As someone whose big passion is reading, I really should start documenting my favourite books here more. I am on Goodreads but I don’t use it anywhere near as much as I should. Maybe that will change soon. Last year, I wrote a post of 5 books to read this Autumn and at the end of 2018, I did a round up post of all the books I’d read that year which I enjoyed putting together but that’s been my only foray into book blogging.
I read at least four or five books a month and I’m one of those people that gushes away to their friends and family ‘you just HAVE to read this book so I can talk about it with someone’. Therefore, I thought it only right that I start blogging about my favourite reads a bit more. Before I start though, I’ve put together a Q&A so you can understand a little more about why I love reading and the books I like to read. Here goes…
What were your top favourite reads of 2019 and why?
I read so many good books last year that I always feel a bit panicked if I have to choose just a few but I will (otherwise it’s going to be a very long list).
My top 3 are:
Becoming – Michelle Obama
Apart from the fact that she was First Lady of the United States (or FLOTUS which is quite possibly my favourite acronym) for 8 years, I didn’t actually know an awful lot about Michelle Obama. I don’t read many autobiographies but after a quick skim of the blurb, I decided it sounded interesting enough to give it a go. I’m so glad I did because it was one of the most thought-provoking and well written books I read last year.
I’m fascinated by politics and the dedication of people who effectively give up their life to run a country; more of which you come to understand when reading this book. I’d always admired the Obama’s and this book gives a surprisingly deep insight into Michelle’s relationship with Barack and what it’s like raising a family whilst your husband is campaigning to become the most powerful man in the world. Difficult by the sounds of it.
Michelle Obama comes across as such a powerful and empathetic woman that it’s hard not to come away feeling empowered by the speeches and advice she gives throughout the book. I love a book that stays with you for months to come and this story is one of those.
This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
Another highly praised book, I devoured this in a couple of sittings. This is Going to Hurt is a collection of diary entries about Kays’ time as a junior doctor for the NHS. He chooses to specialise in obstetrics and gynaecology and tells many tales of horrifying situations eventually resulting in his resignation after 6 years. Shocking, hilarious but also infinitely sad would be how I sum up this book. Kay writes with such wit and honesty which I really admire and should be applauded for how he poured his whole life into being a good doctor. We hear so much about how the NHS is poorly funded and waiting times are long but until reading Adam Kays account, I don’t think I understood quite how bad the situation was. A must read.
Beside Myself – Ann Morgan
Sometimes a book comes along that makes you wish you wrote it. Beside Myself was one of those books; the brilliant, original idea which makes for a super chilling narrative with plot twists that leave you guessing and sacrificing sleep to find out what happens. The story follows identical twins Helen and Ellie who swap places for a joke; Helen becomes Ellie and Ellie becomes Helen until it escalates and Ellie refuses to swap back. So begins a tale of Helen trying to reclaim her identity. I won’t say too much more otherwise I’d spoil it but Morgan’s writing really tugs at the heart strings and makes you feel unsettled. A book that I can’t wait to talk to someone about.
Who is the best author you’ve discovered recently?
It would have to be Bryony Gordon. She’s currently a columnist for the Telegraph writing about life in your thirties and has written 4 books; The Wrong Knickers, Mad Girl, Eat, Drink Run, You Got This (for teenagers) with a fifth one coming out in May called Glorious Rock Bottom.
I asked for Mad Girl for Christmas after seeing good reviews online and it got me through the first, dark weeks of January. I was sat in bed laughing my way through it one minute but then saddened by Bryony’s struggle with her mental health the next. The book is a very sobering account of what it’s like to be mentally ill and ignore it whilst juggling a successful job, failed relationships and a social life. Bryony is probably best known for her first book The Wrong Knickers which I have also read but I recommend reading it before Mad Girl as it covers many of the same phases of her life but with more of an emphasis on relationships.
I love how self-deprecating Bryony is with her writing and how she isn’t ashamed of the mistakes she made in her twenties. She’s truly lived life to the full and even if you can’t relate, you’ll be laughing at the situations she gets herself into.
What are you favourite things about reading?
I love how reading can take you into another world. You can be sitting in bed or on a train but feel totally immersed in a story. Reading can take your mind off that stressful day or cheer you up when you’re feeling sad. A book can cure boredom when you have nothing else to do. Books can make you feel like you’re not alone, they make you nod along and think yes, I feel like that too! Characters in books are like long lost friends who you feel sorry for, happy for or like they’re a real person sitting next to you.
I love how reading can teach you things about the world. Reading informs you about other people but most of all makes you a better writer.
What are you currently reading?
I have just finished Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce which I really enjoyed. A broken marriage, a toxic affair and multiple twists which keep you guessing made for a book that I just raced through. Initially, I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it as main character Alison is selfish and careless. My dislike for her made me wonder whether I cared enough to know what would happen to her but the character development is worth reading on for and the plot is compelling. I was slightly annoyed by the ending but it was enjoyable enough.
So that’s the first in my book blogging series. I will start to write some reviews in the coming months of my favourite books and those that I’m currently reading. Let me know what you think in the comments.