Edinburgh's Radical Bookshop

What We've Been Reading: March 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.


Lobster by Hollie McNish - A great addition to Hollie’s “moany” prose/poetry collections (her word, not mine!) Personally I love a good moan, especially when it’s packed with humour and backed with genuine political thought.

The Woman In Me by Britney Spears - very heartbreaking and touching, and highlights how little we know about highly reported-on people when those around them conspire with the media to create narratives that serve abuses of power.


Falling Back in Love with Being Human : Letters to Lost Souls by Kai Cheng Thom and Poukahangatus by Tayi Tibble - Two quite different poetry collections but both about making sense of the political, silly, healing, vulnerable sides of modern life.


There There by Tommy Orange Don't finish intense books on a plane -you are statistically more likely to weep! The tension and pace of the final third of There There is phenomenal. An exploration of uncertainty and identity, for a cast of interconnected indigenous characters, culminates in a stressful and heart-breaking climax at The Big Oakland Powwow.


Guest Privileges by Gaar Adams is a tender and insightful book that weaves memoir into a chronicle of queer lives in the Gulf States. Gaar’s writing recognises that the West doesn’t get to dictate what queerness looks like, and illustrates with nuance how queer migrant communities in the Gulf States subvert expectations of what it means to find your home elsewhere.


I started Helen Oyeyemi’s Parasol Against the Axe - I just love everything Oyeyemi writes - one of the most inventive writers of literary fiction working today!!! This is an incredibly strange, immersive journey through Prague, revealing layers upon layers of relationships and mysteries.

Re-read To Be Taught if Fortunate and The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet - I just love spending time in Becky Chambers’ worlds, and as a researcher I really appreciate the depictions of research as often boring and immensely rewarding in To Be Taught If Fortunate.

Permaculture by Maya Blackwell - I loved reading this month’s BEACON Subscription box book! It was a generative, practical and philosophical text, which I’m sure I’ll return to many times.

The Time of Cherries by Montserrat Roig - I also found this month’s SMOL Subscription box book really interesting, at times an intensely uncomfortable read, but hugely engaging and vivid, really paints a picture of 1974 Barcelona in ways I have never read before.


Levants by Nicolas Presl - A beautiful wordless graphic novel about a man travelling through what we assume to be the Levant are of the Middle East, and the woman he meets on his journey. The books  nests stories within each other, from tales that characters tell one another of about far off places, to the stories that songs tell on the radio. It's sometimes a somber look at patriarchal society, and other times a whimsical trail through meandering lives and hopes for the future. Once I started reading I couldn;t stop until the end. Unfortunately this book isn't currently available in the UK but do look out for it second-hand!


I read and loved two books for events I was chairing this month.

The first was Lynne Jones' Sorry for the Inconvenience But This Is an Emergency which is a terrific intervention into a new era of crisis & activism by a lifelong feminist campaigner and climate activist. It was practical, reflective and profoundly hopeful - a reminder we don't need to reinvent the wheel with each fight, tools and tactics have been tried and tested and we can adapt and reimagine them as needed.

The other was Jill Nalder's Love From the Pink Palace, which I revisited ahead of an event with Edinburgh Art Fest & the fab humans at Waverley Care. It's a memoir that transports you back to London's theatre lands at the height of the AIDS pandemic - the real stories behind her friend Russell T Davies' It's A Sin. It's so full of love and heart and bravery - boys like shooting stars who lived and loved fiercely and were gone too soon, boys who weathered bigotry and sickness with grace and humour and courage that were humbling. I loved it and was awed again by Jill's boundless enthusiasm for life, and for her boys, what joy and connection she brought to the page.

And on the side I've been devouring Talia Hibbert's clever romance after catching her on a panel about neurodiversity in fiction at the London Book Fair - as charming in person as she is on the page!

Oh and I'd started the month with a tremendous queer debut by Lotte Jeffs - This Love was billed as 'one day for a new generation' and it delivered on the heartbreak, the abundant love, the complex friendships, with a polyamorous twist and some interesting ground covered around (in)fertility, queer family making and trauma. Would highly recommend!

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