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Whenever discussions around sustainable and ethical consumption happen, they inevitably come around to the topic of inaccessibility and the...

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Me at 24

Monday 23 October 2023

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As I child, I would have thought that I’d have my life much more together aged 24 than is my reality. Don’t get me wrong, I think that kid would still be really proud of who am now and maybe slightly in awe of my life now. I mean, I get paid to write about things I care about and live with a cat – what could be better than that?! 



24-year-old me is tired. I did just finish my Master’s, so I have good reason to be. I think everyone I know is exhausted at the moment. The state of the world has been a lot (understatement of the year) and has been grinding us down slowly. I’ve been trying to prioritise rest after handing in my dissertation, but that’s easier said than done. Capitalism also has a handy habit of making us feel incredibly guilty about resting and not working constantly. That’s super fun, thanks to whoever came up with that system! In such a system, actually resting becomes an act of resistance. And we can do our best to prevent harm to ourselves by reminding each other of that.

 

I finished my Master’s on 1st September, meaning that, at the time of writing, I have been uni-free for 7 weeks. It’s still early days and I’m trying to relax into some kind of routine. At the moment, that’s a lot of figuring out an organising system for my new flat (more on that in a bit), trying to figure out how I can survive (i.e. earn money to pay my bills and rent) while doing want I want and care about (i.e. campaigning, educating, writing). I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how I want to expand and continue my freelance work – whether that’s journalism, campaign projects, workshops, social media, research or other community engagement. I have so many ideas for things I want to do and be a part of, but I know a lot of them take time and slow work to achieve. I’ve got time and am not rushing anything, and staying at my hospitality job post-Master’s is definitely keeping some sense of continuity in a very disjointed time. 

 

I moved house just after submitting my diss. This involved very stressful few days of frenzied packing, sorting, redistributing and cleaning before I moved into my flat. This has been the first time I’ve lived somewhere that came fully unfurnished. Although buying a fair chunk of furniture and appliances is expensive, I had a lot of fun finding cute and cheap secondhand items. There are still a couple of non-essentials on my list (mostly more shelving. I have a lot of books…), but the flat has come together really well. My flatmate and I (and our cat Mayonnaise!) have made it such a cosy space. 

 

At 24, I feel much more secure and comfort in myself. In my values, my friends, my knowledge, my sexuality, my skills, even my fashion sense. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still an incredibly anxious bean (I have spent almost all of being 23 monitoring the regrowth of a chunk of my hair after I pulled it out as a result of my trichotillomania) and I get panicky, uncertain and paranoid on a regular basis. But I’m now much more aware of my brain and how it behaves and (some of the time) when it’s lying to me. 

 

I’m still religiously watching Strictly after nearly two decades of fandom, but I’m also bawling at the Ghosts Christmas specials and getting inspired by Alaska Daily. Quiz shows like House of Games and The Wheel are my go-to happy shows. I read books that inspired me, informed how I think and make me reassess the world around me. I also read books that are silly, frivolous, entertaining and have very little impact on my behaviour. Some of these books may be shit but they give me comfort, provide fun, laughter and escapism. And boy do I love them for that!

 

I feel incredibly lucky to have the pals that I do, even if I don’t see most of them as often as I would like. So many people from so many different areas of my life give me such joy and hope in people. Because if there’s one thing I believe in, it’s people. I feel like I have a genuine support network around me, and I’m so grateful for that. There’s nothing like feeling genuinely safe with the people around you. 

 

I may be tired, but this newly-24-year-old is excited about the future and what it will bring. More cats and more books I say! 



If you liked this post you might like: Me at 23

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5 Easy Ways to Take Action This Fashion Revolution Week

Friday 21 April 2023

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Happy Fashion Revolution Week! Okay, so it officially starts tomorrow but we can get ahead of the game. 

This is the week we commemorate the 1,134 mostly women garment workers who died when the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2013. This year, it is the 10-year anniversary of the tragedy and as always it is a reminder of the change that has been made since in the industry and what needs to come. It is the week we take stock of the progress we have made since then and push to make the industry better. It is the week we remind ourselves why we campaign for a better fashion industry and just how bad the system can be. 



