The Lit Club: Meet The Writers - Aug2021


[Image description: Someone holding a book and looking at books on the shelf. White text is placed at the top of the image reading “Lit Club, August 2021”.]

Edited by Emily Bourne

Hello bookworms! We are so excited to announce that we are re-vamping Lit Club here at Risen!: We’ve brought on a whole new team of readers to contribute - some members of the Risen team and some avid readers that we’ve connected with through Instagram. 

This edition will introduce you to the new crew - each review is on different books, with no particular theme, just so you can get to know each reader a bit better. Enjoy and stay tuned for new editions! If you’d like to join Lit Club, or suggest any books/genre/themes, drop us a message on our Instagram

Disability Visibility

Edited by Alice Wong

[Image description: Picture of the front of the book ‘Disability Visibility’ by Alice Wong. The front cover has a white background with 5 coloured triangles overlapping. The colours of the triangles are pink, purple, dark blue, light blue and yellow. Text on the front page reads ‘Disability Visability - first person stories from the twenty-first century’ and in the top left hand corner is a review from Gaelynn Lea that reads ‘These essays are the heart, the bones, and the blood of Disability Rights’.]

Hi! My name is Emily and I’m into all sorts of books. I enjoy a bit of fantasy, as long as it’s written well, lgbtqi+ fiction and non-fiction, poetry, political commentary - I’m really into anything! 

Some of the books I’ve read since January, that I’d recommend, are: The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida, American Dirt, Shuggie Bain, Disability Visibility, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, They Both Die at The End, We Need To Talk About Kevin and Plague Years.

Disability Visibility is a collection of essays, interview transcripts, creative prose and more all by disabled authors - and let me tell you, there is so much in this book I had never thought about in regard to disability and accessibility, even as a chronically ill person myself. 

This book was a wonderful, sometimes infuriating, and thought-provoking read that goes beyond the average person’s understanding and awareness of disability. We hear first hand experiences from people with invisible illnesses, we are made privy to how it must feel to be in an argument whether disabled people should be allowed to exist, and we learn what it’s like to be disabled in a women’s prison. 

Split across four sections - Being, Becoming, Doing and Connecting, each author has their own distinct voice that begs to be heard. It doesn’t just show one face of disability, and the collection itself is accessible, responsible (coming with content warnings for potentially triggering content) and has a diverse range of conversations on disabilities.

I think this is a staple read for anyone who is passionate about social justice and  for people who like to learn about others and the world: this book really gives you an intimate understanding of many  different types of human experience.

Buy this book, read this book and tell all your friends about this book. (You’re welcome)





By Andrew O’Hagan


[Image descriptions: The book ‘Mayflies’ written by Andrew O’Hagan, which has a picture of three people laughing on it. The picture is in black and white and cuts out most of their faces. The title and author’s name is written in white on top of the image.]


Hello Risen Zine Readers, my name is Meg and I am an artist based in the Scottish Borders. I love reading, so much that I’ve nearly hit my target of 100 books this year! I read all genres, but my favourites are contemporary, historical fiction and young adult. Books I’ve loved so far this year have been: A Woman Is No Man, Noughts & Crosses, His Dark Materials (series), Bunny and Mayflies.


For a bit of an introduction, here’s a small synopsis of the book from Goodreads: “Everyone has a Tully Dawson: the friend who defines your life.


In the summer of 1986, in a small Scottish town, James and Tully ignite a brilliant friendship based on music, films and the rebel spirit. With school over and the locked world of their fathers before them, they rush towards the climax of their youth: a magical weekend in Manchester, the epicentre of everything that inspires them in working-class Britain. There, against the greatest soundtrack ever recorded, a vow is made: to go at life differently. Thirty years on, half a life away, the phone rings. Tully has news.


Mayflies is a memorial to youth's euphorias and to everyday tragedy. A tender goodbye to an old union, it discovers the joy and the costs of love.”


So, now, my review… This book was an absolute treasure to read, and O’Hagan has written it beautifully. 


For me personally, it felt close to home because it is set in Ayrshire and Glasgow, very close to where I grew up. There were references throughout the book that made me very nostalgic so I especially recommend it to anyone also from the area. 


