Book review – Emma Dabiri – “Don’t Touch My Hair” @PenguinUKBooks #DontTouchMyHair #NetGalley


I picked this book from my NetGalley pile as being one of the older books there and because I’m committed to reading books by authors of colour around my 20BooksofSummer project. As usual when reading a book on my Kindle, I started to highlight important or pertinent passages … then I realised I was highlighting the whole book! So what I will just say first is go and get and read this book. It’s fascinating, shocking and amusing, and is a very positive book while highlighting massive injustices and systemic abuses of power and cultural appropriation (it also has one of the best explanations of cultural appropriation I’ve read). So read my review, but do go and read the whole of this book, too. It’s important.

Emma Dabiri – “Don’t Touch My Hair”

(1 May 2019, NetGalley)

As a black Irish woman growing up in a monoculture and having to make trips over to England to have various chemical and hot treatments applied to hair that was always being described as ‘difficult’ at best, with some times in Atlanta, Georgia where she actually managed to find some other black girls to hang out with (and be rivals with, about hair), Dabiri grew up feeling an outsider, fair game for comments about her hair and even for people touching it. In this book, which is ostensibly about black women’s hair but which takes in history, culture, politics and mathematics, she explains the power systems that have controlled black women’s hair over the centuries and perceptions and definitions of what is ‘natural’, and celebrates the powerful legacy of the mathematically sophisticated elaborate classical African hair styles which have lasted unchanged for centuries.

Dabiri discusses various periods of black culture in the US, from the Harlem Renaissance through to Black Power, and also the black hair-care industry at length, which makes for fascinating but occasionally wincing reading, explaining the powerful characters who made their fortunes through trying to “help” women have “good hair” (defined throughout three or four centuries as straight or curly, shiny, effectively white people’s hair). She moves to a fascinating history of African hairstyles as arising from complex cultural analyses and messages and a way with mathematics that was celebrated by early explorers then exploited out of slaves until just the odd person became celebrated as some kind of naive genius. Her analysis of why discussions of colourism (the promotion of lighter-skinned people as more “attractive”) misses the definition of (unacceptable) blackness through hair texture is powerful and has made me look at media representations of black women in a new light, especially after being educated about the mixed-heritage women with “good” hair who have been presented to us on the TV as the outputs of two black parents.

She discusses white people’s, black women’s and black men’s attitudes to black women’s hair in separate sections, unpicking peer group and cultural pressure and then the double bind she faces herself that can never fully condone her actions however she presents herself. I found the stream of commentary she has attracted to be shocking, to be honest, and heart-breaking, although it’s refreshing and cheering to read how her own attitudes to her appearance have developed and matured, making her a great role model, I would think, for other women facing the same battles. She’s certainly a very engaging guide to the topics she presents and a great example of how to include the personal and the universal in a readable book that teaches so many lessons.

The book finishes with a call to embrace the fluidity and gentle entrepreneurship of traditional (classical) African culture, while recognising the achievements and sophistication of that culture, which has been lost under the weight of colonialist narratives of the savage they had to tame (much as they had to tame people’s hair). A great and worthwhile read that taught me a lot.

Thank you to Penguin for making this book available for me to read via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

I’m currently reading books 1 and 2 in my 20BooksofSummer, so I’m spending some weeks in the 1950s on Tahiti in, well, “Tahiti” and birdwatching around (mainly) the UK in “Birdwatchingwatching”, both of which are proving highly readable.

Blog tour book review – David Abulafia – “The Boundless Sea” #WolfsonHistoryPrize @AllenLaneBooks @WolfsonHistory


First awarded by the Wolfson Foundation in 1972, the Wolfson History Prize is the most valuable non-fiction writing prize in the UK. It is awarded annually, with the winner receiving £40,000, and the shortlisted authors receiving £4,000 each. Over £1.25 million has been awarded to more than 100 historians in the prize’s 48-year history. Previous winners include Mary Beard, Simon Schama, Eric Hobsbawm, Amanda Vickery, Antony Beevor, Christopher Bayly, and Antonia Fraser.

To be eligible for consideration, authors must be resident in the UK in the year of the book’s publication (the preceding year of the award), must not be a previous winner of the Prize and must have written a book which is carefully researched, well-written and accessible to the non-specialist reader.

