Monday, 8 June 2020

Books I've Read This Spring

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During this very strange time of being sort of in lockdown, working from home but still not yet able to go out in the normal ways we have always been used to, one of the things I'm taking so much joy in practicing each day is reading. I've found throughout lockdown, tracking my progress on Goodreads has motivated me to read little and often each day and I've also found that when I've found social media overwhelming, switching off the phone and laptop and picking up a good book has been the perfect thing to do. 

Today I thought I'd round up everything I've read this Spring; one perk of Goodreads is the fact it keeps a log and dates when you've read things, so I know I haven't missed anything off! 

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams*  This was the first book I read of 2020 and I think even now, is still my favourite read of the year to date! Queenie was actually a Christmas gift from Jaide, who literally has influenced me massively with good reads as we browsed many a charity shop picking up bargains off the bookshelves and once I started this book, I couldn't put it down and was texting her that she needed to read it too as it was so good! I loved everything about the story, the way it was written - I fell in love with Queenie's character too. I'd 100% re-read and recommend this book in a heartbeat and it's one that is staying on my bookshelf forever. 

Sorry I'm Late I Didn't Want To Come by Jessica Pan*  This had been on my to read list ever since it came out, so when I found it in my local charity shop back in February, I was beyond pleased and this became one of my commute reads. This was another book I just loved. People often think because I'm a teacher, there is no way I could describe myself as an introvert... when I read the definition of introvert, I know full well it is such an accurate description of myself. The title is literally my inner anxieties reaction to most social situations. Reading about Jessica's challenges in pushing herself to be an extrovert for a year had me feel such a range of emotions - do I think I could ever do an improv class - no! Could I go up to a stranger and ask them who the queen of this country is? Probably not. But there were so many elements of the book I took away, discussed with my nearest and dearest and implemented in my everyday life. My challenge is feeling comfortable talking to strangers; I literally curl up inside when strangers talk to me in real life - from shop workers who talk too much (and to me too much is anything beyond standard customer service) people in pubs and restaurants or people making small talk walking their dogs, I realised how many negative vibes I must give off in these situations and now try to actively push myself to speak a bit more, because really how bad is it to hold a couple of minutes conversation with someone? I think if you consider yourself an introvert, you definitely should give this book a go as it may surprise you in ideas you could have to get out of the introvert bubble once in a while. Also, a fun coincidence - when I was reading this book, as I follow Jessica on Instagram, I could see she was enjoying a weekend away in Whitstable!  

The Cast by Danielle Steel* This was my first lockdown read... I have a stash of Danielle Steel books that I've been collecting. Last year, whenever I visited my Nan, we got into a habit of watching Danielle Steel films on the TV - they can be incredibly cheesy at times, and very predictable in what happens next but also just incredibly addictive! I'd been trying to push myself to read, but the book I was trying to read in March I couldn't gel with, and I realised I needed to shake it up a bit and read some fiction, so I went for The Cast. I really enjoyed the story line of this book, and found it to be a really easy, escape-ism read. The story explored lots of different themes, some more relatable than others. The thing I liked the most was the main character Kate. For my first Danielle Steel read, I definitely wasn't disappointed, and 100% want to watch this on film with my Nan when lockdown is over! 

The Last Family In England by Matt Haig*  For most people that know me, they know Matt Haig is one of my favourite authors. This book was one I'd bought, and after reading The Radleys and passing it over to Brad, he actually read this book first and was raving about it to me! So my second lockdown read was this. If you have a dog, there is so much you can appreciate about this story being written from the perspective of a dog. I love the way the book is set out and the creative chapter titles based on vocabulary. The story I couldn't get out of my head once I'd started reading and wanted to read more and more. I won't spoil it for you but the only thing I didn't love was the ending of the storyline.

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata*  This book has won prizes, has hundreds of five star reviews and always seems to come highly recommended. I'm not sure what it is, but I couldn't gel with this book as much as I wanted to. I really don't know why. I found the main character, Keiko intriguing and enjoyed the book at first, but as the story developed I couldn't get what I didn't love about it.

The Pursuit of Motherhood by Jessica Hepburn* I've had this book on my bookshelf for quite a while and found this a really comforting read. Jessica gives a real honest account of her fertility journey and as I was reading, it felt like I was sitting over a coffee being told the story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and now have the rest of Jessica's books on my to be read list.  

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling* I needed another change of genre mid lockdown and decided to pick up one of the many play scripts I have sitting on the shelf and read The Cursed Child. I read this within a day and loved it which I should've realised being Harry Potter. I haven't read the books in years, and had never read this play script and I'm so glad I did... if you've ever had the feeling of reading something quickly and being encapsulated in a story, that's how I felt with this read. 

Feminists Don't Wear Pink (and other lies)* by Scarlett Curtis I finished this at the weekend... this was a charity shop find that I picked up because I'd seen lots of other influencers and people I follow write about when it first came out. There are also lots of people I follow that have contributed to this book and whilst feminism isn't a usual topic I'd educate myself on, I was intrigued to hear what those I follow, such as Dolly Alderton, Tanya Burr and Zoe Sugg, had to say on the subject of feminism and their takes on it. I really enjoyed the structure of the book and how it was set out. Of all the contributions I found the majority interesting, creative and found myself learning and agreeing more and more with the writers. I really loved Jodie Whittaker's interview with her Mum over a takeaway and wine - I think this one may have been my favourite! 

I am already making progress on my summer reading list and am still working through a backlog that's been piling up on my shelves for months - you can keep up with my current reads over on my Goodreads. I'd love to know what you've been reading or any recommendations of book review posts to check out! 
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