Title: Others – Writers on the Power of Words to Help us See Beyond Ourselves

Author: Charles Fernyhough

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Unbound

The Blurb

It doesn’t take much familiarity with the news to see that the world has become a more hate-filled place. In Others, a group of writers explore the power of words to help us to see the world as others see it, and to reveal some of the strangeness of our own selves.

Through stories, poems, memoirs and essays, we look at otherness in a variety of its forms, from the dividing lines of politics and the anonymising forces of city life, through the disputed identities of disability, gender and neurodiversity, to the catastrophic imbalances of power that stands in the way of social equality. Whether the theme is a casual act of racism or an everyday interaction with someone whose experience seems impossible to imagine, the collection challenges us to recognise our own otherness to those we would set apart as different.

Contributors include: Leila Aboulela, Gillian Allnutt, Damian Barr, Noam Chomsky, Rishi Dastidar, Peter Ho Davies, Louise Doughty, Salena Godden, Colin Grant, Sam Guglani, Matt Haig, Aamer Hussein, Anjali Joseph, A. L. Kennedy, Joanne Limburg, Rachel Mann, Tiffany Murray, Sara Novic, Edward Platt, Alex Preston, Tom Shakespeare, Kamila Shamsie, Will Storr, Preti Taneja and Marina Warner.

The Review

Much like the recent release Common People by Unbound, Others is a collection of essays, short stories, and poems of what it is like to be ‘other’.

What I learned from reading this wonderful collection is that there are so many relatable ways to feel other and that by sharing these kind of stories is so important because it makes you feel less alone.

Please support Unbound publishers because they really do release great books and support brilliant undiscovered writers.

Others – Writers on the Power of Words to Help us See Beyond Ourselves by Charles Fernyhough is available now.

For more information regarding Charles Fernyhough (@cfernyhough) please visit www.charlesfernyhough.com.

For more information regarding Unbound (@Unbounders) please visit www.unbound.com/books.

Title: Common People – An Anthology of Working-Class Writers

Author: Kit de Waal

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Unbound

The Blurb

Working-class stories are not always tales of the underprivileged and dispossessed.

Common People is a collection of essays, poems and memoir written in celebration, not apology: these are narratives rich in barbed humour, reflecting the depth and texture of working-class life, the joy and sorrow, the solidarity and the differences, the everyday wisdom and poetry of the woman at the bus stop, the waiter, the hairdresser.

Here, Kit de Waal brings together thirty-three established and emerging writers who invite you to experience the world through their eyes, their voices loud and clear as they reclaim and redefine what it means to be working class.

Features original pieces from Damian Barr, Malorie Blackman, Lisa Blower, Jill Dawson, Louise Doughty, Stuart Maconie, Chris McCrudden, Lisa McInerney, Paul McVeigh, Daljit Nagra, Dave O’Brien, Cathy Rentzenbrink, Anita Sethi, Tony Walsh, Alex Wheatle and more.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I love Unbound. The book they publish are often raw, interesting and steeped in reality. Common People is no different.

I loved it.

It is a mixture of short stories, essays, and poetry. If you grew up working class (and I did) then you will relate to this book so much.

Please check out Unbound’s upcoming publications and support upcoming authors.

Common People – An Anthology of Working Class Writers by Kit de Waal is available now.

For more information regarding Kit de Waal (@KitdeWaal) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Unbound (@unbounders) please visit www.unbound.com.

I Feel Bad About My NeckTitle: I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

Author: Nora Ephron

Pages: 162 Pages

Publisher: Transworld Digital

The Blurb

Academy Award-winning screenwriter and director Nora Ephron (When Harry Met SallyHeartburnSleepless in SeattleYou’ve Got Mail) turns her sharp wit on to her own life.
* Never marry a man you wouldn’t want to be divorced from
*If the shoe doesn’t fit in the shoe store, it’s never going to fit
*When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you
*Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of thirty-five you will be nostalgic for by the age of forty-five
*The empty nest is underrated
*If only one third of your clothes are mistakes, you’re ahead of the game

The Review

I love it when people just write about stuff. I know that sounds really random but it is the main reason I love British born writer Caitlin Moran and it is also the reason I love Nora Ephron – whom I believe was Caitlin Moran’s writing mirror image.

Nora Ephron wrote about stuff. Her style was witty and sassy but charming and engaging. I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman is a brilliant collection of essays on what it is like to grow up and indeed grow old. She was so easy to read that I am both, at once, devastated that she is no longer around to write anything new and equally happy that I still have a backlog of her writing to get through.

I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron is available now.