1. Email brands as part of campaigns such as #SignTheAccord


It gets to them. It really does. We know mass emails influence a brand’s actions. They care about what people think of them and how their reputations hold up. We’ve seen this tactic produce effective results with campaigns like #PayUp, Victoria’s Dirty Secret and more. These bring ethical concerns straight to the inboxes to those who have decision-making power and can have a huge sway in brands’ actions. The threat of a removed or reduced customer base can influence policy, especially when combined with other tactics as part of a wider campaign. 
 
Campaigns often share email templates to make it easier for you to take action. For example, here are templates made by Remake for you to contact executives at Levi’s to demand they sign the International Accord on Fire and Safety, a legally binding agreement which ensures basic health and safety for garment workers that was first introduced in the aftermath of Rana Plaza. 


2. Talk about it with friends, family, and anyone you can


We need everyone to take action. And that means getting information spread amongst the majority. Tell people that only two percent of garment workers are paid a living wage. Tell them that Boohoo not only owns Pretty Little Thing but also Nasty Gal, Debenhams, Oasis, Coast, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, MissPap, and more. Tell them how some migrant garment workers in garment factories in Leicester producing clothes for Boohoo are being pai as little as £1 per hour. Tell them how Shein is producing 17 times more clothing than Boohoo, who are already notorious for their over-production. These facts are shocking and they are shocking for a reason.  These facts wake people up to the scale of the problem and prompt an alteration of behaviours. 


3. Donate to organisations, campaign groups and unions working to change the industry


Change happens faster when there are funds behind it. Campaigns run more smoothly and have more impact when they have better funding. The people working behind the scenes are able to focus more of their time and energy on the campaign, rather than having to take on other jobs that may be completely irrelevant to the campaign and increase the likelihood of burnout. 
 
Whether it’s a regular donation, a birthday fundraiser, or one-off, every donation is important and makes this work continue. Fashion Revolution week is a great time to look at how and where you can give your money to support the people on the forefront of action in the fashion industry. 
 
Remake hold fundraisers, both to sustain their own operations but also to provide direct relief to garment workers. These funds go directly to garment worker unions working on the ground and can provide support to workers and their families who have lost work when a brand suddenly ends a contract, does not pay for their orders (as happened in the 2020 lockdowns), or something else happens that threatens the livelihoods of garment workers wherever they are in the world. Previous fundraisers by Remake have helped provide food for garment workers in Bangladesh during the intense floods in 2022. 
 

4. Comment on brands’ posts asking ‘who makes their clothes?’


Again, this comes back to reputation and public image. Can they answer this basic question? Most likely not. The more brands are asked this question, the more ridiculous they look if they can’t answer it. If lots of people repeatedly, consistently and publicly contact them on these issues, the more pressure is put on them to change. 
 
If you follow me on Twitter, you will likely have seen me trolling Boohoo. It is one of my favourite pastimes and only takes about 30 seconds to do so. You can get a bit of public shaming and embarrassment in with your morning cuppa! 
 

5. Share your Fashion Love Story


The anti-haul posts! Take an opportunity to show you’re a garment you adore. If fast fashion is the toxic ex, slow fashion is the healthy partner who treats you with respect. As Orsola de Castro put it so well: loved clothes last. Share the story of a well-loved garment: how you met, your favourite memories, how long you’ve been together. Sharing our fashion love stories helps disrupt the narrative that clothing is disposable and instead pushes towards a culture of longevity, care, and circularity. 


If you liked this post you might like: 50 Questions To Ask Your Favourite Fashion Brands


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Clothes I Got in 2022 as a Slow Fashion Campaigner

Friday 3 February 2023

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Last year, after being inspired by fellow slow fashion blogger Farihah (@easypeasysustainability), I decided to keep a log of my clothing consumption for the entire year. It was overall a successful project and was useful to look at my clothing consumption and whether I really practice what I preach. I started off really well, making sure to write down details of each item straight after I got them, but a few items I forgot to log and only remembered at the end of the year when I was doing a review. I hope I've not forgotten anything else! But hey - nobody’s perfect. 

