I was keeping my eye out for this book by Pandora Sykes in the summer. When I get busy my reading of fiction slows right down. I try to combat this by reading non-fiction, which I can consume better in small bite-size chunks. This tactic of reclaiming pockets of time for myself has been working well during Lockdown. My brain hasn’t always wanted to cope with a dense storyline, so non-fiction is a perfect palate cleanse.
How do we know we’re doing it right? by Pandora Sykes is an example of non-fiction essays that I’ve been able to pick off neatly, as time allows. Pandora’s essays on modern life, authenticity, fast fashion, wellness and work culture have been a tonic. Her writing is packed full of research and the essays are thorough and detailed. (Don’t be fooled by a presumption of whimsical accounts of some of the subjects.)
As a listener of Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton’s podcast, The High Low, Pandora’s voice was in my head as I was reading. She has the familiarity of a friend you sit down for an in-depth chat with. Her writing style is refreshingly self-aware and witty. Pandora knows how to poke fun at herself and a good sense of irony.
If you like listening to The High Low then it probably goes without saying that you will like Pandora’s collection of essays. If you’ve never listened to the podcast, but have an interest in the subjects Pandora is tackling, then this is an informative, modern read. As Pandora investigates her own thoughts and feelings on these issues, it helped me to interrogate my own views.
The next time the thought of a new novel feels too much, I would recommend searching out some non-fiction that piques your interest. Sometimes, facts and figures and a crisp matter-of-factness can help reset your brain for new adventures in fiction.