To learn more about the Wolfson History Prize please visit or connect on Twitter via @WolfsonHistory / #WolfsonHistoryPrize.

The books shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2020 are:

  • The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans (Allen Lane) by David Abulafia
  • A History of the Bible: The Book and Its Faiths (Allen Lane) by John Barton
  • A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution (Allen Lane) by Toby Green
  • Cricket Country: An Indian Odyssey in the Age of Empire (Oxford University Press) by Prashant Kidambi
  • The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper (Doubleday) by Hallie Rubenhold
  • Chaucer: A European Life (Princeton University Press) by Marion Turner

I was very honoured to be asked to choose a book to read again by the prize’s PR people (after my great experience reading “Birds in the Ancient World” last year) and selected this history of the oceans as I’m interested in the sea, travel and exploration. I hadn’t expected it to be over 1,000 pages long but managed with a PDF copy read on my tablet. It does look like a beautiful book to own and hold, though, too.

So, this is a book giving the human history of the world’s oceans, from pre-history right up to the year 2000. And it really does go from bark boats and dugout canoes to behemothic container ships.

The book opens with a preface setting out the structure and the author’s intentions, stating that it’s more a book about traders than explorers, as the explorers are only active for a while but the trade routes are what change history and lives and who often bravely establish routes. A very important concept for the book linked to this is presented early:

Discovery is not generally a sudden process; awareness of new land spreads thinly, but does not necessarily lead to further action, as the example of the Norse arrival in North America shows; the crucial change occurs when this new knowledge takes place in a wider world view. (p. 38)

and there’s a constant theme of far-off places being imbued with a mystery and wonder that are not so mysterious and wonderful when they’re actually visited. We are reminded that it’s not only spices and fancy goods that are important, but all the standard items needed for everyday life going from place to place. He’s also forthright about the importance of the lives of indigenous and otherwise non-European merchants and sailors, who are not as well-documented as their European counterparts but equally as important, and in the text for example Roman trade is sidelined from the main action when the activities of ‘native’ traders are pieced together. Women are mentioned in the introduction as harder to find but he does clearly treat woman travellers and merchants where he can find them in the records, and it’s important to have mentioned them and the issues in finding those records.

The first three sections treat the oceans separately, as the civilisations around them dealt with, traded around and interacted with each other in each one in isolation until the Middle Ages. We start off with the Pacific and the stunning achievements of its navigators, locating tiny specks in the huge ocean with no writing system but an established one for navigation (and pooh-poohing Thor Heyerdahl’s theories once and for all). Then we’re onto the Indian Ocean and an astounding mix of ascending and falling rulers, states and cities, with trading established early and China intriguingly coming late to the party, but fascinating details on, for example, the craze in China and Japan in the first millennium AD for Indian texts and works of art. We also here find networks of traders rather than the more isolated settlements of the Pacific. The section on the Atlantic covers my favourites the Norsemen and examines their coming to the Americas as well as the network of ocean-fringe trade and settlement that linked art and culture through Orkney to Portugal and Morocco. We also have a section about the woman settler Guðrið who visited Vinland and Greenland before settling back in Iceland (and who features in one of the books I’m going to read this month). Of necessity, it details the beginning of the slave trade. The role of the smaller islands off West Africa is fascinating (and also of course horrible) in this section and throughout the book as a named theme in which the author is interested.

Then we join up after about 1450 as people began to get seriously from ocean to ocean and look for passages north and south, finally working out how the world and its continents worked. The Suez and Panama Canals are discussed at length as everything gets linked up. The long view of the book as a whole is emphasised here, with islands like Singapore rising and falling in importance, and layers of artefacts being built up just as the Vikings covered the walls of Maes Howe with runic inscriptions. The way the world worked in these centuries did not represent true globalisation, apparently, but for example the sugar producers in Barbados responded to demand created by the tea trade out of China. The development of Singapore and Hong Kong is different but similar as small places continued to have a larger sway than one would perhaps expect.