 

In this post I’m going to go through the garments and accessories I obtained this year. I have included any garment I received this year – they could be bought new or secondhand, given to me as a gift, for work/volunteering, or as hand-me-downs, or swapped. I’ll go through more specific stats on them at the end of the post, but generally most of the clothes I got this year were secondhand, and I also had a chunk of garment made for me by family members (big up both of my aunties for never letting me be without adequate knitwear!). 



1. Mustard Turtleneck Top

 

The first two items on this list were given to me by my flatmate. She had a few things spare that she didn’t wear anymore, so first asked our other flatmate and I to look through and see if there was anything else we wanted. I picked this out and I wear it a lot. I love a bit of yellowand bright colours, and it fits in really well with the wardrobe I already had. I wear this with jeans and skirts, and it also works really well as an extra layer underneath other tops, dresses and jumpers. 

 

Price: £0

 

2. Woolen Cardigan

 

The second garment given to me by my flatmate in 2022. This cardi fits well under shorter jackets, adds a cosy extra layer to winter outfits, and works well by itself in the spring! Its colour also means it goes with pretty much everything.

 

Price: £0

 

3.  Floral Dress

 

After I finished a few university assignments in February last year, I went on a little solo trip to Edinburgh to celebrate and relax. I had a great time visiting Edinburgh’s various vegan eateries, touring its bookshops, and walking up Arthur’s Seat. I also stumbled on an amazing place called Zero Waste Hub or SHRUB Coop. They are incredible. There is a pay as you feel cafĂ©, loads of secondhand goodies including clothes, books, and all sorts. They are fabulous and would recommend checking them out! While I was there, I picked out this dress and absolutely fell in love it. I have worn it a lot, on a mixture of occasions. It can be dressed up, or dressed down, and is easily layered (including with the mustard top I mentioned above!) to make it suitable for all weathers. 

 

Price: £5



4. Jeans

 

My old black jeans from M&S that I’d had for years finally gave out on me in 2021. The holes around the crotch had just got too big to repair and had frankly got inappropriate as well as quite cold. In March some friends came to visit for a long weekend, and we ended up in Retro, a vintage clothing shop hidden away in Newcastle city centre. A few days after they left I returned to Retro on the hunt for some new jeans. I tried on many pairs, and finally tried on these and they felt great. (They also make my bum look great if I do say so myself and it is a big win for my ego!). If you have met me in real life, you have likely seen me wearing these jeans. I have almost definitely passed the landmark 50 wears already. The people in Retro are lovely, I would highly recommend having a wander in and a chat to whoever’s on the counter. 

 

Price: £15

 

5. White Lace Top

 

In April, Newcastle University Feminist Society ran a day trip to the coast! We went to Tynemouth for a BBQ at the beach. Before we headed to the beach, we stopped off at the market in the metro station. We looked at secondhand books, ate vegan doughnuts, and this top caught my eye. I was stressing about the ethics and sustainability of top, and got chatting with the seller. She told me the clothes she was selling were deadstock from Debenhams after it had shut down a few months beforehand. I was happy that although it most likely wasn’t ethically produced, I could prevent a top I absolutely loved from going to landfill. I didn’t have much cash on me, and she didn’t take card, but she was happy for me to pay whatever I had on me. That ended up being only £2.80! 

 

Since then I’ve come to call this my ‘bisexual pirate top’ and absolutely adore it. I only wear it on days that I’m not working (pubs and long white lace sleeves would not be a good combination). I’ve worn it on more snazzy occasions but also like wearing it casually. It makes me feel fancy if I wear it casually and honestly we should be chasing that feeling more. 

