
The Galaxy and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers, published by Hodder & Stoughton
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, published by Orbit
The Library of the Dead by T. L. Huchu, published by Pan MacMillan
This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, published by Jo Fletcher Books
Sourcing the books
Robyn is on Netgalley and is grateful for all approvals of titles requested. She also purchased a number of hard copies, supporting: Illumicrate, Goldsboro Books, and Blackwells.
My monthly book post was both generous and interesting. It included a couple of purchases from Toppings.
As ever I wish to thank all the publishers who send me their titles to review – the arrival of a book parcel remains a cheering event in my day.
My thanks also to those who share my words across their social media platforms. Your continuing support is always appreciated.
And to everyone reading this, I wish you and yours good health and as much mental stability as can be mustered in these challenging times. May we strive, at all times, to be kind xx
I agree Jackie. February has been especially hard. At least Spring is on its way!
This sunny weekend has been such a pick-me-up. Hope you are keeping well – thank you, as always, for your support x