The Twenties Club’s Winter Reading List ’21
Unlike previous instalments of TTC’s reading guides, I haven’t actually read any of these. Wait, don’t leave! I’ve started a couple! Like Honeybee. OhMyGodReadItImmediately. And Little Weirds. Have a pen on standby.
Instead, these are all of the books I intend to read over the next few months, based on the glowing recommendations of friends and the TTC community.
Read with me and we can debrief afterwards.
The New York Times bestseller was purchased by HBO to be developed into a limited series with Bennnett serving as executive producer. The story follows a pair of identical twin sisters who spent their childhood together in a small, southern black community but now, as adults, live completely different lives: One sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined.
The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Dare
“Despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in her path, Adunni never loses sight of her goal of escaping the life of poverty she was born into so that she can build the future she chooses for herself – and help other girls like her do the same. The Girl With The Louding Voice is the unforgettable, inspiring story of a teenage girl growing up in a rural Nigerian village who longs to get an education so that she can find her “louding voice” and speak up for herself.” (Good Reads)
Insatiable by Daisy Buchanan
Described by Elle as “A witty and honest exploration of female desire”, and by Dolly Alderton as, “As filthy as it is funny”, Insatiable follows Violet as she finds herself in a dead-end job, estranged from her best friend, broken-hearted and broke. “….so when Lottie – who looks like the woman Violet wants to be – offers her the chance to join Lottie’s exciting start-up, she bites. Only it soon becomes clear that Lottie and her husband Simon are not only inviting Violet into their company, they are also inviting her into their lives.” (Good Reads)
One by Anna Jones, Cookbook
Award-winning cook Anna Jones, dubbed “Queen of the greens”, gives readers over 150 recipes for super-quick one-pan, one-tray meals. From Persian noodle soup; tamarind-glazed sweet potato; and halloumi, mint, lemon and caramelised onion pie. All delicious, whether made vegetarian or vegan, Jones helps you to reduce waste, use up leftovers and make your kitchen plastic free. Better for you, your planet and your pocket. *Chefs kiss*
Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
Aside from Honeybee, this might the book I’m most excited about. My friend Zahria (one of the most prolific readers I know) is currently reading it and has been raving. And various reviews have called it, “A must-read for fans of Sally Rooney, Taffy Brodesser-Akner and Fleabag.” Sorrow and Bliss is a melancholy and blackly-funny novel about a woman’s struggles with mental illness. Ann Patchett described it as, “A brilliantly faceted and extremely funny book about depression that engulfed me in the way I’m always hoping to be engulfed by novels. While I was reading it, I was making a list of all the people I wanted to send it to.”
How Do We Know We’re Doing It Right? by Pandora Sykes
I bought this collection of essays for my best friend’s birthday, and I plan on borrowing it from her once she’s finished. “Wide-ranging, thoughtful and witty, How Do We Know We’re Doing It Right? explores the anxieties and myths that consume our lives and the tools we use to muddle through. From millennial burnout and the explosion of wellness, to the rise of cancel culture, Pandora Sykes interrogates the stories we’ve been sold and the ones we tell ourselves.” (Good Reads)
Honeybee by Craig Silvey
Narrated by Sam, a trans child, who we first meet when Sam is fourteen-years-old, standing on the edge of a bridge looking down at the oncoming traffic. Sam is ready to jump until he sees an old man, Vic, at the other end of the bridge, who looks like he’s about to do the same thing. “Honeybee is a heartbreaking, life-affirming novel that throws us head-first into a world of petty thefts, extortion plots, botched bank robberies, daring dog rescues and one spectacular drag show. At the heart of Honeybee is Sam: a solitary, resilient young person battling to navigate the world as their true self.” (Book Depository)
Little Weirds by Jenny Slate
The New York Times bestseller about love, heartbreak, and being alive, first came onto my radar late last year when girls kept quoting passages from the collection of essays on TikTok (wow I sound cool). There were two I couldn’t forget, one was of Slate admitting she was scared, “Each time I fall in love I feel fear that the world won’t let me be in the world with it, that I either have to pick the world or the love.” And the other was about her arriving at a place of self-acceptance and contentment, “I am that mysterious stranger that I hoped to meet. We came here to live together until I could stay by myself. The place is here. The time is now. This is all my lifetime.” As one reviewer said, “Little Weirds reminds us that we exist in a world where we can start living as soon as we are born, and we can be born at any time.”
All The Young Men by Ruth Coker Burks
Recommended by numerous TTC readers, All The Young Men “is the true story of Ruth Coker Burks who, in 1986, as a young single mother in Arkansas, finds herself driven to the forefront of the AIDS crisis, becoming a pivotal activist in America’s fight against AIDS. Throughout the years, Ruth defies local pastors and nurses to help AIDS-afflicted men and emboldened by the weight of their collective pain, fervently advocates for their safety and visibility, ultimately advising Governor Bill Clinton on the national HIV-AIDS crisis.” (Good Reads)
Lullaby by Leila Slimani
A thriller about a “perfect” nanny’s transition into a monster that will take your breath away. “It’s no spoiler to say that this is a murder story. We know from page one that both these very young children will be killed by their nanny… But what we’re really waiting for is a motive, and Slimani ratchets up the tension by scattering clues, some so distressing that you read on with a genuine and mounting sense of dread.” (The Guardian)