 

Price: £2.80



6. GNDR Baseball Cap

 

In June I went to Green New Deal Rising’s meet-up in Coventry. It was the second mass meeting the group has run and it was great to see my climate pals from all across the country. At the meet-up were able to collect campaign materials like flyers, stickers, as well as t-shirts (if we didn’t already have them) and hats. I already have a GNDR t-shirt from my first action with them back in August 2021, but liked the idea of having a baseball hat to wear in the sun! I wore it a lot both while out campaigning and generally in the sun in summer. I don’t really have many summer hats, and this was particularly useful this year as I had my first summer on anti-depressants – us SSRI pals need to take care of ourselves particularly in sunny and hot weather. 

 

Price: £5



7. Todos Somos NEST Top

 

I attended a university awards event with North East Soldiarity and Teaching (otherwise known as N.E.S.T), a student-run solidarity and support organisation for refugees and asylum seekers in Newcastle and the North East. We all wore the same tops and kept them to wear at N.E.S.T sessions too (like English language lessons, circus club, etc.). They were given to us new, and as they were needed quickly and on a tight budget (as tends to be the case with small voluntary/third sector organisations), I’m unsure of the ethics of their production. This top is super comfy and I have also worn it as a pajama top many times since! It’s all about reuse. 

 

Price: £0


 

8. Guinness Top

 

As a bartender, your place of work sometimes gets sent free things (read: merchandise/advertising) by drinks brands. We had a few t-shirts sent from Guinness and I took one. I don’t know about the origins of this top, but it is comfy and easy to move around in. I only really wear it when I’m working, but I guess that’s its purpose. It’s useful to have a top that’s designated for work, just as I have some garments that I specifically don’t wear on days I’m working. 

 

Price: £0

 

9. Red Scarf

 

In July I went to Northern Fashion Week in Manchester and took the opportunity to stay with my uncle and auntie and to spend some time with them. Not long after I arrived, my auntie handed me a gorgeous red scarf she had knitted for me. I had to wait a few months to wear it, but it has been so great to wear in the winter. It’s a lovely colour and is so cosy!

 

Price: £0 (gift)


 

10. Pink floaty top


At the end of September/beginning of October, I went into Flea Circus (a secondhand/ethical shop in Newcastle selling all sorts of goodies from plants and jewelry to books and furniture) to get a birthday present and card for my flatmate. I saw this top and fell in love with it. Stocked from a local seller, the top is vintage and had been altered slightly to be cropped. The material is also gorgeous. I did my usual method of leaving it for a little while and if I still thought about/wanted it after some time, I’d go back and buy it. I went back to Flea Circus the next day and bought. It makes me feel quite fancy and the floatiness (yes I made up that word) of the material gives me so much joy.  I got a compliment from a customer while wearing it at work almost straight away and felt very pleased with myself. 

 

Price: £13

 


11. Pink Patterned Coat

 

A few weeks later, I went back into Flea Circus looking for a birthday card for my gramps (there’s a theme here), and got totally side tracked by this gorgeous gorgeous coat. I tried it on and spent ages pondering whether or not to buy it, and eventually decided to leave it and wait at least a day (while keeping my fingers permanently crossed that no one else bought it in the meantime!). I thought about it for the rest of the day and the next, so decided to go back and buy it. This would be my clothing investment for the year. 

 

I have since worn it a lot. It goes so well over so many outfits, and it actually has decent pockets! I’d been looking for a longer coat for a little while as I want to be able to wear a coat over my long cardigan, and this one fits perfectly! 

 

Price: £60



12. White Scarf

 

In September, my uncle and auntie came to visit me for a day while they were on holiday in Northumberland. Almost as soon as I saw them I was given a new scarf. This one is somehow even bigger and softer than the other one. It’s like having a blanket on me at all times. I have been to sleep wearing it a few times I will not lie. 

