The Chapter W girls have been busy bees getting their noses stuck into more delicious literary delights, and Louisa Davies is here to share with you her favourite five reads for the month of October. Enjoy!
We are being seriously spoilt recently with a plethora of fantastic fiction that left us transformed to other worlds. From the early childhood of Peep Show actor Robert Webb, to the courtroom dramas created by Jodi Picoult, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions this month.
We hope you’ll enjoy our October reading suggestions, and let us know what you’ve been reading so we can include your suggestions for November!
How Not To Be A Boy – Robert Webb
Robert Webb is one half of Peep Show double act Mitchell and Webb, and we would be lying if we said we weren’t slightly biased going into this novel given our extensive love of the show. However, we can wholeheartedly say that this memoir is definitely one to add to your list.
Whilst it details Webb’s own childhood and rise to comedic fame after his stint at Cambridge, it’s also a fascinating insight into how we all perceive gender, most notably masculinity. As a young man growing up in a Northern town in the 1980’s, masculinity meant fast cars, booze, shagging and never ever crying. It didn’t mean comedy, education, or showing emotion, which for Webb, clearly posed a dilemma he’s struggled with all his life.
His childhood tales of a male dominated family mixed with his mother who he clearly idolised, mixed with deprecating stories of how his pent up frustration over who he was ‘as a man’ offers an insightful and honest look into who Robert Webb is, and poses a more important question of where these ridiculous stereotypes come from in the first place. One for a laugh, and one for the mind. Winner winner.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
This one… this one got us good. The story of Eleanor, an isolated young women who follows the same routine every single day – work, home, vodka, pass out. She’s a self-confessed oddball, whose life is left in a dark place after a disturbing childhood, with memories that she can’t face. When Eleanor accidentally makes a friend, her life changes, and it’s a story that honestly can’t help but capture your heart.
Eleanor’s loneliness is a clear theme throughout the novel, and her brutal honesty pulls on your heartstrings as you can’t help but root for Eleanor in every situation. She is a victim of her horrifying past, and you want to wrap her up in a blanket and be her best pal. A novel about just being nice, and don’t we all need a reminder every now and again?
Greatest Hits – Laura Barnett
Laura Barnett’s incredible debut ‘The Versions Of Us’ showed us what she was capable of, and with her latest novel, we expected great things. We weren’t let down as Barnett gave us an insight into the world of iconic musician Cass Wheeler, as she painfully goes through her greatest musical hits, describing the memory behind each song. It’s a story of love, heartache, tragedy, all glued together with a musical soundtrack.
Barnett is fantastic at a romantic narrative, really sucking you into the character’s life and leaving you feeling connected to them. Another incredible addition to this novel is that a real life soundtrack of all the songs was created to bring the character’s soul to life, which you can listen to for free on Spotify. Fantastic.
Small Great Things – Jodi Picoult
We’ll be honest, we had slightly started to grow a little tired of the usual format of Picoult’s novel of crime/build up/courtroom, but her latest novel changed our minds MASSIVELY. Small Great Things tells the tale of Ruth, a black midwife who is banned from helping deliver a baby born to a white supremacist family. After the tragic death of the newborn, Ruth’s world is turned upside down as racial tensions comes to the fore, and she is forced to confront issues that she has tried to shake off her entire life.
This is one of Picoult’s most important novels of her career (followed by Nineteen Minutes). An uncomfortably honest look into the racial views of 2017 America, which sits far too close to home in a post-Trump world. An incredible novel that confronts subjects we all need to keep talking about.
The Party – Elizabeth Day
If you’ve ever seen ‘The Riot Club’, you’ll be well acquainted with the twisted and scandalous lives of Oxford/Cambridge elite (if you didn’t read that in a Gossip Girl voice you’re a liar…), and if you’ve ever watched the news you’ll be even more acquainted with the fact that money gets you everywhere. And that’s no exception within The Party.
The novel is surrounded in anxiety – whether it’s class, relationships, or who you are as a person. It follows the relationship of best friends Ben and Martin, the latter hopelessly uncomfortable in the aristocratic world he finds himself in following his stellar education. His friendship with Ben, a wealthy man who has never faced the world no, faces issues from day one, but Martin’s fascination with the world Ben inhabits never falters. The novel spins from nostalgic childhood memories, to the current day – Ben’s dramatic 40th birthday.
If you didn’t already despise the unfair world of class and money, this novel will cement it further in your soul. You won’t always like Martin, and you won’t always want to sympathise with any of the characters, but this made it all the more enticing. One you’ll find hard to put down.
What books are you loving this month? Tweet us at @ChapterW__ and let us know!
Written by Louisa Davies