29 May 2023 – Book round-up: Jan-May 2023

A short list of the most memorable books of the year so far, excluding academic texts. If you are interested in apocolyptic thought or animal studies, give me a shout and I’ll share some recs. You can see the full list of what I’ve read this year on The Storygraph.

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments by Saidiya Hartman

One of the most beautiful books of the year. Hartman is powerful. Words that stay with you.

If you need convincing, start with The Plot of Her Undoing, The End of White Supremacy or this interview

We Do This 'til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice by Mariame Kaba

A collection of essays and articles by Kaba and collaborators. Abolitionist thought and practice has been and is hugely influential on my thinking and politics. Kaba is unwavering in dealing with the difficult questions of abolition.

Small Fires: An Epic in the Kitchen by Rebecca May Johnson

I am obsessed with food. The two newsletters I read most faithfully are Alicia Kennedy and Vittles.

RMJ’s visceral, affective account of food and cooking is wonderful, as is her red sauce which I made and enjoyed for weeks after.

Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer

Sharp, moving, devastating. There are difficult themes aplenty so you are prone to triggers, read the synopsis first. I, for one, like to use literature as a grater on my wounds.

The Passenger Series by Cormac McCarthy and Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh

While also good stories, well written and therefore likely enjoyable to a larger audience, I recommend these novels especially to those mystically inclined.

I read them while learning Tarot and reading pluralist literature – The Will to Believe by William James and Around the Day in Eighty Worlds by Martin Savransky – and for a few weeks, the whole world was awash in magick.

Worlds of Exile and Illusion and The Wind's Twelve Quarters and The Compass Rose by Ursula K. Le Guin

I love everything I’ve read by Le Guin so far, without exception. Nothing else to add.