May’s Book Picnic Recommendations

On the first Wednesday of every month, GWL team members share what we’ve read recently at our Book Picnic. Like last month, our Book Picnic took place remotely, giving all of us some valuable social interaction, and providing us with many, many excellent book suggestions…

  • The cover of Bone China by Laura Purcell. A young girl in a dark blue Victorian era dress kneels and points to a doll in similar clothing that has fallen.Bone China by Laura Purcell. Recommended by Elaine, this atmospheric gothic novel takes place in Cornwall and is told in two timelines 40 years apart. Elaine thoroughly enjoyed it and describes it as having “quite a few twists in it”.
  • Fangirls by Hannah Ewans. Mattie enjoyed this nonfiction portrait of the passionate ups and downs of fan culture from the point of view of teenage girls. Mattie describes it as a “nostalgic and nice read”, as it’s brought back memories of being obsessed with music as a teenager.
  • Wintering by Katherine May. Gaby recommends this poignant and timely book that recounts May’s journey through her own “emotional winter”, a time that is defined by stagnation, loneliness, The cover of Wintering by Katherine May. Monochromatic artwork of a field with a river and mountain range in the distance. A dull ochre colored sun takes up most of the sky.and depression. The book explores how to learn from nature and embrace these dark periods in life as a time of renewal and healing. Describing it as “a beautiful book”, Gaby can’t recommend it enough, especially now.
  • The Flight of Sarah Battle by Alix Nathan. Recommended by Anna, this historical fiction book is set in the last decade of 18th century London and Philadelphia. It centers on Sarah Battle and her struggle for survival in a turbulent period in history. Anna says the book has very accurately drawn characters, and was beautifully written.
  • The Warlow Experiment by Alix Nathan.
    Also recommended by Anna, this is a fictional story based on a
    The cover of The Warlow Experiment by Alix Nathan. A renaissance style painting of a table strewn with flowers, fruit, and various bugs.real article the author found in an old newspaper. It’s a haunting tale of an 18th century scientist who seeks to study the effects of unrelieved solitude by confining a man underground for 7 years.
  • Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. Another
    recommendation by Anna, this book is inspired by the true story of Eyam, a village in England that in 1666 decided to quarantine itself from the outside world after they were struck by an outbreak of the bubonic plague.
  • People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.
    Anna’s last recommendation, this historical novel begins when Australian rare-book expert Hannah Heath is offered The cover of Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez. Mint green stick figure men on a red background. Behind each man is the hair and dress of a stick figure woman being obscured by the man.the chance to analyze the famed Sarajevo Haggadah. Anna describes the book as a real adventure and read it in 3 days, stating that she didn’t even want to go to bed, she only wanted to continue reading.
  • Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez. Read and recommended by Melody who describes the book as “interesting and anger inducing”. It is a revelatory book that brings to light the ways the world is designed around men, and how it ended up that way. (In part, Melody explains, because women aren’t the ones in positions of power making these decisions)
  • Fat is a Feminist Issue by Susie Orbach. Jo is reading a The cover of Fat is a Feminist Issue by Susie Orbach. The word "Fat" written in large magenta text vertically down the cover of the book.compiled version of Part 1 and Part 2 of this pioneering anti-diet book first published in 1978. It explores women’s complicated and socially driven relationships with their bodies and eating. Jo describes the process of reading this important book as a very personal experience.
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Recommended by Jenna, this book focuses on aging and reclusive Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo, who chooses to tell her life story to unknown magazine reporter Monique. The character of Evelyn was loosely based on Elizabeth Taylor and Ava Gardner.
  • Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina.
    Our librarian Wendy recommends this dark book that
    delves into, among other The cover of Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina. The Clyde Arc road bridge and Finnieston Crane are bathed in a dull atmospheric light with clouds hanging overhead.things, corruption in the police force in Glasgow. Wendy says the book has really good female characters, and Anna says that author Denise Mina “can do no wrong”. Luckily the book is part of a series!

This Book Picnic has given us an amazing range of books, from gripping novels to eye opening examinations of both society and ourselves.

If anyone has any recommendations of their own to share, or comments on any of the books mentioned, we would absolutely love to hear them!

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