Author Winnie Li's Essential Reading After 2017
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Winnie M Li is a a Taiwanese-American writer and producer based in London. She has worked in the creative industries on three continents and writes across a range of media (including a column for The Huffington Post), runs arts festivals, and is a PhD researcher in Media and Communications at the London School of Economics. Her debut novel, Dark Chapter, won The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize for 2017.
As 2017 comes to an end, what books could you suggest that people read to reflect on this year’s tumultuous events and why do you recommend them?
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
This has obviously been on the top of reading lists for a while, but for very good reasons! I finally read it this summer when I was visiting my parents in the US and Coates’ elegant, considered essays are a much-needed insight into the lived experience of race and class, which remains unknown to so many of us, simply because of the bodies we are born into. In the wake of the Charlottesville riots and #BlackLivesMatter, this is essential reading for anyone who wants to start to understand what’s happening in contemporary America.
The Shore by Sara Taylor
My pick for a book that addresses issues of gender, sexual harassment and assault through thoroughly original fiction. Not because it necessarily replicates what we’re seeing in the headlines right now, but it takes these themes and spreads them wide across a canvas that stretches over the course of three centuries, by following the story of two families living on an island off the coast of Virginia. Throw in ecological themes, a hint of the supernatural, and a dystopian ending and it’s all really impressive and impactful.
All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan
Another novel that takes the lived experience of gender and ethnic prejudice and boils it down into a small, but completely heartbreaking story, involving only a handful of characters in a provincial town in the West of Ireland. Such an incredible portrait of loneliness and the need for connection, written in a style that often had me crying at its simple, crafted beauty.