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Welcome to the August edition of Bookish! This month, we’ve got a wide variety of books, from a local autobiographical self-help book to a short story collection, and finally a poetry collection. While these may seem like obscure genres, I have immensely enjoyed every single one of these books, and I think that if you give them a chance, you might too!

Loss, Life, Love  

Nalanie Harilela Chellaram

Genre: Memoir/Self Help

For Fans Of: Matt Haig

What’s in the pages? Loss, Life, Love follows Nalanie Harilela Chellaram through the hurt and healing of losing her husband. Finally, 16 years after such a painfully life-changing event, she approaches the subject face on, hoping that it will give her peace and, in the end, manages to create a heartfelt, devastating and hopeful book that deals with the subject of grief and the process of moving on and recovering from it, opening up fully to life and all its wonders.

Why should you read it? Loss, Life, Love is the first full-length book by Nalanie Harilela Chellaram; it serves as a part autobiography on losing a loved one and part self-help book for grieving loss. This book is a stark reminder of the fragility of life and reinforces to take every day as it comes, riding both the calm and the stormy waves. 

Loss, Life, Love is both humorous and heartbreaking, which at times can seem like converse feelings to be experiencing simultaneously while reading, but this is the genius of Nalanie’s writing – she allows you to realise that a situation is never either black or white, but shades of grey.

Whether it’s talking about the loss of Nalanie’s husband, the love of her friends that helped her get through or the healing nature of life through service, this is an excellent book for people who have faced death in their lives or are going through a stage where someone close to them might be suffering. It allows you to deal with grief and realise that death and, in turn, suffering itself is inevitable – but you can and will heal from them.

Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town  

Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Genre: Fiction/Short Stories  For Fans Of: Taylor Jenkins Reid

What’s in the pages? Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town is a collection of short stories about young people from small forgotten towns all across Alaska and America. Each exists in its own right and interconnected through characters and situations from one to the other. However, in towns where “nothing ever happens”, Hitchcock shows how this isn’t true for the interrelated lives of the people who live within these small towns.

Why should you read it? Hitchcock has written a book that most people from small towns and cities will relate to, and Gibraltarians are the perfect audience. This book is a beautifully poetic look into the mundane everyday events of most people and how these events can be earth-shattering for the person in question.

Writing with a poignant, relevant and critical viewpoint, Hitchcock manages to champion the forgotten and overlooked in society, shedding light on people who may be seen as “undesirable” and showing their humanity. If you’re looking for a refreshing book of unique short stories that you can get through quickly, I would recommend Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town because you might even see part of yourself in some of the characters.

Blackish

Tyrone Lewis

Genre: Poetry/Spoken Word    For Fans Of:  Kae Tempest

What’s in the pages? Blackish is a collection of poems written by Spoken Word poet Tyrone Lewis. The poems in this book are about love, life and a lot of pop culture and are packed with an unmistakably British style and swagger. If you’re new to poetry, I’d highly suggest this collection as an entry. 

In both its subject matter and style, this book is very unapologetically British – which is no surprise when the author lives and breathes the London poetry scene; he even co-founded Boomerang, an extremely successful poetry night in London.

Why should you read it? During my time in London, I had the privilege of watching Tyrone perform and grow as a poet many times (mainly during Boomerang, the poetry night he co-founded). He has always been one of my favourite British Spoken Word poets, performing with intensity and style like no other. This style and passion have translated extremely effectively into his debut collection “Blackish”.

Lewis is at the forefront of the up and coming Spoken Word scene in London and is one of its more creative and talented pioneers. One of my favourite parts of reading this book was reliving the poems that I have seen countless times and enjoying them just as much through the written rather than the spoken word. If you’ve never experienced spoken word before, I would highly recommend watching his poems “Sherlock” or “Grind My Gears” as a precursor to reading this collection of superb poems. 

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