City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert and Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
I’ve been reading a couple of incredibly fun books that have transported me far from dreary Adelaide.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls is a fizz and bubble of a book which centres female sexuality and joy. Vivian Morris is blissfully rich (and blissfully unaware of the fact) when she moves to join her theatre director aunt in New York City in 1940, at the ripe age of nineteen. Obsessed with glamour, clothing and her own reflection, she is also blissfully ignorant of the violence that is threatening to encroach upon her newfound freedom. Wickedly funny and delightfully debauched, Gilbert’s sentences are luminous as always and the characters are authentic and lovable. This book will get you high kicking with abandon while you knock back all manner of strong drink – a marvellously pleasurable read to be enjoyed without a shred of guilt.
Like most people, I’m a sucker for a good cover, and I think this one is a real doozy! Magic for Liars is a gritty crime novel that takes place in an academy for magical teens and the book is just as fun as it sounds. Washed up PI Ivy Gamble is called in to solve the grotesque death of one of her estranged twin’s colleagues and she immediately becomes enamoured with the lifestyle and promise that Osthorne Academy appears to offer. This is no Hogwarts; Osthorne is filled with real teenagers who would rather turn their magic to creating indelible graffiti or float vulgar shaped clouds past classrooms. But as Ivy begins to unravel the mystery, she also reveals the dark secrets that lie beneath the Academy’s facade – and also the family truths that she has tried for so long to keep under wraps. Complex, witty and dark, this is a great read for anyone who has enjoyed Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series or Lev Grossman’s The Magicians.
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Two sittings with this little gem is all it took to race through Keiko’s intriguing world. Keiko does not live her life the way others think she should. As a child, she doesn’t get along with other children and doesn’t seem to understand basic social rules. When she gets a job in a convenience store when she’s 18, it seems she’s finally figured it out. We meet Keiko when she’s 36 and still works at the same convenience store, and she loves it. She lives and breathes being a store worker and marvels at the sounds, smells and routine of the shop. It is in this role that Keiko has found her life purpose, but feels pressure from her family and friends to have bigger aspirations. It is a strange and funny journey we go on with Keiko as she wonders about what to make of her life and if her connection to a convenience store is enough. This is a very touching story about finding ones place in the world.