What’s in my Books Are My Bag bag?

books_are_my_bag_coverHey, it’s Friday! It’s almost the weekend!

Like most weekends, we’ll probably spend it stomping around London with our Books Are My Bag bags slung over our shoulders, visiting bookshops and buying more books. Because what else is the weekend for?

In case you’re not familiar with the very excellent Books Are My bag, they’re an organisation celebrating bookshops. They do amazing work, such as establishing ‘Civilised Saturday’ the day after Black Friday with the aim of encouraging people to head to their local bookshop. At Turnaround we think they’re great. And we’d like to give them a shout out for that.

So before the weekend lands, we’re sharing the last book we bought from a bookshop in this post aptly titled ‘What’s in My Books Are My Bag bag.’

Go forth and support your local bookstore this weekend!


I think it’s pretty obvious that I bought this because of the film Birdman! I was at Daunt Marylebone and thought I had best delve into some great American short fiction. I’ve not been disappointed! This has been a great book to dip in and out of. It also fits in my tiny handbag.


Although I originally bought this as a ‘dip into whenever’ kind of book, I’ve been compelled by Jay’s seemingly effortless reviews of bad restaurants. He is a master of pricking the pretension rife in today’s foodie scenes in the most entertaining way imaginable. I only wish he’d had more than 20 terrible nights out so the book was longer.


I picked this up the last time I was in Gosh! The latest offering from Jillian Tamaki, it’s a collection of web comics about a… well, a Super Mutant Magic Academy. Like Tamaki’s Skim (which I also loved), it touches of themes of sexuality and identity and is full of hilarious teenage apathy. It makes you LOL. A lot. And it features a queer character named Marsha who is the bees-knees.

BAMB - HKHeather

I’ve been reading graphic novels lately while I’ve been ill and generally run-down after my graduation weekend – nobody tells you how challenging the day actually is, 14 hours of drinking while wearing heels and schmoozing with your mates’ parents? I’m getting back to myself now however and have picked up Emer O’Toole’s Girls Will Be Girls which I bought in Foyles Charing Cross Road. When I got paid at the end of September I went on a bit of a spree there and at Forbidden Planet, and I picked up a few feminist non-fiction titles that had come out during my degree when I was restricted to course-material reading. I’m still a bit dazed from the flu (I reached for a seat belt on the tube this morning and got off at the wrong stop) but O’Toole’s writing about rural Ireland’s rampant casual misogyny, and especially Irish women’s internalised misogyny and young Irish girls’ tendency for anorexia, is familiar enough to make it a fairly light read. She’s funny without trying to make feminism “fun” (I have no time for that!) and finds new ground on which to shine the feminist light. I wouldn’t have otherwise thought critically about The Den, an all-day TV strand with human and puppet presenters that would host a sort of chat show in between cartoons like The Rugrats. Most rural Irish kids my age didn’t have more than about 6 TV channels growing up, so The Den was part of our after-school routine every day without fail. It was also entirely hosted by men and male anthropomorphic characters. Her background in theatre studies makes for interesting explorations of gender performativity and whilst I’m not very fond of academia right now, her mix of well-referenced research with a commitment to telling her own truth gives this title great depth.


I’m reading the Days of Anna Madrigal by Armistead Maupin. It’s the last in the 8-volume Tales of the City series of novels, following a ‘logical family’ (as opposed to a biological family) of queer characters through 50 years of San Franciscan history. The whole series has been such a joy – I don’t think I’ve read better, warmer-hearted writing about love and sex. Plus, you learn a lot about subcultural history (totally my thing) without trying. God bless realist novels, tricking me into learning since adolescence.

Happy Weekend Everyone!

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