 

Price: £0 (gift)


13. Recycled Sari Scrunchie

 

I either have a scrunchie forever or I lose it very quickly. I’d just lost my favourite scrunchie, and decided I needed a new one. When I was in Oxfam looking for some new socks and a bar of soap, I saw a row of scrunchies made out of gorgeous fabrics. As I was in need of a new scrunchie, I bought an orange one and have been wearing it a lot since! It is made by a company that recycles old unused saris into new garments and accessories. The fabric is so soft and comfortable in my hair. I think these are great and would also make great gifts to femme pals. 

 

Price: £2.99

 

14. Socks 

 

Many of my socks are thinning or having holes in. It happens sometimes and can’t be avoided. I need to figure out a way of reusing old socks or repairing them, but right now I don’t have that skillset, so I desperately need new socks. On the same trip to Oxfam where I got the above scrunchie, I bought a couple of packs of socks. They are very soft, quite thick, and from a brief scan, the company seemed to be ethical. I will likely needsome more at some point, so if you have any recommendations for ethical sock brands, please let me know!

 

Price: £4.99

 

15. Bag

 

For Christmas, my auntie and uncle gave me an incredible brown over-the-shoulder bag. It’s gorgeous and I spent much of Christmas Day with it around my neck. It fits my laptop and has plenty of room for books and snacks (my priorities in life). It’s so practical, sturdy, and suits my style, I love it! I’ve used it most days since receiving it! It is ethically made by Aura Que, who produce accessories and bags in collaboration with workers in Nepal. 

 

Price: £0 (gift)

 

16. Multi-coloured croqueted hat


My other auntie is great at crocheting. Last year she crocheted me a scarf and several headbands. When her, my cousin and my uncle came around on Boxing Day, they brought loads of crocheted hats for us to choose from. It chose this amazing multi-coloured bobble hat. It’s incredible and it looks pretty complicated to make (I have no idea if it actually is or not). 


Price: £0 (gift)

 

17. White croqueted hat

 

I ended up with another hat on Boxing Day. It was originally a plan hat that fit snuggly to my head. However, when I put it on we decided it needed a flower embellishment and my auntie crocheted me one then and there. It makes me feel quite like Elle Woods when I wear this one!

 

Price: £0 (gift)


-----

 

Overall, I spent £108.88 on clothes and textile accessories in 2022.

 

Out of the clothes I gained, 41.2% of these were secondhand, 23.5% were homemade (big up my aunties), and 35.3% were new. 

 

I bought 47% of them and was given 53% of them. 

 

Out of the garments I received or bought that were new, 66.67% were ethically made (I haven’t included the homemade items in this).

 

2022 was the first year I actually monitored my clothing consumption, and I think I’ll keep doing this in years to come. It’s useful for me to know exactly what clothes I’m gaining and why. It helps me to both improve my own attitudes towards clothes and reassure myself that I’m only buying what I love or getting garments from sources I trust where possible. I think it says a lot that as a fairly privileged gal (read: middle class, slim, cis woman living in a city in the Global North) I was not perfect in my consumption. Not all the items I got this year were ethically made. But you know what this means?! That we demand system change at the same time as trying to change our individual attitudes and behaviours around clothing. 




If you liked this post you might like: What's So Bad About Fast Fashion?


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Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2022

Friday 13 January 2023

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Over the past couple of years, I’ve struggled with the question of whether I prefer reading. fiction or non-fiction. At some moments, I’ve tended towards non-fiction, and others I’ve preferred novels. More recently I’ve come to the kind of obvious conclusion that I don’t have to have a preference. Fiction and non-fiction can serve different purposes in my life and as long as I’m finding and reading books that I enjoy and/or learn from then that’s all that really matters. Last week I shared the 10 best novels I read in 2022, and today I thought I’d share the 10 best non-fiction books I read in 2022 too! I would love to hear what you thought of these books if you’ve read them, and if you have any recommendations you think I would like. 



