Well, what an interesting week this has been. It’s taken me a while to come to terms with the fact that I’ll be spending the majority, if not all, of my time indoors for the foreseeable future (which I understand and respect is for the best). While I’m still feeling pretty uneasy about everything, as I’m sure most of us are, there’s not much that I can do about it. The only things I have any control over are my wellbeing, my outlook on everything and how I spend my time.
One thing I want to do, which I’m actually quite looking forward to, is read more. I’ve made a pretty hefty online order of books I’ve been wanting to read for a while but for now, here are some books I’ve read over the past few months. If you’re choosing to read your way through these bizarre times too, hopefully some of these babies will take your fancy.
Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams 5/5
Plot: Nadia gets the 7.30 train every morning without fail. Well, except if she oversleeps or wakes up at her friend Emma’s after too much wine. Daniel really does get the 7.30 train every morning, which is easy because he hasn’t been able to sleep properly since his dad died. One morning, Nadia’s eye catches sight of a post in the daily paper:
‘To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standing near the doors… Drink sometime?‘
So begins a not-quite-romance of near-misses, true love, and the power of the written word.
As soon as I started reading this book, I was hooked. I loved how it was told through a dual narrative, as it kept my attention and let me get to know both central characters really well. I was rooting for both of them to get their happy ending the entire time.
I also thought the sub-plots involving the secondary characters were seamlessly incorporated. They helped push the overall story forward while creating unexpected twists.
I’m a bit of a slow reader but I couldn’t wait to read more of Our Stop. Now I’m just sad I’ve reached the end!
How to Stop Time by Matt Haig 4/5
Plot: Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past or finally begin living in the present. How to Stop Time tells a love story across the ages—and for the ages—about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live.
After reading Notes on a Nervous Planet, I couldn’t wait to try another one of Matt Haig’s books as his writing is so clever and innovative. Thankfully, this book didn’t disappoint.
Although the theme of time has been explored extensively in fiction, this story felt fresh and unique. Exploring the protagonist’s life over such different eras was fascinating and I couldn’t predict where the story was going. The chapters go back-and-forth between the different stages of his 400-year long life, which helped keep my attention without getting confusing.
I wouldn’t say I was completely hooked, as I was with Our Stop, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and would definitely recommend it.
In the Time We Lost by Carrie Hope Fletcher 2.5/5
Plot: After tragedy befalls young Luna Lark she ups sticks and heads for Ondingside, a remote town with only 150 inhabitants. Ondingside feels like the perfect place to get away from everything but all is not as it seems. A freak snowstorm on Luna’s first night in town sets the scene for an uplifting tale to warm the wintriest of hearts.
I’m a big fan of Carrie Hope Fletcher’s novels. Her debut fiction book, On the Other Side, is one of my all-time favourite books. While I did enjoy reading this story, I was left a little bit unsatisfied.
The beginning was promising and I really liked the ending but the middle section lost me. It was a tad confusing and slow-paced. I think the protagonist’s character and her relationships with others could have benefited from being developed further.
With that being said, I still enjoyed the magical realism aspect of the plot. It’s also easy to read making it ideal for cosy evenings at home when you’re reading under a blanket, with a hot drink, ready to escape into a story.
She Must Be Mad by Charly Cox 3/5
Summary: She Must be Mad explores coming-of-age: the pain and beauty of love, the relief and the agony of turning from girl to woman, the isolation of an untethered mind and the power and subjugation of the body.
This book is filled with beautiful poems that take you on an emotional rollercoaster. Some are heart-breaking, some are romantic but they are all extremely honest.
I have to say, this is the first poetry book I’ve ever read completely so I did feel like some of the poems were lost on me. However, a lot of them explore relatable problems, which are easier to follow.
While I don’t think I could read a big chunk of this book in one sitting, I enjoyed reading 15 minutes worth of poetry every day. As it’s quite a short book, it didn’t take me long at all to reach the end. If you have a short attention span and prefer to read in small doses, this book is perfect for you.
What Would the Spice Girls Do? By Lauren Bravo 3.5/5
Summary: The Spice Girls gave a generation their first glimpse of the power of friendship, of staying true to yourself, of sheer bloody-mindedness. And the girl power generation went on to kick-start a new conversation around gender equality.
When I first saw this book I was instantly drawn to the bold colours of the cover and the leopard print design inside the book. But this isn’t just a good coffee table book. Exploring the Spice Girls’ influence on feminism today and being reminded of everything they stood for was really interesting, and a fun way to learn more about serious issues. I also loved reflecting on the ‘girl power’ era and the nostalgia of it all.
Reading is one of my favourite forms of escapism. Whether you enjoy reading romance novels, auto-biographies or sci-fi stories, there are sooooo many different worlds you can jump into when this world gets a bit too much. If you have any recommendations please let me know! 🙂