Why brown girl book reviews?
I love books. I studied English at uni, but when books stopped appearing on reading lists for me, I found it really hard to know which books to pick up. I looked at 'best-selling' lists and often found myself reading books that had no relevance to my life and told stories I'd heard again and again and again.
Another problem I encountered was that most book reviewers, in mainstream publications like The Guardian or even in the reviews section on Amazon, came from a completely different background to myself. There were certain books I read because everyone was talking about them, but I read them without the pages really making a mark on my life. I'd toss them away without any real consequence. I was reading for the sake of keeping in step with others. It even turned me off reading altogether for a while. I believed my apathy was because I wasn't analysing these books, like I did throughout my degree.
However, starting out work in the professional world, I realised how important it was to be well read, especially as an Indian woman in a relatively creative industry. I soon learned that people used knowledge of certain books and stories in conversation to suss out people's intellect and, in an environment where I already stood out, I thought it'd stand me in good stead to pick up on references and allusions to books in conversation. I toyed with trying to read ' the classics', aka books people always talk about, which would help me keep up with conversations. But, yet again, it didn't really feed my soul.
It was then I started asking my own network of trusted people what they had enjoyed reading, and I started to tear my way through them. Why was this? Because these reviews were from people who I trusted whose point of view was different from what we’re used to being fed. I discovered lesser known authors, offbeat books and hidden gems.
My best friends from uni and I have started swapping books because of this fact. If you're not in a book-sharing relationship at the mo, let me be your guide. I'll be uploading some reviews of some of the books that have changed me and also some popular books you can skip.