1. First Comes Love by Tom Rasmussen


I have recommended this book to so many of my friends. It is absolutely brilliant and I couldn’t put it down, Tom’s writing is addictive. I would love to read more of their writing. First Comes Love is Tom’s struggle over marriage – it is something they want but is at odds with their values and feels exclusionary to them as a non-binary person. Yet it is still something they are drawn to. I loved reading Tom’s thoughts and discussions on marriage. It’s something I too find myself considering almost as a theoretical concept. Tom considers marriage from their perspective as a non-binary, working class northerner; its place within their culture, how their friends view it, how their family view it, their past experience with weddings and marriage of people they know, and consistently comes back to the question of whether or not marriage is for them. I loved this book and I’m sure I’ll come back for a re-read at some point soon! I first heard about First Comes Love when Tom was a guest on my favourite podcast All the Small Things with Venetia La Manna. I would highly recommend listening to that episode too!


2. Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom by Derecka Purnell


Becoming Abolitionists was a book I read quite slowly. A chapter here and there. It was a lot to take in and had a lot of information, but that’s okay, some books are meant to be read slowly and sometimes it can be better to read slowly rather than rushing through. This book is part memoir, part political manifesto. Using her own experiences, those of her friends, and many many case studies, Derecka Purnell picks apart violence to show how and why it is perpetuated by the prison industrial complex and how we can find solutions in our communities, not in more policing. She looks at disability justice, sexual and gender-based violence and even the climate crisis. If you’re not sure why we need prison abolition or how it would work, give this book a read.


3. Hands: An Anxious Mind Unpicked by Lauren Brown


After a conversation about my dermotillomania and trichotillomania – disorders which mean that I compulsively pick at my skin and pull out my hair – my friend Rosie lent me this book (which was actually on loan to her by another friend!). The author, Lauren Brown, writes about her own experiences of dermotillomania both as a child and as an adult. I’ve known the name of these disorders for a long time and recognized that I had them for a long time too, but I wasn’t really taking the impact they had on me seriously. Reading this book was the final push that got me to finally go on medication for my anxiety and I’m grateful to it for that. 


4. All About Love by bell hooks


I read this book in a day. I couldn’t put it down. hooks is brilliant. We already knew that. She is so missed and still has so much impact on us. Her writing had a huge impact on my when I was younger and still does today. I think I read it almost too quickly. I feel like I need to go back and read more slowly and in a more considered way. Even though I read it too fast, I still got so much out of All About Love, and needed to hear the thing hooks says in it. It got me reflecting a lot on my past romantic relationships, and how I value love in my life now, but also how love is valued in climate movements and impacts how we carry out climate action. I may have more thoughts on a slower reread, who knows!   


5. Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn


I read this book immediately after All About Love and honestly, these two go together so well I feel that my experience of each of them cannot be separated. Natasha Lunn’s discussions on the different kinds of love are wonderfully and eloquently written. She looks at friendship, family, and romantic love in such a clear and comprehensive way that feels almost like you’re finally exhaling after holding your breath for a while. This book felt like therapy, and the end made me cry while I was having a cup of tea in a Costa. I have since given several copies to friends, both just because and as birthday presents. I think everyone should read this. 



6. Experiments in Imagining Otherwise by Lola Olufemi


This book is top tier in every single way. I shed a few tears reading this, and it filled my heart with joy, love and hope, with the belief that change will come and that that change is in community. I started reading it while visiting my parents after I’d just handed an assignment in. I lay in my teenage bedroom unable to put this book down until I’d got to the end in the early hours of the morning. It is simply gorgeous. A few pals have borrowed it recently and had similarly reactions to it. I have a feeling I will revisit many times in the future. Lola Olufemi, you are the writer of this generation. 


7. Abolishing the Police edited by Koshka Duff


So much writing about police and prison abolition is US-centric. That can make it easy to think that the prison industrial complex or police violence is ‘only an American problem’, when that really is not the case. This book, edited by Koshka Duff, is a selection of essays by academics and campaigners all around the theme of police, prison, and border abolition and how the systems that abolitionism seeks to dismantle operate in the UK. Topics range from everyday borders and how we display carceal ideology in our everday behaviour to the arms trade and fascist panic. Throughout some specific terminology is set in bold with a definition so that you don’t have to already have a level of knowledge on abolition, policing and borders to be able to read and comprehend the text. 