The final section takes us from 1850 to 2000 and looks at the continued rise of entrepots like Singapore and Hong Kong and the huge sea-change (thank you!) that came about with the introduction of containerisation, which required railway infrastructure to be developed as well as shipping and brought other smaller towns such as Rotterdam into international importance. The Aland islanders rose to importance now, too, with small companies sending ships around the world. I did like this attention to the smaller and more diverse players throughout the book, found also in the way the naval warfare of the 20th century is left out to an extent to discuss the shipping industry and how it fared. I also found it fascinating to find out how late sailing ships worked the oceans, taking advantage of their speed as they did not need refuelling like the newer coal-powered ships. Eric Newby is mentioned in the section about these, which pleased me of course. There is a good discussion in this section about what globalisation is and the higher complication of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The conclusion rounds up how the oceans have now irrevocably changed with the loss of passenger transport except for cruises (and that’s now of course doubtful) and the dominance of containers. There are hardly any staff at the ports now, with most things being done automatically, and here comes China again, “with an enthusiasm not seen since the days of the Song Dynasty or Zheng He’s voyages” (p. 908).

It’s a great book and resource and one which addresses issues of under-representation of non-European traders and explorers. It’s extremely well-written and draws out so many fascinating details.

Thank you to the publisher and to the PR people for the Wolfson History Prize for sending me this book to read in return for an honest review on their blog tour, and also for allowing me to review it here.

Here’s details of week 1 of the blog tour, with two of us reading and reviewing each book this year. Follow the hashtag for all the reviews and next weeks’ three. Here is the review by my fellow ocean reviewer, The Last Word Book Review.

State of the TBR June 2020 #20BooksOfSummer


I finished 13 books in May, one of which was 908 pages long, and also read parts of two more, plus have three on the go, so not a bad reading month. And after having a lot of the shelf piled up, most of the back and one pile in the front, I’m now down to one pile at the back, so pleased with that.

I’m currently reading “Don’t Touch My Hair” by Emma Dabiri, which is a fascinating book I won on NetGalley about the sociology and cultural importance of black and dual-heritage women’s hair written by a Black Irish woman. I’m over half way through and learning a lot. Because my 20BooksOfSummer list is quite monocultural, I’m trying to explore the experiences of people who are different to me in the gaps between project books.

I’m also working my way through Jacky Klein’s wonderful monograph on Grayson Perry, which is worth lingering over. This is for Shiny New Books but I might review it in full on here, too. It’s the last of my books from Thames & Hudson for that publication, and I’ll be sharing my first two reviews next week.

Coming up of course are the first swathe of my #20BooksofSummer (read about my Pile here and find links to all my reviews as I write them up here). So I have books about Tahiti, an Icelandic travelling woman, the sociology of birdwatching, West Penwith, a pub landlady, Tolkien and the last remaining parts of the British Empire to enjoy this month (it seems to make sense to split them up into a seven, a six and a seven) and I’m looking forward to them, having succeeded in removing a book about the Inklings (DNFed) and a Pamela Brown book from the 2018 books already.

At some point in proceedings I will be continuing with “Rewild Yourself” by Simon Barnes, which I’m reading alongside my best friend and which I really need to get on with, and Paul Magrs’ “Lost on Mars”, which is proper sci fi but I am sure I’m in safe hands with Paul.

Let #20BooksOfSummer commence, and let’s hope I continue reading at this rate! Are you doing any challenges this month? Have you read any of these?

Book reviews – Pamela Brown – “Golden Pavements”, “Blue Door Venture” and “Maddy Again” #amreading #20BooksofSummer


I took “Golden Pavements” off the TBR as I acquired it in 2018 (thank you, Verity), but I knew if I read it as part of my “Getting Rid of 2018” 20 Books of Summer project, I would immediately want to read the other book in the Blue Door Theatre series I had on the TBR from 2019 – and what if I couldn’t fit them both in! (I don’t quite know why I thought that, as I ended up reading “Maddy Again” in part of an afternoon in the garden!). I’m happy to say that this attempt at preparing the early part of my TBR to be whizzed through during 20Books was more successful than my attempt to not have two Tolkien books on there (well, that worked, in that I now don’t … ) even though I ended up having to buy “Blue Door Venture” from Hive (who are actually doing better than Amazon at getting in paperbacks at the moment) to fill in the gap I didn’t realise I had. So, three books by Pamela Brown to round off May.

Pamela Brown – “Golden Pavements”

(22 December 2018 – from Verity)

Third in the Blue Door Theatre series and everyone except Maddy has joined Nigel at stage school. There’s loads of exciting detail as they settle into London life and even naughtily get jobs during the term, as well as touring and working as Assistant Stage Managers in the holidays. They all want to go back home and re-establish a professional theatre in Fenchester … except Lyn feels odd about that and might want “more”. The path her career takes is again given in delicious technical detail as she encounters a powerful older female actor who is not keen on being even inadvertently outshone. Meanwhile, in Fenchester, the Bishop makes a happy re-appearance.

