Edinburgh's Radical Bookshop

What We Read in August 2023


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Welcome! You've reached the place where we, on a monthly basis, gather up what the Lighthouse team are currently reading. You can check out round-ups from previous months amongst our Read Think Act posts.

In August we hosted a Book Fringe, chaired events and held book stalls around town BUT we did somehow have time to read quite a lot. Maybe it was a means of survival?


Just finished listening to The Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Canas on Libro.fm. A Mexican gothic horror Western set in the late 1800s.It was a fun listen, and quite spooky in some places. I loved this version of what a vampire is, it was very different from the vampire stories I've read before.

The Roles We Play by Sabba Khan - I knew this was going to be an amazing read before I started because of all the hype around it -It has truly not disappointed and I now want absolutely everyone to read it. It's such a brilliant piece of work, so thoughtful and reflective of Sabba's own life growing up in London in a working class muslim immigrant family. Sabba's work as an architect also comes through in the way that the artwork is drawn, which is just so expressive and really different from a lot of the other graphic novels and memoirs I've read.

The Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki - A recommendation from the Lighthouse Beagle and one that definitely lived up to the hype. This book is about family, love, music, hellish contracts (literally) and suddenly aliens (it works, I promise, go with it). I loved the slow building trust and chosen families, the steady growth of love whilst also remembering the pain that traumas and cruelty leave behind. (CNs for domestic abuse, rape, stillbirth, transphobia.)

A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowlands - a very fun read, queer, funny, and fast-paced with lots of loveable characters and a slow burn romance which may drive you insane. Also, kudos for a royalty and leadership system which is genuinely kinda cool and intriguing (a welcome break from the usual royal fantasy trope).

Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn - I was recommended this by a customer who was looking for a book to follow this one as it had spoken to their heart. I'm reading it now and I'm really enjoying the openness with which Lunn discusses the anxieties and pressures (internal and external) surrounding romantic love, which often leads us to ignore our other loves in life, such as that for friends, non-romantic soulmates, family, parents, and also those who we've lost and grieve. She interviews a whole host of people from Alain de Botton, Roxanne Gay to Juno Dawson and Emily Nagoski.


Tell Me Everything by Laura Kay: a heartfelt, funny and sexy romcom with insights about dating, therapy, reuniting with an estranged parent, and having a sister (i always love reading books about having a sister)

Tava by irina georgescu: i loved reading this gorgeous cookbook about Romanian and Eastern European baking & desserts. So many flavour combinations and techniques were new to me, and just as many reminded me of the baking and cooking I learned from my grandmother in Austria. The photos and stories are beautiful and so carefully selected, highly recommend! (I came across Georgescu’s work through Cook As You Are by Ruby Tandoh, which I also highly recommend!)

Just As You Are by Camille Kellogg: omg so did you know you needed an all-queer retelling of pride & prejudice set at a queer online magazine?? Well you do! It is so fun and spicy and clever, and i really related to its discussions of gender. it had The Bold Type vibes and also made me want to rewatch The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun: do you like reality dating shows? Full disclosure, I really don’t watch those, BUT this book brings that world to life from behind the scenes, with a very sweet romance, neurodiverse and asexual/aromantic representation (ON PAGE, I mean the characters actually discuss the aroace spectrum), and a wonderfully large cast of characters.


Lazy City by Rachel Connolly - witty, funny and moving novel about grief set in a modern and personal Belfast.

Also listening to Happy Couple by Naoise Dolan. It has different readers for the different narrative perspectives which is very nice.


I read and loved Jan Carson's The Raptures which is hilarious & (lightly) sinister northern irish magical realism - it's got religion and politics and a precocious protagonist, and all the kids in her class are dying one by one and coming back to haunt her.

Also reading the new Emma Donoghue, Learned by Heart, and its sapphic boarding school coming of age centered on a young Anne Lister. It's pretty fkin great!


August was a bit of a reading whirlwind which I'm still reeling from but A Flat Place by Noreen Masud stands out. It's a memoir that seems to stand next to white, patriarchal traditions of nature writing with a lifted eyebrow. A story of complex ptsd, Pakistani and Scottish landscapes and how we inform nature as much as nature informs us. Gorgeous.

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