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t'ART Reads: January

The t'ART team love to read all sorts of things. From the fantastical to the political, graphic novels to fiction, we are going to be sharing a few of our favourite reads every month.

This month, Lucie, Amelia and Clara share books that are tender and magical, painful and intricate, captivating and political. Read about why we love them below.

Why Lucie loves the Earthsea series by Ursula K. Le Guin 

Whether fantasy is your fave genre or not, be ready to have your mind blown. In this tender, dark, magical series set in the archipelagoes of Earthsea, we follow the magician Ged. We accompany his growth as he attempts to outrun his shadows, and faces the dangers of the world. You’ll get sea travels, meet lots of fascinating and non-stereotyped characters, and explore a universe strewn with wonder. You’ll meet gods. There is romance, which is tender and profound. The heroes are Black, which is a refreshing change from most white-written fantasy of the era. The series dates back to 1971, and contains six books.

I have always loved fantasy, and when I came across Ursula K. Le Guin in my twenties she immediately became my hero. Her style has become a massive inspiration in my own writing. Give it a go! Book Two is especially beautiful.

Why Amelia loves A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life tells the story of a life that is anything but little, a life spilling over with pain and with love. It is difficult to read. Some awful things happen to a person who is very good and very young. It tackles the impact of abuse on how a life might unfold, how a person might continue after the unthinkable. But it isn’t just about that. It is also about friendships so stuffed with love and care they are overwhelming, about the lives that exist around a life. It is about vulnerability and love, the pieces of ourselves we show to the world, and chosen family. 

Usually I am a reader of short books, the sort you can keep in your jacket pocket and get through in a week. But over 700 pages later I still didn’t want this book to end. I wanted more of Yanagihara’s exceptional storytelling, and to spend more time with the characters she has built with stunning intricacy and care. 

Why Clara loves Mad World by Micha Frazer-Carroll

I am really loving this book. I’m reading alongside studying clinical psychology and Mad World by Micha Frazer-Carroll feels like how we’re meant to be tying everything together. Reading this is like someone giving me the gift of how to articulate ideas I’ve tried to wrestle with in my head. I’m not finished yet, which is so often the story when I try to sit and read - but that is not a commentary on this book. If you believe mental illness and our mental health is political, this book will help you see just how much. 

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