book reviews

Those of you who know me know that I began this blog as a space to share and talk about the books I was reading. You will also know that I was a very sporadic blogger, so it probably passed unnoticed when I stopped reviewing books at a certain point. While that was partly down to my usual, inconsistent Deborah-ness, the main reason I stopped posting book reviews was because I had, sadly and bewilderingly, stopped reading books.

The past couple of years have been a period of great personal change, and with everything happening in the country and so many urgent issues to fight and focus on, I found that I didn’t have the attention span or the mental and emotional energy to sit down and read. I tried, but I never seemed to make it beyond the first few pages, and eventually I decided to not force it, and hope that this too, would, pass.

It did. Something shifted in me since the new year, and I’m beginning to find comfort and meaning in reading again. Now, I hope to return to reviewing and sharing my thoughts and perspectives on what I’m reading. In the coming weeks and months, I’ll start posting reviews from both a backlog of completed books and those piling up on my bedside table.

For Fiction, click here. For Non-Fiction, click here. And for Vegan-related book reviews, click here.

By ‘vegan,’ I mean books that explicitly address veganism; violence against, and exploitation of, non-human animals; animal justice and liberation; or any work that engages with the use, treatment, or lived experience of non-human animals in an overtly political and/or ethical way. If you can recommend any novels, stories, or poetry in this category I would truly love to hear from you!

With that said, I will also apply a vegan lens to many of the other books I review. Similar to how feminist literary criticism engages, evaluates and deconstructs classic and contemporary literature from the viewpoint of feminism, feminist theory, and/or feminist politics, I am concerned with the ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforce anthropocentrism, speciesism, and the systemic oppression of non-human animals.

Having said that, for the sake of my sanity, I won’t be applying a vegan lens to every book I read. Since I was a child, reading has been a source of comfort and escape from the pressures, horrors and challenges of the real world, and often I turn to a book for some momentary relief from the distressing realities of animal cruelty and the animal agricultural industry. Being an ethical vegan in a non-vegan world is often heartbreaking and mentally taxing, and like any other justice activist, it’s important for vegans to practice self-care and rejuvenation. For me, that means curling up with a good book and forgetting myself and the troubles of the world for at least a little while.

I can’t tell you how happy and, frankly, relieved I am to have rekindled this key part of my identity. It was so strange to have lost what has always been my source of comfort and pleasure, and it feels so good to have found my way back here.