Pamela Brown – “Blue Door Venture”

(28 May 2020)

The Blue Doors are back in Fenchester running a rep theatre in their slightly upgraded and beloved Blue Door Theatre, hoping to be able to pay back the loan they’ve had from the council, but living out the dream they’ve had since their early teens. But when a stranger offers help during panto season, things might not be what they seem to be, and the rest of the book is a caper trying to catch a villain, which is nicely put together and includes some great work from Maddy and her young friends.

Pamela Brown – “Maddy Again”

(16 December 2019 – from Meg)

Last one and we’re back with the ever-popular cheeky Maddy, in Juniors at the drama school and learning about making TV (Brown was a TV producer and I love all the technical details, something I’ve always loved about the whole series). Notable for the entirely positive introduction of a black character (who, nonetheless, highlights that they might not be welcome everywhere) into the cast, which up until now only had the rather stereotyped Indian, Ali, and a good fun read that sees a satisfactory reunion and life for the Blue Door Theatre Company by the end.

I’m so glad Pushkin Press decided to reissue this lovely series – I’ve got my original TV cover “Swish of the Curtain” (anyone remember that, with Sarah Greene as Sandra?) as it gave me a chance to re-read them and find them just as great as before.

Two DNFs today – a rare occurrence!


It’s pretty rare that I start a book and don’t finish it. I’m very open to not ploughing on with books that I am not enjoying, but I tend to select carefully to start off with (and my friends are really good at buying me books!) and then if I really don’t fancy something, I DNS it instead of even starting. These two have happened within the last week, and while it’s definitely a case of “It’s not you, it’s me” with these perfectly adequate books, I don’t think it’s indicative of a reading slump – one was picked off because I didn’t want two Tolkien books in my 20 Books of Summer, and the other picked up on Kindle because it was the oldest one on my NetGalley list – and that was obviously for a reason!

Colin Duriez – “The Oxford Inklings: Lewis, Tolkien and their Circle”

(31 Oct 2018 – The Newlyn Bookshop)

I managed to get half-way through this one before I accepted the dawning realisation that I’m only really interested in Lewis’ “Narnia” books (and certainly not the process of his religious conversion) and Tolkien in total, and found myself plodding through descriptions of Charles Williams’ Christianity-themed novels in the hopes of glimpses of Middle Earth (this is not to say I reject books about religion, not at all, but this is not what interested me about this circle). I have two other books on Tolkien in my TBR (including that huge companion to the exhibition I didn’t get to go to) so would rather concentrate on them. A perfectly competent book, although I wasn’t massively keen on the writing style.

Roxane Gay – “Not that Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture”

(01 Sept 2018 – NetGalley)

I didn’t pick up on the savage irony of the title, the author’s mantra for years after she was gang-raped as a teenager: in this collection she points out that yes, it is that bad, and here is the proof. There are then thirty contributions from authors who have experienced sexual assault, harassment, street-calling, all the #MeToo things we keep hoping will go away with more education but don’t seem to.

While I understand that it’s important for the rape culture that seemingly underlies not just US but all culture to be exposed and discussed, and it’s vitally important for people to be able to share their experiences and their pain, it’s also important that if we’re reading something that’s unremittingly grim and hugely upsetting we allow ourselves to look away from it and place it aside. I’m well aware of the terrible experiences so many women go through, and naturally have my own experiences of assault, harassment and street-calling (what female-identifying person hasn’t?) and this was just too much. To be fair, I was also looking for maybe some analysis or a call to powerful action which I wasn’t really finding in the 18% of the book I got through, and I took the time to look up reviews, too, some of which did mention this point.

So a vital and important book for many to read: I had a taste of it, couldn’t face reading on and will continue to support women who experience violence and harassment.

Thank you to Atlantic Books for the opportunity to read this via NetGalley.

Have you read (and finished?) either of these? What was the last book you gave up on?

20 Books of Summer 2020 is coming … #20BooksOfSummer20


Hooray – it’s almost 20 Books of Summer time, and this is one challenge I try to do every year. It’s hosted by Cathy over at 746 Books and here’s her launch page for this year.

