The Book of the Month for February is Emilie Pine's Notes to Self.
In this debut, Pine speaks to the business of living as a woman in the 21st century - its extraordinary pain and its extraordinary joy. Courageous, humane and uncompromising, she writes with radical honesty on birth and death, on the grief of infertility, on caring for her alcoholic father, on taboos around female bodies and female pain, on sexual violence and violence against the self. Devastatingly poignant and profoundly wise - and joyful against the odds - Notes to Self offers a portrait not just of its author but of a whole generation.
I've not had a great deal of experience with essay collections but Pine's was definitely a great place to start - if there ever was a book to grab your attention with its first sentence, then this is it. The topics covered are pertinent to women everywhere - I found the ones relating to academia particularly relatable. The subjects are raw, powerful and potentially triggering yet they are all dealt with sensitively and truthfully. Crucially, and what makes this such an important book, is that Pine brings our attention to topics that are rarely discussed so openly and honestly but which undoubtedly deserve much more attention.