Rosie Barton is a contributing London-based writer.

Expectation by Anna Hope
It’s about that time where it’s been more than six months since Sally Rooney last released a brilliant work of fiction and we are beginning to crave something that will fill the Normal People shaped gap. The Indian Summer is officially over, which means any old poolside tosh just won’t cut the mustard and it’s certainly not going to be David Cameron’s memoir (rumoured to have had an advance only a fifth of what Tony Blair received, but then Tony’s did have a delightful tale of how on the last night of the PM’s summer visit to Balmoral there is a BBQ after which the Queen has to do all the washing up). There is Atwood’s The Testaments, but of course we’ve already read it – in one sitting – the day it was released, and probably come to the conclusion that she, like Aunt Lydia, has gone a little soft, with a few to many neatly-tied-up-previously-loose-ends on the final pages – reminding us of the ‘Nineteen Years Later’ conclusion of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when the teenage wizards are all suddenly married to each, cheerily waving at Draco Malfoy and kissing goodbye to a selection of red-haired children. 


Ergo, what have we left? Well if you were hoping for razor-sharp honesty, a heartbreaking yet addictive read that explores the pressure of our expectations for our life on the life we end up leading, then look no further. Anna Hope’s third novel, Expectation, follows the lives of three women all of whom are labouring under their own self-inflicted (or on another level, societally dictated) pressures. As these various scenarios play themselves out, we learn that in the end, it is the female friendship – “the women” – that are “only thing that will save you in the end”. As hopeless as it is reaffirming, and as bleak as it is bright. Exploring what it means to be a woman in the 21st century, Hope poses the challenging question what was it all for, and how have we lived up to the expectation of our predecessors as well as to our own? Intense but easily readable, with a nod to the classic millennial eco-consciousness of the reusable canvas bag to bring us all back down to earth, in this world of what could have been. 

As it is friendship month, this book is certainly a fitting read, but then again it’s also Sourdough September so perhaps this week should have been an ode to Paul Hollywood… Oh well, there is always next Monday for a haiku about the hue of Hollywood’s eyes, bluer than the poles on the Victoria line. 

Side note, there’s a chance that you already read this one by the pool instead of the Jilly Cooper tosh you were supposed to be reading. And if that is the case, I direct you to reread the whole Harry Potter series and find the internal exploration of female friendship and Rooney-esque character insight in that – it’s definitely in there. Either that or it’s David Cameron’s book for you. 

Click here to discover Expectation by Anna Hope.

The Guilty Feminist Crossover #2: No Such Thing as a Guilty Feminist
In the week where 30,000 signatures called for the removal from the Oxford University Press dictionaries some undoubtedly sexist synonyms for the word “woman” (let’s be honest, the word itself doesn’t exactly sing our praises with its etymology breaking down the ‘wo’ to the old english wifmon – to mean wife and then “man” i.e. Wife of Man... not ideal), what better podcast to fill your ears with than a combination of two of the greats. No Such Thing as a Fish and The Guilty Feminist - to form, wait for it, No Such Thing as a Guilty Feminist, a cryptic name if ever there was one. 

This episode, in the series of crossovers that Debo Francis White is doing with other podcasters, is as usual jam-packed with the lols brought by comedians on The Guilty Feminist combined with the bizarre and hilarious facts from the writers of QI who make up the No Such Thing as a Fish crew. From suffragettes posting themselves to number 10 Downing Street to finding Hitler’s missing teeth (who knew they were missing?), be prepared to fill your notebook with great conversation starters and surprise facts to whip out at dinner parties when conversation is running dry. And yes, you will need to note them down as it really is a steady stream of naked truths with each as funny and far-fetched as the next, such as the dogs that often got lost inside nineteenth-century crinoline skirts, most likely, mistaking them for the yurt they booked for their camping holiday (as suggested by the team), to Brian May’s book on the aforementioned skirts called Crinolines, Fashion’s Most Magnificent Disaster, (and this is the same Brian May of Queen who wrote, ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘Fat Bottom Girls’ – I wonder his book had any link to the latter…) 

Anyway, as the fight for women to be seen as more than just a ‘biddy’, ‘popsy’, ‘matron’ or ‘wench’ continues, find some humour in this podcast while reminding yourself that there was a time when women weren’t allowed to open letters at the lost post center due to potentially “dangerous content” (very Magaret Atwood), or buy themselves drinks in the pub or open a bank account or have pockets – but then again, who needed pockets in the nineteenth century when you could keep your dog and many other possessions under your skirt

Click here to tune into The Guilty Feminist.

Also on Because Magazine:

+ Learn more about Ayurveda with Carina, Ayurvedic Wellness Coach, Energy Healer and the founder of CiCis Ayurveda.

+ Try your hand at candle making with candle aficionado's Niko Dafkos and Paul Firmin. 

+ Catch up on Rosie Barton's mid-September recommendations.