I have a page on here for the challenge which lists all the books I’ve done for each year since I started joining in (here) and I will link to each review there as I publish it.

I also include All Virago/All August within this challenge, so this year my pile includes seven Virago (and friends) titles to read specifically in August.

My theme this year is Get Rid of 2018. I keep my TBR in order of acquisition, and have been reading books I bought a year ago for ages and ages. Since I started allowing myself to alternate between the oldest and newest books on my shelf, I have slipped way more than a year back with the oldest ones, and I am getting tired of seeing the same old books on the start of the shelf. So the non-Virago books will take us through 2018 and up to May 2019 (I can’t have bought much between my birthday and May that year!) and the Virago etc. ones take out the rest of the Christmas and birthday piles. The only ones that should remain that were acquired in 2018 are two Angela Thirkells (Christmas gifts) and those are waiting for the new editions from Virago that come before them in the sequence to come out, right at the end of August, so I haven’t included them.

Also not included in the pile are books in my current challenge (this is reading a Paul Magrs every month, whose books tend to be shorter than Irish Murdoch’s, who hampered my last two years!) and e-books, so a huge slew on Kindle from NetGalley and other sources. I like to make a physical pile and have one book per author, but rest assured, these will continue to be read, too (I’m reading more than 10 per month at the moment and the 20 Books project takes up 7, 6 and 7 book slots of each month).

I want to address one more thing right away. This pile is not very Diverse. Most writers on it appear to be white females (13) and males (7), some may be LGBTQ, I’m not sure right now.  Most of them (except travel ones, one biography and a US and an Australian novel) are set in the UK, even. This is weird, as I tend to read quite a diverse range of authors and about a range of places and people. In fact, the three books that come directly after this set of books on the shelf are the diary of an Indian man’s travels in Russia, a book about the role immigrants have to play in the life of my city and the autobiography of Tan France of Queer Eye, about being a gay Muslim! And I did think of making a Diverse Pile instead, but that seemed forced and a bit pi. So let me just reassure you that a) I must have just been going through a phase of buying in these particular areas, b) Virago and Persephone tend to sit there anyway, and c) I have plenty of books on all sorts of diverse topics by a lovely set of different kinds of people in my Kindle from NetGalley, etc., as well as in the rest of the TBR and coming up sooner if I clear these, and I will make the effort to read only books by diverse authors alongside this pile in June-September and seeking to learn about others’ experiences as usual.

The pile

Here it all is!

So June and July’s set is here:

George Eggleston – Tahiti – Man from the 1950s travels to Tahiti. Bought in a charity shop in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Nancy Marie Brown – The Far Traveller: Voygages of a Viking Woman – reconstructs the life and travels of the Icelander Gudrid and her context.

Alex Horne – Birdwatchingwatching – the comedian from Taskmaster and his dad spend a year doing competitive birdwatching with each other.

Philip Marsden – Rising Ground – a book about West Penwith, spirit of place and the historians who came before him, bought in Penzance.

Laura Thompson – The Last Landlady – the history of the British pub, through the lens of the author’s grandmother’s life as a pub landlady.

N.D. Isaacs and Rose Zimbardo – Tolkien and the critics – critical essays on Tolkien from 1970

Simon Winchester – Outposts – in 1985 he travelled to the outposts of the British Empire and this is a 2003 new edition with some additional material.

Ammon Shea – The Phone Book – known for doing a quest or two (like reading the dictionary) here he turns his attention to the history of the phone book.

Jeanette Winterson/Emmeline Pankhurst – Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere – Winterson’s call to arms from 100 years after women partially won the right to vote, plus Pankhurst’s landmark speech, Freedom or Death.

John Sutherland – Literary Landscapes – familiar literary worlds with illustrations, maps and archive material.

Anne George – Murder Runs in the Family – fun cosy mystery set in Birmingham, Alabama

Kim Gordon – Girl in a Band – autobiography covering her time in the band Sonic Youth

Tim Parks – Where I’m reading From – essays about books and reading

… and then the All Virago / All August section – I’m including Persephone and Dean Street Press as also publishing lost women’s fiction and because I don’t have seven Viragoes on the TBR if you don’t include the Thirkells I can’t read yet.

