Fabulous travel reads: best winter books 2018

If you’re getting cosy with a book these Christmas holidays or looking for something fabulous to read on a trip in the New Year, then check out these reviews for the best winter books I’ve read recently. From dispatches inside a Russian jail with a member of Pussy Riot to the history of vibrators in the USA, there’s definitely something to keep you entertained this winter.

๐Ÿ“Œ Looking for some more fabulous reviews? Check out my previous book blogsย here.

 

Best winter books 2018 @minkaguides

Riot Days by Maria Alyokhina

UK publication date: 11th September 2017

Most of the books in my winter round-up have been written by someone famous but without the balaclava, you probably wouldn’t recognise Maria Alyokhina’s name. You’ll definitely know who Pussy Riot are though. This book isn’t definitive account of the shortlived activist band but rather Maria’s personal recollections of what it was like to live through this highly publicised time in her life: the plan, the protest, the arrest, the jail time. The book is only about 200 pages but it’s powerful in its everydayness. Well, doing activism is pretty normal to me but maybe not so much for everyone – but still, you would imagine by the way that Russia treated these women that they’d tried to blow something up rather than sing a song in a church. One of the things I’ve always found so fascinating about Pussy Riot is how they went from the fringes of Russian society to international icons within a matter days, and what a huge struggle it was for them to adjust. This book is a nice window into that experience.

Buy it atย Foyles.

 

Best winter books 2018 @minkaguides

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

UK publication date: 9th September 2017

If you have a Netflix account, you’ll probably know who Krysten Ritter is: Jessica Jones, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 – plus a featured spot in season 7 of Gilmore Girls. I love how un-American she looks for TV land with her pale skin and black hair. I kinda love the fact that she’s written a book, that it’s good and I can totally imagine her playing the lead role. Abby is a little bit Jessica Jones, in terms of her energy: a dark, haunted seeker-of-truth who is determined to never let anyone fuck with her ever again. She returns to her small hometown after a decade away, ostensibly for work. Abby is an environmental lawyer and her team from Chicago are tasked with investigating the Optimal, the manufacturing plant who may or may not have been polluting the water. We quickly realise that Abby has a lot of ghosts she never laid to rest here and her homecoming is going to stir up a lot more than professional trouble. I really enjoyed this story and hope she writes some more books with awesome female characters.

Buy it at Foyles.

 

Best winter books 2018 @minkaguides

Mirror, Mirror by Cara Delevingne & Rowan Coleman

UK publication date: 5th October 2017

A teen fiction novel, written by a model, called Mirror Mirror. Your reaction is probably like mine: next! But then Cara Delevingne isn’t really your average model/actress so I was interested to see if she would challenge my initial reaction. My advice for anyone interested in reading this book is: get past the first chapter. I nearly judged the whole book on this and put it down, but thankfully I kept on reading. The set-up is pretty standard for teen fiction: Red, Leo, Rose, and Naomi lead a pretty dream teen life. The high school friends (one beautiful, one creative, one with a difficult home life, and one outsider) are in a band together and are a bit too cool to be popular. Then Naomi vanishes and the friends have to band together to work out what happened before it’s too late. Pretty standard, right? Well, one of the most interesting things about this story it’s told through the eyes of Red, the outsider. She’s short, ginger, shy, alternative-looking – and a lesbian. Mixed into the narrative of this teen thriller is a very real perspective of what it’s like to be an LGBT+ teen in high school (even in 2017): constantly walking that tightrope between acceptance and discrimination. It actually paints a vivid picture of how quickly homophobia can rise out of nowhere, making giving the book much more substance than I had anticipated. I think some of this should really be credited to the book’s co-author, Rowan Coleman, who put this novel together with Delevingne. Either way, if you’re looking for some interesting teen fiction from a queer perspective, I definitely recommend checking it out.
Buy it at Foyles.

 

Best winter books 2018 @minkaguides

Vibrator Nation by Lynn Comella

UK publication date: 8th September 2017

An academic text on the history of female sex-toy shops in the USA might not sound like a fascinating read but I really loved it. Comella references the length of time she spent researching this subject multiple times (was it 20 years?) plus how in-depth she went (working in Babeland’s NYC store for example) and it really shows. I loved how comprehensive this exploration of the movement is and the fact that she managed to interview some of the sex-shop pioneers before they passed away. I really had a sense of how much has changed since the 70s – and even since I bought my first vibrator in the 90s! Quite amazing that a small group of women managed to take female-focussed sex-shops from a sidelined movement to a multi-million dollar industry. It made me want to do a pilgrimage to the West Coast of USA to visit some of the original stores, which may sound a bit weird but this book made me realise what a huge impact these shops had on female (and queer) sexuality in the Western world and how, generations later, we are all benefitting from this. I’d love to read about how the movement developed in other countries too. That’s my wishlist for Comella’s next book.
Buy it at Foyles.

 

Did you enjoy any of these books too? Leave me a comment and let me knowย ๐Ÿ‘‡

 

๐Ÿ“Œ Looking for some more fabulous reviews? Check out my previous book blogsย here.

 

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Best winter books 2018 @minkaguides

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