The June Shelf

To read…

Jess Phillips, Everywoman

This is a book everyone should read to understand that irregardless of what party you support, there are some MPs that make a profound impact on politics and should be respected for doing just that. Jess Phillips is one of these such politicians. Elected to Parliament in 2015 as the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, she has made quite the splash in the years since her arrival. Fighting for poverty, refugees’ rights and women’s equality she is an infamous face in the House of Commons, and is never one to bite her tongue on tricky issues. 

Her debut novel is part memoir, part feminist manifesto. It is both insightful from its perspective from the frontline of being an MP, and informative on major social issues. It is an accessible call-to-action, and is a pretty unforgettable read.

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The Only Story – Julian Barnes

Legendary British novelist Julian Barnes’ latest release is right up there with his other classics. The Only Story is written from the perspective of Paul, looking back on a relationship that dominated his youth: an affair with a much older lady, Susan Macleod, who he met at a local tennis club. The novel is a rumination on a love story being the only story. Despite its complications, our love stories are ultimately what define us. Love is the true protagonist in this novel – we aren’t given much of a glimpse into the subject of Paul’s love, Susan. She is simply the personification of the broader theme. 

Barnes’ writing style is so intrinsically English that it is hard for an English reader to not feel an affiliation with his descriptions of suburban life. This is a really wonderful book, and is perfect for the upcoming summer season when combined with the sounds of a nearby tennis court and a chilled Aperol Spritz. 

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Divided: Why We’re Living in an Age of Walls – Tim Marshall

Most people will have come across Tim Marshall’s debut book, Prisoners of Geography – a blend of social analysis, geography and history. His new release is of a similar vein, exploring the concept of walls within society, made all the more prevalent at the moment with Trump’s vocal desires to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. Marshall analyses walls across history, and the roles they have played in dividing nations. 

I recently saw Tim Marshall do a talk at Stanford’s in Bristol, and he was completely captivating. He has placed himself firmly in the Zeitgeist in terms of politics and social upheaval, and this book, like his others, should be on everyone’s bookshelves this year.

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To listen to…

Summer not from the OC but the season:

As we head into the warmer month’s, I am naturally curating the perfect summery soundtrack. Follow it on Spotify and I’ll keep it updated with tracks I stumble across.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/freyaparr93/playlist/0jOnAaRHI14nGNpTNoa4lN

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To watch…

Beast

I cannot recommend this film enough. Set in Jersey, it follows the protagonist Moll, who lives at home tied to her family. She meets Pascal, a local craftsman, with whom she completely and utterly falls for. He later gets arrested as the suspect of an investigation into a flurry of violent murders across the island, and she gets wrapped up in his world.

The film is stunningly shot, and is full of relentless twists and turns – it’s been described as everything from a fairytale to a thriller, and defines everything that is completely genius about British cinema. 

Hot tip: Under 26s can get £3 cinema tickets at BFI Southbank in London. Pop in with you ID and they’ll sign you right up. 

 

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