Dorothy Whipple – Young Anne – the last of her books Persephone has published and her coming of age novel

Edith Ayrton Zangwill – The Call – a scientist becomes steadily more involved with the suffragette movement

Elizabeth Eliot – Henry – the narrator’s unreliable brother joins the circus and does other shocking things

Catherine Carswell – The Camomile – portrait of a woman living in Scotland at the turn of the 19th/20th century

Ada Cambridge – The Three Miss Kings – three sisters in 1880s Melbourne. I was going to use this for AusLitMonth in November but I have so few Viragoes!

Margaret Kennedy – The Ladies of Lyndon – set around a great house in Edwardian times

Joan Aiken – The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories – wonderful stories all republished together and a lovely treat to finish up with.

What do you think of my Pile? Have you read any of these books? Are you doing 20 Books of Summer this year? I feel it’s a nice little bit of normality in These Circumstances.

Book review – Delia Owens – “Where the Crawdads Sing” #amreading


There was a point at which I seemed to see nothing but talk about and reviews of this book, and I was intrigued, particularly by its setting in the swamps of North Carolina. But I also saw there was a murder mystery element, which worried me, so I persuaded Matthew to read it first. He read it on audiobook (more on that in the review) and was raving about it, and shall we say “strongly encouraged” me to get a copy. So I did, and there came a space and I read it. And I think I loved it slightly less than he did, but we had a good discussion on it.

I saved a few reviews of it to read but if you reviewed it, do put a link in the comments. The reviewers I follow were quite mixed on it!

Delia Owens – “Where the Crawdads Sing”

(24 March 2020)

An accomplished first novel set in the marshlands of North Carolina (not even a small-town coming-of-age novel, more a tiny-town-coming-of-age novel!) where in one of the two converging timelines, young Kya sees all her family gradually leave and basically raises herself, her only friends Tate, a local boy who loves the marsh as much as she does, and Jumpin’, the older African American man who runs a small general store and, along with his wife, provides quiet background support (this sums up the novel’s approaches in favour of nature and integration). Kya comes into some contact with her local peers, mostly to her disadvantage, including Chase Andrews who, following the outsider versus star quarterback trope, shows some interest in her, so our suspicions are immediately raised when in the present day of the novel (1969), he’s found dead in the marsh. While Kya’s been educating herself and becoming an accomplished naturalist, all the town sees is the outcast ‘Marsh Girl’ – will she have enough allies when she needs them?

I found the book a bit clumsily written, needing some colons or semi colons where a new sentence started awkwardly. And the dialect is sometimes written out and sometimes left to the reader to imagine – I personally don’t mind dialect written semi-phonetically, although some people do. Interestingly, neither of these main issues for me were, of course, issues for Matthew, whose audiobook narrator smoothed them away! There’s also some fairly trite poetry that I skimmed over by a local poet – although its quality does get called out as weak by Tate, which I liked. There is some other poetry, Masefield and Dickinson, when Kya is learning about the power of the written world, and that little bit was enough, even though I realise the other was there for a reason.

I liked the sense of place a lot, and the history of the settlement of the marsh and how exactly Kya works to claim her patch legally. I also liked that she earns most of the improvements to her life herself, from bartering for food to keep alive in the early days to making improvements to her cabin (however, I did wonder how she knew to want various particular things if she’d never experienced them – had she read about bathtubs?). I also loved the careful observations of the marsh and its creatures and then the comparisons of the people of the town with the ways of the wildlife, remembering that nature has no good or evil, only actions to observe.

So nicely done and a good first novel, a good and engaging read but not the best book in the world ever. I can think of at least two authors who could have done this better, but then they’re Larry McMurtry and Barbara Kingsolver, so that’s not panning it by any means!

I’ve been making my Pile for 20 Books of Summer 2020 and will be sharing that at the weekend. How exciting! And I don’t think I shared these two new incomings (I’ve managed not to buy anything for over a week now, although had a session supporting books on Unbound (that doesn’t count, right?)

These two beauties are by Ayisha Malik, who wrote “This Green and Pleasant Land” which I read through NetGalley and loved last year. “Sofia Khan is Not Obliged” is a romantic comedy about a woman who’s given up dating until her boss asks her to write about the world of Muslim dating, and in “The Other Half of Happiness” Sofia appears to be married (spoiler! but we still get to find out how!) and dealing with the situation there. I am really looking forward to reading these!

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