Quick book picks for February

Escape the bleakness of February with some new books. Many of my choices are tackling some hard-hitting subjects in varied and interesting ways. Titles link to full reviews as usual.

  • The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara – A raw novel about LGBT life in NYC from the 1970s to the 1990s that weaves together characters whilst placing them firmly in real LGBT history (a good pick for February being UK LGBT History Month).
  • The Hoarder by Jess Kidd – The story of a woman who works as a carer for an eccentric old man and is drawn into the mystery surrounding him in his weird house.
  • Restless Souls by Dan Sheehan – A road trip tragicomedy about friends dealing with PTSD, war, and traumatic childhood events, which often feels like a specific kind of indie film.
  • Home by Amanda Berriman – This novel about the housing crisis and sexual assault told from the point of view of a four-year-old is a tough but also sweet look at life using a distinctive voice.
  • Eat Up by Ruby Tandoh – A quirky book about food and eating, with a style that won’t suit everyone but will appeal to Tandoh’s many Twitter fans.

Eat Up by Ruby Tandoh

Fresh food writing: Eat Up by Ruby Tandoh

Eat Up—subtitled ‘Food, Appetite, and Eating What You Want’—is a manifesto in favour of food that combines personal anecdote, discussions of topics such as comfort food, mental health, dietary requirements, and cultural eating differences, and a sprinkling of recipes. Ruby Tandoh is known for being a contestant on Bake Off and talking about food, particularly on Twitter. In this book, she describes a lot of relatable material for many people, including the phenomenon of eating each Creme Egg like it is your last of the year, and also gives short accounts and information about major topics connected to food and eating such as eating disorders and supermarket production.

The content is interesting and the style is charming and quirky. For people who enjoy books about food, this may be something a bit different in that Tandoh tries not to prescribe or pass too much judgement. The proliferation of descriptions of food can get a bit much, especially if you’re not hungry when you read it, but this is a book full of affection that seeks to combine a love of food and eating with discussion of some important things to consider (and a nice little selection of recipes relating to the content).