 

8. Burnt: Fighting for Climate Justice

 

You could call my timing reading this book ironic. It was one of the books that I brought with me on my family summer holiday, when we went back to where I grew up in Wales to stay with my grandparents. I ended up reading this book days after there had been several unprecedented wildfires in my home county during the extreme heat, including one in a recycling plant and another across the clifftops of beaches I had grown up on. The title of this book was not lost on me. This book highlights the scale of the climate crisis and sets out the Green New Deal as a starting point to its solution. I wrote a longer review of it in this blog post if you want to find out more! 


9. The Transgender Issue: An Argument for Justice by Shon Faye


The Transgender Issue is essential reading for everybody, cis or trans. It is as so much information that both sets out the reality for trans people living in the UK and the systemic inequality that faces them, as well as highlighting what needs to be changed. This information is so accessibly presented and Shon’s writing so engaging that anyone can pick up this book and get so much out of it. If you want to learn about trans rights, or find understanding trans issues hard or considering how the media talks about trans people, this book is perfect for you. Please read this!


10. Border Nation: A Story of Migration by Leah Cowan


Another one of Pluto Press’s Outspoken series that I absolutely loved! In Border Nation, Leah Cowan looks at borders – how we interact with them on a daily basis, how they impact our movements, how they are monetized through the prison industrial complex and the colonial history of their formation. Cowan begins the book with some vital context, looking at the history of borders and migration in the British Empire (including Windrush), colonial wealth disparities, and the myth of the migrant ‘outsider. This book is brilliant for grounding the realities of migration in Britain and gaining an understanding of how borders operate to enforce oppressive systems.


Honourable Mention (or a little something extra): Takeaway: Stories from a Childhood Behind the Counter


When I was considering what books to include this list I was stuck at 11 when I’d decided to only include 10. I still wanted to mention all of those books here because sharing is caring. I picked this book up from The Book Bar in London the day before my birthday and adored it. Part memoir, part cook book, Angela Hui recounts her childhood growing up in a small village in the Welsh Valleys as a second-generation Chinese immigrant whose family ran the local Chinese Takeaway. Each chapter ends with recipes Angela ate with her family and is mentioned in their corresponding chapter. A wonderful book that deserves more acknowledgement! 



If you liked this post you might like: 10 Best Non-Fiction Books I Read in 2021


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Top 10 Fiction Books I Read in 2022

Friday 6 January 2023

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2022 was the year I rediscovered reading for fun. It was the first year since I was very very young that I didn’t have any required reading to do. I graduated from my undergrad degree in English Lit and Politics in the summer of 2021, and while I loved my degree it was amazing to be able to read whatever I want whenever I wanted. I started studying again in September 2021 and have continued my postgraduate course through 2022 and into 2023, but as this is a research course, I get to choose what my course reading is. While I read the detective novels I’ve wanted to, once I decide what text I’m writing on, I can read whatever the hell takes my fancy. By taking the pressure off my reading, I ended up reading more books in 2022 than I have in any other year before – 73 in total. I’ve split up my favourites into my 10 favourite fiction books, and my 10 favourite non-fiction books. Here are my favourite fiction books of 2022 (in no particular order but you may be able to tell which I preferred to others).



Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

 

This book reminded me why I love reading. It’s so gripping, I read it mostly in one night and stayed up into the early hours of the morning to finish it. It felt like I was a kid again. I loved the characters, the imagery, and the twists. And yes, it did make me cry. Ugh it’s just so good. Since I finish reading it, my copy has been making its way around my friends – if you’re my pal and you haven’t read it yet, my copy is currently free! 

 

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston


At the beginning of the year, I was really looking for some fluff to read. Red, White & Royal Blue was the fluff I needed. This book is just so cute and so gay and wholesome. As the main characters are members of the both the USA’s First Family and the British Royal Family makes it feel quite fanciful but also I don’t care, that’s the point of these novels. Would highly recommend if you a fun, easy read that might make you a bit teary at the characters being happy. 

