Books I Want to Read But Can’t Afford to Buy…

…So I really should join the library

Ugh there are so many books I want to read at the moment. I want them all and I really shouldn’t be buying any more books – in fact, I shouldn’t really buy new books at all. Except I want to support my local booksellers where I can, and I can’t walk past Waterstones without adding another title to the list.

Here’s what I have my eye on at the moment:

Red Snow by Will Dean

This is the second book in the Tuva Moodyson series and is the sequel to the brilliantly atmospheric Dark Pines. Tuva is a reporter for a local Swedish newspaper who just happens to be deaf. In this installment, she must investigate two deaths – one suicide, one cold-blooded murder. Are they connected?

I think I’d save this one for the colder months or a rainy weekend but it sounds great and I love the way Tuva is written.

The Ghost Photographer by Julie Rieger

I recently started listening to The Boo Crew podcast and in one of the first episodes I heard, they interview Julie, who seems pretty cool. I mean she’s cool anyway as a senior exec at one of the biggest movie studios in Hollywood – but throw in the fact she can see ghosts and entities in the photographs she takes – well, who could be cooler?

The book goes in on the trauma that led Julie to discovering this gift and honestly, I can’t wait to dip in. Even though paranormal activity is the one thing that truly, truly petrifies me – it’s also so fascinating.

The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett

This book centers around Australian Eleanor Mellett, a woman with breast cancer who moves to a creepy small town to take a job as a primary school teacher. Living along in a remote cabin with no internet connection or phone line, our protagonist wonders what happened to the previous teacher she’s filling in for, why there are so many locks on the door and who the fuck is knocking it late at night.

Compared to Henry James’ Turn of the Screw and a little known author named Stephen King, it sounds right up my street.

The Corset by Laura Purcell

I read Purcell’s The Silent Companions not long ago and loved it. It genuinely chilled me to the bone in some places and I found it really refreshing. The Corset offers more Gothic goodness with this tale of two women who couldn’t be more different.

Dorothea Truelove is young, hot and rich while Ruth Butterham is young, poor and on trial for murder. When Dot volunteers at the prison, she finds herself drawn to Ruth. But Ruth harbors a dark secret and when she reveals it to her new friend – the women’s lives are entwined forever. Is Ruth a liar or is she a mad, bad murderer as she’s already confessed to be?

Normal People by Sally Rooney

I flipping loved Conversations with Friends so I’m stoked that NP is now out in paperback.

I actually don’t really mind what this story is about because I feel Rooney could make me fall in love with anything just so long as she was writing it – but this is a story about love and friendship that strikes up between popular Connell and loner Marianne, two very different people who just can’t seem to stay away from each other.

Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground by Michael Moynihan & Didrik Soderlind 

I recently watched and fell in love with the Lords of Chaos movie, starring Rory Culkin which surprises me a lot. I mean, I didn’t think Norwegian Black Metal would be up there on my list of Stuff I Dig but here we are.

I have since grown truly obsessed with the rise of this music genre – and the horrific murder (and lead up to it) of Mayhem front-man Euronymous, at the hands of Kristian ‘Varg’ Vikernes. Honestly, it seems the BM scene was the bitchiest place on earth and I’ve been in some of my own in my time. True crime and men in tight black jeans are my jam, yo.

The Girl Before You by Nicola Rayner

I’m including this because a) it sounds like a banger and b) it was written by my friend’s sister-in-law. Which is so cool. Compared as these thrillers typically are to The Girl on the Train, TGBY focusses on the relationship between Alice and her MP husband, George.

Alice has always had a thing about the women who came before her – and George’s rep as a womaniser certainly precedes him. But when she falls pregnant, her unease turns to obsession – in particular, she can’t get one woman from his past out of her head: Ruth.

Ruth went missing when she and George were first year students at university and was never found. When Alice sees a woman who looks just like the mysterious Ruth, she starts to think there’s more to the story that her husband is telling her…

Cannot. Wait.

What are you reading?

Maximum Effort

So much of my mental health is tied up in how I look. In the sense that when I feel I look good, it makes me feel better and stronger – and when I’m not looking my best, it drags me down. It’s a vicious cycle because on the flip side, if I’m down or not myself, I’m less inclined to slap on my face.

Women are screwed either way. This is something we’ve always known. If we spend too much time on our appearances, men are the first ones to remind us they like the ‘natural look’. We’re called narcissistic, vain – but when we don’t brush our hair and skip the concealer, we’re hideous hags with no value in this world. Worse sometimes, we’re completely invisible.

Of course it’s exhausting and unjust – but it’s nothing new. I try not to let it get me down but it still does, especially as I grow older. I don’t remember the moral of this post, it’s just a stream of consciousness running through my head at the moment. I think I’ve said before that not a day goes by I’m not preoccupied with the way I look – whether it’s my body, my hair – my face. It’s always a spectre on the horizon – staring at me. Do we all feel this way?

Anyway, I looked at myself in the mirror this morning and it was worse than ever. Hair like straw, fringe in need of a damn good trim, dull skin – with yesterday’s make-up crusted around the eyes. I put a comb through my hair and washed my face but this is not how I wish to present. This isn’t me – and you know what, it’s not acceptable that I’m too tired every day to make an effort. I’m not doing this for anyone but myself but here and no I vow to put my face on and prioritise my self-care.

Tonight I’m going to do a pink clay mask and deep condition my hair – once I’ve taken off today’s slap-dash eyeliner. I’ll get a trim tomorrow and I’m getting my nails done on Friday.

I’m getting back in the game.