Title: Sweet Sorrow

Author: David Nicholls

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

One life-changing summer
Charlie meets Fran…

In 1997, Charlie Lewis is the kind of boy you don’t remember in the school photograph. His exams have not gone well. At home he is looking after his father, when surely it should be the other way round, and if he thinks about the future at all, it is with a kind of dread.

Then Fran Fisher bursts into his life and despite himself, Charlie begins to hope.

But if Charlie wants to be with Fran, he must take on a challenge that could lose him the respect of his friends and require him to become a different person. He must join the Company. And if the Company sounds like a cult, the truth is even more appalling.

The price of hope, it seems, is Shakespeare.

Poignant, funny, enchanting, devastating, Sweet Sorrow is a tragicomedy about the rocky path to adulthood and the confusion of family life, a celebration of the reviving power of friendship and that brief, searing explosion of first love that can only be looked at directly after it has burned out.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Since the release of One Day I have hoovered the books by David Nicholls. One Day was one of those rare books that comes along and intoxicates you so much that you become even more antisocial that normal (seriously, I went to the pub with friends and ignored them so I could read my book).

Sweet Sorrow is certainly of a similar ilk to One Day. It is a book filled with nostalgia, of missed chances, and of coming of age. Nicholls manages to parallel what should be the most exciting time of a teenagers life with the pain of reality of growing up and life not going your way or going the way you expected it to go.

Sweet Sorrow is the butter sweet tale of first love and it is filled to the rim of those evocative feelings we have all had.

Whilst Nicholls hasn’t recreated the magic of One Day for me personally, he has created a sentimental story that was so damn endearing and enjoyable to read.

Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls is available now.

For more information regarding David Nicholls (@DavidNWriter) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: Freya

Author: Anthony Quinn

Pages: 464 Pages

Publisher: Random House UK

The Blurb

London, May 1945. Freya Wyley, twenty, meets Nancy Holdaway, eighteen, amid the wild celebrations of VE Day, the prelude to a devoted and competitive friendship that will endure on and off for the next two decades. Freya, wilful, ambitious, outspoken, pursues a career in newspapers which the chauvinism of Fleet Street and her own impatience conspire to thwart, while Nancy, gentler, less self-confident, struggles to get her first novel published. Both friends become entangled at university with Robert Cosway, a charismatic young man whose own ambition will have a momentous bearing on their lives.

Flitting from war-haunted Oxford to the bright new shallows of the 1960s, Freya plots the unpredictable course of a woman’s life and loves against a backdrop of Soho pornographers, theatrical peacocks, willowy models, priapic painters, homophobic blackmailers, political careerists.

Beneath the relentless thrum of changing times and a city being reshaped, we glimpse the eternal: the battles fought by women in pursuit of independence, the intimate mysteries of the human heart, and the search for love. Stretching from the Nuremberg war trials to the advent of the TV celebrity, from innocence abroad to bitter experience at home, Freya presents the portrait of an extraordinary woman taking arms against a sea of political and personal tumult.

The Review

I loved this book.

Freya is the brilliant story of the eponymous character in post-war Britain and her turbulent friendship with Nancy.

Freya is not the most likeable of characters and Quinn has made sure that the reader sees that her flaws are obvious but also that the things that she dislikes most about people, society, and social morals are the faux pas that she keeps producing.

Even though Freya can be very unlikable so can Nancy. You find yourself yelling at both of them as they both make mistakes time and time again. Quinn really shows the truth about friendship. The upsides and the downsides and just how difficult sustaining a friendship can be.

I really loved reading Freya. It is by no means a small book but I wanted more. The story did not need more and I was satisfied with the story as a whole but I just loved it so much. I was bereft when it was over.

Freya by Anthony Quinn is available now.

For more information regarding Random House UK (@penguinrandom) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.com.

Title: Beatlebone

Author: Kevin Barry

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Canongate

The Blurb

He will spend three days alone on his island. That is all that he asks . . . John is so many miles from love now and home. This is the story of his strangest trip.