 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie


I’ve read a lot of Agatha Christie this year (I study early-twentieth century detective fiction for my masters, so you know, makes sense), and honestly this is my favourite novel of hers. It’s so clever and easy to read. I couldn’t down even though I knew the ending (I’d watched the BBC TV adaptation a few Christmasses ago). On a remote island off the Devon coast, 10 strangers meet, none of them having met their mysterious host, and one by one are killed without explanation. The story bring sup questions of justice and the judicial system, morality and accountability. 

 

This book has a deeply racist history (it had two previous titles before And Then There Were None became the mainstream title, one of which contained a racial slur and the other still racialized language and imagery), so make sure you read a copy with this final title to avoid slurs when reading. 

 

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite


I found this book oddly hilarious. It’s ridiculous but so dark at the same time. I mean her sister is literally killing men left right and centre and the main character annoyed at her the way as if she kept stealing her clothes or getting home late very night. The key moment in this book is when Ayoola (the sister serial killer in question) starts getting involved with the man that Korede (the protagonist) is in love with and also works with – yep, it starts to get complicated. This book is a lot of fun. It is also short and easy to rad if you want a quick story. I am definitely going to be looking out for what Oyinkan Braithwaite does next! 

 

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating


I borrowed this book from a friend and it’s just so joyful and wholesome. Maybe a parallel to Red, White & Royal Blue, this is a wholesome Sapphic YA love story that will warm your heart. If you’re on the look out for an easy-read high school love story/drama and a load of queer joy to warm your heart, I couldn’t recommend Hani and Ishu enough. 

 

How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie


The main character in How to Kill Your Family is a brutal serial killer coming after each of her family members one by one. And I love her! Grace is hilarious, clever, and witty, and has an incredible level of bitterness that, let’s be real, would be relatable if you had her back story too. 

 

While reading this book I realised I still tend towards novels about murder even if they’re not the genre or time period I research for my postgrad. After finishing this book I took a little break from murder books for a little bit… 

 

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie


The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is called a masterpiece for a reason. I still personally prefer And Then There Were None as a novel, but Roger Ackroyd is iconic. I didn’t know its twist ending before reading it, and only figured it out just before it was revealed. This book is engrossing, clever, and honestly brilliant. Avoid spoilers at all costs on this one especially, it will make it even better when you reach the end. 

 

The Bread the Devil Knead by Lia Allen-Agostini


Lisa Allen-Agostini is a beautiful writer. Her writing is so engaging, and the characters so well fleshed out. I read this in one sitting in bed on a Saturday morning/early afternoon after I’d been working late the night before. I would give a trigger warning for domestic violence and murder for this book, as it deals with the protagonist Alethea’s internal struggle over whether or not to leave her abusive partner alongside her recollection of traumatic childhood memories. This novel is heartbreaking, and gets more so as it goes on. At the same time the last few lines feel like a deep exhale of utter relief. I would also give trigger warnings for sexual violence and incest. 

 

Forever Home by Graham Norton


I love Graham Norton’s books. His novel Home Stretch was featured in my top 5 fiction books of 2021 and this was the second book of his I read in 2022. This is a mystery thriller, and let’s be real, a hilarious romp, that kept me hooked from the get go. Like The Bread the Devil Knead, I read this in a few hours on a Saturday before I’d even stepped out of bed. I adore the characters in this book, especially’s Carol’s mum. The book keepa you questioning and theorising what the secret is and delivers a shock when its finally revealed. I can’t wait for his next book, but seeing as this was only released a few months ago, I will likely have to wait a long time. 

 

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

 

As the title would suggest, this book is gorgeous. I just want to hug this book. It’s a letter the main character (known as Little Dog) to his mother who cannot read or speak English, written when he is an adult. It follows the family history from Vietnam to the USA and throughout Little Dog’s life. It is beautiful and heartwrenching – a book on love and loss, home and displacement. Ocean Vuong is a truly wonderful writer. 



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