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What I'm reading and listening to this month - Victoria Bates



We all know that reading and listening to music is good for the soul!


We’re big lovers of the written word and a good old hum-a-long here at Cloverleaf, so we’ve asked our colleagues to share what’s getting their earbuds buzzing and sparking their word-nerdiness at the minute...


This is what Victoria has to say…


‘This Could Be Everything’ by Eva Rice

I’m still not entirely sure whether I enjoyed this read or not. Set in 1990s Notting Hill, the acclamations for the novel sold me a written Richard-Curtis-type tale of love, loss, and coming-of-age. It tells the story of February Kingdom who resolves to live in isolation after experiencing personal tragedy in her life. It is the unexpected presence of a yellow canary in her kitchen that shifts the trajectory of her life. It was only in the closing parts of the novel, where I felt as though it was similar to a modernised re-telling of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, that I started to warm to familiar themes of twins, betrayal, and revelation in tragedy.


‘Girl Friends’ by Holly Brown

I LOVED this! I would highly recommend this novel to anyone looking to have a sneak peek into the complex and layered relationships which exist between girls and women. Former best friends Fern and Jessica are reunited some thirteen years after a monumental breakdown in their friendship. Uncomfortable and blunt at times, this novel was a glorious read and I devoured in no time. It’s a celebration of womankind, sisterhood, female friendships, and a stark warning to not perceive yourself through the twisted agenda of others. I truly think this is a must-read for every mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and most importantly friend!


‘So Much (for) Stardust’ by Fall Out Boy

This is the eighth studio album from American pop-punk band Fall Out Boy released on 24th March 2023. It was with trepidation that I listened to this album, as their previous album MANIA was not a fan favourite. However, since its release, I have listened to this from start to finish, over and over again. On the way to work, while cooking, out for a run – the incredible, heart-stopping vocals of lead singer Patrick Stump has been omnipresent in my life. The album has the perfect blend of doomsday lyrics of old with a rejuvenated, energised sound of a band making their place known in the Indie/Pop-punk world. The titular and final track in particular is soaring and atmospheric, leaving me ready to hit ‘repeat’ and experience the journey all over again.


‘Phil in the Blanks’

I’ve been a huge fan of American talk show host Dr. Phil for a number of years. He has remained in my top 3 all-time fantasy dinner party guests but he hasn’t RSVP’d as of yet. In the meantime, I would highly recommend his podcast, Phil in the Blanks. There is an abundance of episodes grappling with everything from coercion, to the impact of emotions on the health of your heart and teen mental health. The episode I found particularly harrowing and fascinating in equal parts was The Dangers of Social Media Content, in which Dr Phil is joined by Imran Ahmed, founder and CEO of the Centre for Countering Digital Hate. Relevant, poignant, and at times unnerving, it is certainly worth a listen for anyone wanting to arm themselves with knowledge and power against the intrusive world of social media.

What I'm reading and listening to this month - Victoria Bates