Quick book picks for July

A powerful bunch this month, which all feature memorable and distinctive characters and interesting narratives. I’ve cheated and put a graphic anthology that came out in June on the bottom of the list as I only got my copy a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to share it with more people.

  • Hold by Michael Donkor – A fantastic debut novel about two very different teenage girls coming of age, Hold tells the story of Belinda, who is summoned from Ghana to London to try and bring Amma out of her shell. Full of memorable characters and vividly accurate south London description.
  • Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg – Metafictional historical romp through the life of Jack Sheppard, thief and gaolbreaker, that tackles gender, oppression, and the truth in the archive.
  • The Life and Death Parade by Eliza Wass – An eerie YA novel about a travelling occult group, a weird rich family, and the power of love and loss.
  • Oreo by Fran Ross – Reissued this month but originally published in 1974, Oreo is a clever, satirical tale of a girl looking for her dad.
  • We Shall Fight Until We Win by 404 Ink and BHP Comics – A graphic anthology published for the centenary of the first wave of women in the UK, it tells the stories of political women, both well- and lesser- known. A powerful read and one to gift people in your life.

We Shall Fight Until We Win (pub. by 404 Ink and BHP Comics)

We Shall Fight Until We Win is a graphic anthology showcasing the lives of political women for the centenary of the first wave of women in the UK gaining the right to vote. Female writers and artists have come together to create short comics only a few pages long that tell the stories of women both well-known and lesser-known who have been engaged in politics in the UK and beyond.

The stories told in the book are wide-ranging, diverse, and often fascinating. This is an anthology that doesn’t shy away from the difficult topics, highlighting where the subjects of these comics have held questionable ideals. Many people may see the inclusion of Margaret Thatcher and question her place in the anthology, but actually the piece in question is about the fact she did not fight for women. Telling women’s political stories must include the less savoury elements as well. Alongside this, there is a focus on lesser-known figures and those often reduced to tiny notes in the margin of history (excellently covered in one comic) or silenced altogether.

It isn’t difficult to see that We Shall Fight Until We Win is an important anthology that engages with women involved in politics and activism in the UK. The short comics are moving and readable, making them an ideal way to engage people not interested or able to read a huge book about female political history, and the artwork is quirky and memorable. Once you read it, you’ll be thinking of more and more people in your life that need to read it as well.