While I loved the point of view of the main character,  I did find it a very masculine book with a lot of banter between the friends sothe first half was not particularly my cup of tea. 


Overall, I really did enjoy and appreciate it, like reconnecting with a friend I haven’t seen in a while.I recommend this book, especially for those of you who grew up in Scotland as like me you might find this is the thing you’ve needed to remind you of your roots.





This Is How You Lose The Time War 

By Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone 

[Image description: Image of the book ‘This Is How You Lose the Time War’ by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. The book has a light blue cover and features an art piece of two birds, in a upside down mirrored fashion, in red (top) and in blue (bottom). The title is in black text in the centre of the cover and the authors are written at the centre top and bottom of the book, with Amal El-Mohtar in blue at the top and Max Gladstone in pink at the bottom of the book.]

Hello everyone! My name is Kseniia but you can call me Kay! I am a Russian student based in Liverpool. I enjoy all sorts of books that are able to tug at my heartstrings, be it contemporary fiction, fantasy or horror. This year I’ve been enjoying A visit from the goon squad, Unaccustomed earth, and The dangers of smoking in bed. 

This Is How You Lose The Time War first appears as a collection of disjointed boastful letters between two rival g agents in a fictional world: Red from the technocracy on one side and Blue from the garden on the other. Both are determined to win the war and rewrite time and space to suit the whims of their organisations, yet they both feel the futility of such an endeavour. So they reach out and thus the rivalry and hatred turns to admiration and then even love.

This book is surreal, the narrative is woven between two points of view, Red and Blue, and we get to become intimately familiar with the way they each think. This is how you lose the time war is inherently an inventive and speculative science fiction. I had to read and reread multiple paragraphs just to grasp the description of the world. To not just imagine it like I would imagine any other science fiction world but really IMAGINE what it would be for me to live alongside the main characters. 

This is not to say that the writing is a mess or too difficult to understand, on the contrary, it is crisp and very evocative, there is just enough detail for the reader to be excited to see more. “When Red wins, she stands alone. Blood slicks her hair. She breathes out steam on the last night of this dying world.” The time war is gruesome and tiring and both authors show it with such beautifully simple lines it’s almost a crime to read the book too quickly. Which is what I did, obviously.

first and foremost This is how you lose the time war is a love story. Set in the background of a multiverse war, it is the love story between two rival agents from two rival organisations. It is a story of FORBIDDEN LOVE, need I say more? But where some would write a cliché narrative about loneliness and longing for the other, this is a book that teases us with half-truths and unspoken confessions up to the very end. Red and Blue are an uneasy couple, their love is hard-won, fiercely protected and dangerous to both of them especially as the methods of delivering letters become more and more esoteric like in the flowing lava consuming a city or in the poisonous seeds that change another’s body. 

Truth be told, I feel like I will return to this book in the near future. I loved everything it had to offer: the time shenanigans, the mythological jokes at the expense of Atlantis and most of all the ever-growing feelings between the main characters. I don’t think I’ve ever understood the love that every author was writing about before this book. And to show that, I leave you with a small snippet of what I mean: “Dearest, deepest Blue— At the end as at the start, and through all the in-betweens, I love you”.




By Lisa Taddeo


[Image description: Picture taken from bird’s eye view of the book ‘Animal’ by Lisa Taddeo (on the left) and a cup of coffee (on the right). They are both resting on a dark brown wood surface. The book has a picture of a face, mostly featuring an eye, on it, with the author's name (top) and title (bottom) on it.]


I’m CJ, I usually read classic novels and horror, but hadn’t dug into a new book for a long time. I picked up “Animal” by Lisa Taddeo on a whim and could not put it down. 


This book is a brutally unfiltered, dark and heart-wrenching view into the effects of trauma, through the eyes of a woman in modern society. 


Joan is an unforgettable anti-heroine, who we follow as she navigates her adult life, whilst struggling to heal from the ghosts of her past. 


I couldn’t recommend this book more, but before I finish I will mention there are depictions of eating disorders, mental illness and death, so keep that in mind before picking it up - which you will!