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South London four-piece Dry Cleaning released its debut LP on 4AD in April. New Long Leg’s tight, focused post-punk sets a formidable stage, but vocalist Florence Shaw’s way with words—droll musings and surreal non-sequiturs delivered spoken, with canny dryness—steals the show. We thought Shaw, who has a background as a visual artist, researcher, and drawing lecturer, might have good reading recommendations, and we were right. –Emily Nokes

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1. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
The portrayal of a female character who finds routine and logical systems soothing was something I hadn’t come across too often in fiction. I love this book.

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2. Melody: Story of a Nude Dancer by Sylvie Rancourt
This is a collected series of comic books made when Sylvie Rancourt was working in a Montreal strip club in the 1980s. It’s thought to be one of the first ever autobiographical comic book series!

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3. Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich
This book contains interviews with witnesses to the Chernobyl disaster. It leaves the reader to draw their own conclusions by arranging different perspectives side by side; from inside and outside, informed and ill-informed, people with vastly differing priorities. It has some of the most shocking and otherworldly passages I’ve ever read anywhere. 

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4. Gosh This is Hard by Sophie Taylor
Sophie Taylor and I met at university when we were the only two students who arrived late on the first day. Being shamed together seemed to create an immediate bond and we’ve been linked ever since. This is a wonderful book of her short stories and poems published last year. 

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5. I Don’t Know How To Forgive You When You Make No Apology For This Haunting by Sunnah Khan
This booklet of poems is part of a collection, 4 Brown Girls Who Write, which came out last year. It’s heartbreaking at times, over just a few pages. 

Photo: Steve Gullick

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2021 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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