Sarah Waters Appreciation Month!
Back when I moved to Cambridge, I wanted to start a book club and meet new people. This idea turned into reality. The first book we ever read was ‘Fingersmith’ by Sarah Waters. We recorded the session, which you can find here.
Two years (and many books) later, we paid tribute to the work of the woman who kicked it all off, which was so moving! Most people chose to read ‘Affinity’ which is one of her more unsettling pieces.
It would have been amazing to get together in person to celebrate the second year of queer books, but we shall have to save it for a safer time.
Have you read any Sarah Waters? If so, what did you think? If you haven’t, find her work here.
Loveless, Alice Oseman
August was warm and the reading of ‘Loveless’ passed by in a sweaty blur in the garden chair. I sped through it very quickly, attached to the main character instantly and very invested in the narrative. The general consensus of the book club was that it was at times frustrating due to the characters’ lack of communication, but beautiful to see asexual representation in popular teenage fiction!
Alice Oseman is an author of young adult fiction, but her work is read by so many more. ‘Loveless’ was as close to her own experience of asexuality as it could be without being a memoir, and the truth behind it is richer for it. Not only is the representation positive, but it is also spoken from someone who is within the LGBTQIA+ umbrella! This is not to negate the value of queer novels written by straight or cisgendered authors, but it is important to celebrate marginalized authors wherever and whenever we can.
Oseman’s backlist can be found here.
In At The Deep End, Kate Davies
Winner of the 2020 Polari Prize! This was a huge win for queer fiction, particularly wlw fiction which so often goes unnoticed or is underrepresented and sometimes willfully ignored.
This is How You Lose the Time War, Amal el-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
Essentially a novel in letters, ‘This is How You Lose the Time War’ was a favourite with the group so far. It was full of obscure references to the characters’ names (Red and Blue) and their different permutations, along with references to well-known and lesser known literature. It was hard for me to keep up and I spent a lot of my reading time on the internet trying to look up whether something I was reading was a reference or not!
Amal el-Mohtar and Max Gladstone have extensive works on their own and I highly recommend you check them out.
For another book in a similar vein to novels that stray from linear narration, check out ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid for some bisexual representation.