4 Stars

waveformTitle: Waveform – 21st Century Essays by Women

Author: Marcia Aldrich (Editor)

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: University of Georgia Press

The Blurb

Waveform: Twenty-First-Century Essays by Women celebrates the role of women essayists in contemporary literature. Historically, women have been instrumental in moving the essay to center stage, and Waveform continues this rich tradition, further expanding the dynamic genre’s boundaries and testing its edges. With thirty essays by thirty distinguished and diverse women writers, this carefully constructed anthology incorporates works ranging from the traditional to the experimental.

Waveform champions the diversity of women’s approaches to the structure of the essay—today a site of invention and innovation, with experiments in collage, fragments, segmentation, braids, triptychs, and diptychs. Focused on these explorations of form, Waveform is not wed to a fixed theme or even to women’s experiences per se. It is not driven by subject matter but highlights the writers’ interaction with all manner of subject and circumstance through style, voice, tone, and structure.

This anthology presents some of the women who are shaping the essay today, mapping an ever-changing landscape. It is designed to place essays recently written by women such as Roxane Gay, Cheryl Strayed, Margo Jefferson, Jaquira Diaz, and Eula Biss into the hands of those who have been waiting patiently for something they could equally claim as their own.

The Review

I like reading essays. I like that most essays I read give me access to a world that I usually have no concept of or have never experienced. This is why I chose to request Waveform from NetGalley. As expected, the essays featured in Waveform opened up doors to the writers minds and let me be privy to events that I didn’t previously have access too.

What I found was that some of the essays were so beyond my ken that I struggled to actively follow along whereas others had be turning the page so quickly so that I could absorb more. I realised that essays, like great novels can be read at any time but there are certain times when a great piece of writing finds you when you need it most. I think that is what is special about Waveform. It is that kind of collection.

Waveform by Marcia Aldrich is available now.

3-stars

ViewTitle: The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Non-Fiction

Author: Neil Gaiman

Pages: 532 Pages

Publisher: Headline

The Blurb

The View from the Cheap Seats draws together myriad non-fiction writing by international phenomenon and Sunday Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman. From Make Good Art, the speech that went viral, to pieces on artists and legends including Terry Pratchett and Lou Reed, the collection offers a glimpse into the head and heart of one of the most acclaimed writers of our time.

‘Literature does not occur in a vacuum. It cannot be a monologue. It has to be a conversation’

Welcome to the conversation. Neil Gaiman fled the land of journalism to find truths through storytelling and sanctuary in not needing to get all the facts right. Of course, the real world continued to make up its own stories around him, and he has responded over the years with a wealth of ideas and introductions, dreams and speeches. Here ‘we can meet the writer full on’ (Stephen Fry) as he opens our minds to the people he admires and the things he believes might just mean something – and makes room for us to join the conversation too.

(Amazon Blurb)

The Review

I love Neil Gaiman. I have said that I would love to tickle his brain and hopefully some of that magic and talent could be captured by my fingers. Sadly, I don’t think that I am going to get the opportunity to tickle his brain so instead I will settle for reading his books.

I wanted to read The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Non Fiction because I wanted to find out more about the man behind the writer. What was it that made Neil Gaiman so talented as a writer. It was the wrong thing for me to do. Neil Gaiman the man and Neil Gaiman the writer are one and the same. There is no line of distinction. What I did take from The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Non Fiction is a deeper love for Neil Gaiman.

Truthfully, some of the essays in this selection did not have a massive impact on me. However, there were plenty that left me stunned. Personal highlights were:

On Stephen King, for the Sunday Times

2004 Harvey Awards Speech

Some Strangeness in the Proportion: The Exquisite Beauties of Edgar Allen Poe

Waiting for the Man: Lou Reed

The Dresden Dolls: Hallowe’en 2010

Eight Views of Mount Fuji: Beloved Demons and Anthony Martignetti

A Slip of the Keyboard: Terry Pratchett

All of these were fantastic reads. However, there were two essays that stood out for me. The first was Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming: The Reading Agency Lecture, 2013. I am a big advocate of libraries and the need for them in a community and so I sat reading this essay agreeing with every paragraph. Anyone who questions the need for libraries needs to read this essay.

The second essay that really had an impact on me was So Many Ways to Die in Syria Now: May 2014. It is heartbreaking. Truly.

Needless to say, my love for Neil Gaiman hasn’t wavered. The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Non Fiction is a beautiful collection of essays and I fully recommend it.

The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Non Fiction by Neil Gaiman is available now.

For more information regarding Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) please visit www.neilgaiman.com.

For more information regarding Headline (@headlinepg) please visit www.headline.co.uk.

4 Stars