John owns a tiny island off the west coast of Ireland. Maybe it is there that he can at last outrun the shadows of his past.

The tale of a wild journey into the world and a wild journey within, Beatlebone is a mystery box of a novel. It’s a portrait of an artist at a time of creative strife. It is most of all a sad and beautiful comedy from one of the most gifted stylists now at work.

The Review

I genuinely have no idea what this book was about or what I was supposed to take from it. I felt this way midway through and after 320 pages I still feel this way.

John Lennon wandering around with no purpose. Ok. I still don’t get it.

Beatlebone by Kevin Barry is available now.

For more information regarding Canongate (@canongatebooks) please visit www.canongate.co.uk.

Title: Uncommon Type

Author: Tom Hanks

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Arrow

The Blurb

A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor. 

A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country’s civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game–and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN’s newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance, and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in this first collection of his short stories. They are surprising, intelligent, heartwarming, and, for the millions and millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have!

The Review

Tom Hanks’ selection of short stories is a delightful read. They read like the man acts and I don’t think I would have expected any less. You can see the blend of Hanks’s natural wit along with the influence of filmic style.

For me the one downside is that the short stories featured in Uncommon Type tended to be on the long side. You couldn’t reakky read the book in one sitting. However, they did work as perfect palate cleansers between different books.

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks is available now.

For more information regarding Tom Hanks (@tomhanks) please visit www.platone.com.

Title: The Gender Games – The Problem with Men and Women, From Someone Who Has Been Both

Author: Juno Dawson

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Two Roads

The Blurb

‘It’s a boy!’ or ‘It’s a girl!’ are the first words almost all of us hear when we enter the world. Before our names, before we have likes and dislikes – before we, or anyone else, has any idea who we are. And two years ago, as Juno Dawson went to tell her mother she was (and actually, always had been) a woman, she started to realise just how wrong we’ve been getting it.

Gender isn’t just screwing over trans people, it’s messing with everyone. From little girls who think they can’t be doctors to teenagers who come to expect street harassment. From exclusionist feminists to ‘alt-right’ young men. From men who can’t cry to the women who think they shouldn’t. As her body gets in line with her mind, Juno tells not only her own story, but the story of everyone who is shaped by society’s expectations of gender – and what we can do about it.

Featuring insights from well-known gender, feminist and trans activists including Rebecca Root, Laura Bates, Gemma Cairney, Anthony Anaxagorou, Hannah Witton, Alaska Thunderfuck and many more, The Gender Games is a frank, witty and powerful manifesto for a world in which everyone can truly be themselves.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Continuing with my reading of non-fiction about LGBT history and issues, I decided to read Juno Dawson’s The Gender Games.

The whole world of LGBT is diverse and multilayered that I do sympathise with both sides of the sexuality spectrum. The first is most obviously with the people who are in the LGBT community. They are still – 50 years after the Stonewall Riots – are having to fight for their rights. This is all kinds of wrong. Equally, I do sympathise with those who aren’t too familiar with the LGBT community. It can be difficult when you aren’t aware of correct labels and pronouns and I will admit to being scared of getting things wrong. However, what I have taken from reading The Gender Games is that it is ok to ask if you are confused.

It has also furthered my belief that LGBT history should be part of the curriculum. It will give people a safe space to ask questions and learn. Without this education, we are encouraging ignorance.

Part memoir – part advice guide, Juno Dawson gives harsh, beautiful, and realistic views of life living as a trans woman. Dawson’s ability to get to the nitty-gritty of the matter without making you, the reader, feel bad for not knowing everything (yet) is what makes The Gender Games so enjoyable t read.

The Gender Games – The Problem with Men and Women, From Someone Who Has Been Both by Juno Dawson is available now.

For more information regarding Juno Dawson (@junodawson) please visit www.junodawson.com.

For more information regarding Two Roads Books (@TwoRoadsBooks) please visit www.tworoadsbooks.com.