What We’re Reading: February

 Annie — 
 Orbital by Samantha Harvey

This book is absolutely exquisite, inside and out. The beautifully covered slim hardback opens to reveal poetic and ethereal digressions on a single ‘day’ spent orbiting the earth in a spacecraft. Over 16 circumnavigations of the blue planet, we meet 6 astronauts and learn their back stories, the changes they undergo in zero gravity, their philosophical musings. We also get some happenings on earth as they observe it from afar and report back to mission control below. At once a paean to planet Earth and a piercing look at the humans who have shaped it, Orbital comprises science, poetry, and heart. Simply a wonderful read. 

Annie — 
Welcome to the Hyunam-dong Bookshop by Hwang Bo-reum

A quaint independent bookshop in Korea and the characters who frequent it: what could be lovelier? Yeongju opened the Hyunam-dong Bookshop during a hard time in her own life, and it has attracted other people at a crossroads ever since. Told in gentle episodes over several years, we get to know Yeongju, her colleagues, customers and friends intimately. Someone once told me that book people are good people and this book is no exception – expect to find plenty of rabbit holes to fall down in the way that only book lovers know how.

Larissa —
Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson

Caleb Azumah Nelson’s second novel after his stunning debut Open Water definitely lives up to the hype. Nelson’s writing is rhythmic with poetry interweaved into each sentence, making the whole book move like a song. You can’t help but root for the characters and their ‘small worlds’, as they muddle their way through life as Ghanaian migrants in South London. It’s a nuanced coming-of-age story that interweaves race, family struggles and, of course, first love. If you’re a fan of contemporary literature this is a must read.