For as long as I can remember I’ve been a reader; books, magazines, newspapers, leaflets, websites, fiction, fantasy, reality, random facts…I love to read and am very much a self-certified bookworm. However, with having Jackson I kind of lost my way with reading and I went from March 2018 until the very end of the year without picking up a single book. I barely read any magazines either, I think I picked up less than five newspapers and the words I consumed were vastly centred around the technology in my hand.
It may sound weird but reflecting on that made me a bit sad. I’ve got books upon books at home, and Jackson has a brilliant fledgling collection as well, so I had a word with myself and made it my mission to get back into reading in 2019. Initially I wanted to get through one book each week but that was still a bit of a stretch for me so I pared it back to one each month which is working perfectly. I’ve covered a full book each month this year, started some and ditched them, added to my To-Read pile, added to my To-Buy list and I have to say it’s nice to feel excited about reading once more. I keep track of it all on my Goodreads account – there’s a widget on my right-hand column towards the bottom – and if you use Goodreads feel free to drop me a line over there as well so I can snoop on your books and maybe find some new gems!
In regards to this post I just want to do a quick little roundup of the books I’ve read in the first part of the year, going from January to April, and I’ll do the others as time goes on in the same style of batches of four. So, let’s start at the start…
The Unmumsy Mum by Sarah Turner
I originally saw this book early in 2018 on a trip to the Trafford Centre, back when I was five months pregnant and had every serene, prim and proper notion of the type of mum I wanted to be. I had a little flick through and did the exhaling-out-the-nose laugh, thinking it was funny and nice that a mother was sharing her not-so-perfect thoughts so openly whilst still being quite adamant that I’d be a saintly mother who followed every piece of advice down to the letter (spoiler alert: I’m not and I didn’t).
Reading The Unmumsy Mum this year brought belly laughs galore and reading from the perspective of a new parent brought so much empathy as well. It really emphasised how normal it is to not be that always-shiny 100% perfect mother, which came at a time I desperately needed to hear that – though I hadn’t quite realised it myself at that point – and I liked the book a lot more than I thought I would based on the first couple of chapters.
Eleanor Olihant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
My mum bought me this book in the summer of 2018 from the WHSmith inside Burton-in-Kendal service station. We were travelling from my home to my parents’ house in Yorkshire with my dad and Jackson and I’d heard a bunch of people raving about it and so curiosity (nosiness) got the better of me.
It may’ve taken me seven months to actually read the damn thing but it was certainly worth the wait. To read a book with the main character being seen as such an outsider was different but refreshing. Eleanor isn’t perfect, she’s not a heroine, she’s not a beauty queen, she’s quite fragile and a bit of a lost soul which we can probably all relate to on some kind of level. She’s a lot more complex too, which is unravelled as the book goes on, and it’s as equally funny as it is brimming with a heartache that’s not glaringly obvious.
Eleanor Oliphant is well and truly a Marmite offering and, though I can see why people might dislike the book, I really enjoyed the read.
The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Motley Crue
I can’t even remember how many times I’ve read this book since I got it in 2006, but the battered spine and dog-eared pages are testament to just how much I enjoy it. I gave The Dirt a re-read in anticipation of the release of the Netflix movie that covers the life of the band via the stories detailed in the book. Loved the film too, FYI, I don’t understand why some people have been determined to hate it.
But back to it; there’s not really that much to say about this book that you don’t already have some idea about. It’s candid, it’s detailed, it’s hilarious, it’s heartbreaking…if you’re even slightly curious about the shenanigans of some overly-hairsprayed guys wearing too-tight pants and living the life of excess as their band makes it big then The Dirt has to be your starting point.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
When I first bought THUG I didn’t realise it was a YA novel, so I found the language a bit off-putting to begin with. I’m happy I persevered though because it gives an insight into a world I’ll never know, will never experience and will never live in. It may be a work of fiction but I have zero doubt that the goings-on in THUG are a huge reality for hundreds of teenagers across the globe.
We’ve all been 16, trying to figure ourselves out and get some clue about our proper place in the world, which is why it’s so easy to empathise with Starr Carter throughout, albeit her situation and experiences are vastly heightened in comparison with anything I’ve ever lived through. I won’t spoil the story but I will say that it brought home to me the realisation of how the majority of us are lucky we only have to weigh up the minor right/wrong choices in daily life because shitting hell there are some folk – be it adults or kids – whose whole lives are on a fine edge and could fall to pieces in an instant. It’s a bleak thought but such an important topic.
I’m overall quite happy with my book choices for the first bit of the year. I’m currently on book five and already know what number six is going to be; as I said before it’s nice to be excited about reading again.
Let me know what you’re reading at the moment in the comments, give me some ongoing bookspiration!