Edinburgh's Radical Bookshop

What We've Been Reading: April 2024


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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.

April brought us lesbian fiction set in Cameroon, a science-fiction comic book, writing on the exhaustion of political organising and so much more.


National Dish by Anya von Bremzen - I love the concept for this book - journeys around the world learning about - and learning how to cook - national dishes.


Revenge by Yoko Ogawa - a series of interlinked stories, each one getting steadily more unsettling with unhinged characters and frankly odd decisions. Highly, highly recommend if you want a brilliant short story collection.

Welcome to the Hyunam-Dong Bookshop - Hwang Bo-reum - A comforting easy read. I think there were some cultural touchpoints that were less familiar to me but very interesting: things like burnout as a normal component of corporate work life and ideas about career/life trajectory that seem to be slightly differently loaded than in the UK. The novel itself is about very human characters who are just trying to live a life that brings them solace and comfort, find companionship and cope with disappointment and expectation. It was nice to read a novel about a bookshop where it's clear that the writer has some experience working in, or has done their research, about how to run a bookshop - like, how do you build community? And what decisions do you have to make to give your bookshop personality?

Weasels in the Attic by Hiroko Oyamada - A good length for a train ride. Kinda strange and good if you like the sort of book where it makes you wonder if the realms between this world and another are converging more than you might want. Sad about the weasels though.


Audition by Pip Adam - I'm just about to finish this magnificent book, hurling forward like the spaceship in which it begins, yet not wanting it to end because being with it is such a painful, generous pleasure. Adam Ley-Lange, on the blog These Odd and Special Things has described better what it feels like to read it HERE, but I'll say that this is a book that tests what fiction can do - a queer, abolitionist roar starting with three giants trapped in a spacecraft, whispering for their lives, and deaths.

Aednan by Linnea Axelsson, translated by Saskia Vogel - I’m cheating a bit on this one as I actually read it a few years ago, in the Swedish original, but seeing it in the flesh in its English translation reminded me that I need to shout about this incredible book: a novel in clear, sparse verse about Indigenous rights, identity and belonging, a family epic about Sami history and its relationship to the Swedish state, at turns intimate, furious and completely unforgettable.


These Letters End in Tears by Musih Tedji Xaviere - pacy, heartbreaking, funny lesbian fiction set in Cameroon


Alan Moore's Promethea is an occultist how-to manual masquerading as a science-fantasy comic book, but no less compelling (or beautiful) for it.


Grace Blakely’s Vulture Capitalism and Burnout by Hannah Proctor were fascinating reads that both felt hugely timely. For the love and laughs I devoured Love at 350 by Lisa Peers - queer romance set on an American version of Bake Off, with a refreshingly older cast of characters in their 40s - and Bethany Rutter's delicious and sexy Big Date Energy.


Wandering Stars by Tommy Orange focuses on the Bear Shield/Red Feather family tree, expanding on their story in There There. The intense weight of colonisation, genocide and intergenerational trauma is heaved alongside addiction issues for the Red Feather family and their ancestors as they strive to live their own lives.

Through their many forms of wandering* they are connected, like constellations, to each other and their Native identities. Despite entire systems being set up to destroy those constellations. As Opal muses “…surviving wasn’t enough. To endure or pass through endurance test after endurance test only ever gave you endurance test passing abilities. Simply lasting was great for a wall, for a fortress, but not for a person.”

Yes, the main themes are heavy - but Orange manages to mix in some levity and mundanity, and deftly flickers between about ten distinct narrative voices over 150 years. Impressive!

*daily walks, transient living, making music, substance abuse or self-harm and subsequent recovery, imprisonment and release, peyote ceremony, and family trips.

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