New year, new books! That’s how it goes, right? Either way, I’ve registered for a new Goodreads yearly reading challenge and, with a slew of recommendations under my belt, I’m ready to take on the new year!

Because I’m lazy and again forgot to log a ‘currently reading’ for December this list condenses my January reading and the few spatterings that survived my December laziness.

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

Look, maybe I’m just finally emerging from my white-female-celebrity-in-the-comedy-scene-biography fog but Kendrick’s book, unfortunately, didn’t offer me a lot. It was funny and an easy read but I suppose I was hoping for something a little more punchy. Maybe, it’s me, not you.

Fight Like a Girl by Clementine Ford

‘Challenging’ seems to be the word of choice for Ford’s debut work, amongst professional and amateur reviewers alike, and I would be wrong to disagree. While the first half of the book meandered and didn’t quite hit home for me, the second half was a confronting, insightful and powerful look at the female condition, particularly pertinent to Australia. In Fight Like a Girl, Ford is strongest, boldest and clearest when she tackles real-life instances of sexism head-on and without apology. Big or ‘small’ instances of discrimination, harassment or worse, Ford’s unapologetic and confronting style benefits most from her scathing and unflinching unpackings of contemporary womanhood.

All About Love: New Visions by Bell Hooks

I’ll be the first to admit that I may have had the wrong idea heading into Hook’s All About Love. What I expected was something scathing and politically biting; what I got was soft, patient and, at times, a little overindulgent. That’s not to say there’s not a lot of value in Hooks’ views on love. Her chapter on the family unit and parental love was confronting but encouraged me to view parent-child love in a slightly different light, while several other chapters undoubtedly opened my eyes to issues of race and gender that I wish Hooks would have spent more time exploring. Not to mention, as a book published 16 years ago, its message has aged exceptionally well.

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Wow, I have not read a book as culturally and politically dense as The Sellout since my first year of university. I feel like I would need a lifetime or, at the very least, a second reading to fully unpack everything that is going on in any given sentence in Beatty’s work. Not only is it incredibly intelligent but it’s achingly funny, effortlessly weaving slap-stick humour with scathing satire.

Talking to My Country by Stan Grant

I’ve been meaning to read Stan Grant’s book since its releasing and it was, ultimately, just as confronting as I had expected, however; I also found it disappointingly circular. It’s a difficult subject to tackle and, I imagine, a painful one for Grant but I found myself at times wishing he would expand on certain subjects in place of reiterating. Unfortunately, this circular motion took some power out of what was otherwise an extremely powerful memoir.


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