Due to the reasons mentioned in my May Reads, I didn’t read much in June. I feel like it’s a confession that no self-proclaimed book lover should ever be making so publicly, but to hell with etiquette, propriety and your book snobbery. Yeah, you. In good news, I have half drafted my July/August posts already and have read a bit more in July, too, so things are definitely getting back on track. Yay!
The two books that I did read in June are also going to get their own individual reviews. So I’ll provide link to them on here once they’re up shortly. To make up for my lack of reading, I’ve also included some other links below that have stood out to me, such as links to further reading, an article, a poem, etc.
The Blood on My Hands – Shannon O’Leary
“Set in 1960s and ‘70s Australia, The Blood on My Hands is the dramatic tale of Shannon O’Leary’s childhood years, growing up with an abusive father, who was also a serial killer. No one, not even the authorities, would help O’Leary and her family. The responses of those whom O’Leary and her immediate family reached out to for help are almost as disturbing as the crimes of her violent father. Relatives were afraid to bring disgrace to the family’s good name, nuns condemned the child’s objections as disobedience and noncompliance, and laws at the time prevented the police from interfering unless someone was killed.
The Blood on My Hands is a heartbreaking—yet riveting—narrative of a childhood spent in pain and terror, betrayed by the people who are supposed to provide safety and understanding. The strength and courageous resilience it took for O’Leary to not just survive and escape from her father, but to flourish, heal, and triumph over the unimaginable trauma she endured as a child is both powerful and moving.”
There is definitely more to this book than meets the eye, even though it was a very, very difficult read. I don’t think the cover and the blurb quite do it justice but that may just be me. But this is a tale of survival, hope, strength, and courage through trauma. This is one of the stories that needed to be told in order to gain closure, and contains some very beautiful descriptions and moments among the tragedy. I received this book in exchange for my review of it. An excerpt from the book can also be found here on my blog.
An origami crane in remembrance of Hiroshima. A father’s faded old photograph of his 1970s pre-marital sports car. Youths congregated at a bus stop. The sounds of an empty house after the children have flown the nest. Common phrases spoken by US tourists. Gangs fighting to the death. Radioactive clouds raining down over Europe. A collection of Princess Diana memorabilia. Teaching English in Siberia. These are just a handful of the themes touched upon in Michael Oliver-Semenov’s deeply personal and introspective first poetry collection.
But this collection is one that I quite enjoyed. Poetry has to hit the right nerve for me. I’m more into poetry that strikes a personal tone, lays open the vulnerable, humane aspects of life on the page and converses and connects with the reader. And this collection did just that. The Elephant’s Foot evokes nostalgia, warmth and connection with its universal and timeless themes. The poems are very much about life – a reflection and a celebration of it through mini snapshots of its different stages. Mao combines death and tragedy with humour and daily routines of tea and coffee, making the collection vulnerably honest, relatable and humane. Again, a more in-depth review will be up on the blog this week. I also did an interview with the author, Mao, which will be up on the publisher, Parthian Books’ website this week or the next.
Wales Arts Review’s Flash Fiction Month
Throughout the month of June, Wales Arts Review published some fantastic flash fiction (under 500 words) by Wales’ finest and leading writers, to celebrate the form and of course, flash fiction day. A full list of the pieces are available to read on their website.
This was an article that spoke volumes to me. It is a must, must read for writers of colour. It is stuff you wish someone had told you when you first started but is also not too late to know. It is stuff that changes your way of thinking, and how you conform, without knowing. It is stuff that reaffirms that identity of yours that you’ve been trying to mould better to fit in, in order to ‘make it’ in the system. It is pretty much a manifesto. Yep. I’m calling it that and printing this out and putting it next to my non-existent writing desk.
And finally.. Some poetry tweeted out but the very lovely Poetry Society which was pretty fitting for post-Brexit June…