The Best Books I’ve Read Recently.

I have such a love/hate relationship with reading – I love to read, it’s relaxing and I love getting lost in a story and learning things via books. It’s that little bit of time away from the internet or tv too. I did so terribly with reading last year, I think with everything going on (pandemic wise) I didn’t find interest in reading, however, I have definitely made it one of my goals to read books again this year and I think I’ve been doing fairly well. My goal is about 55 but if I only achieve 50 then thats fine with me! I’ve read about 15 so far as this year and I think thats a good start.

I’ve also branched out a bit with my book choices which is also another big thing for me. I could have possibly read more if they were more “rom-com” based books but I do try to push myself with my reading content as I find it one of the best ways to expand my thoughts. It’s interesting to see things from other people’s perspective and I just find myself learning more and becoming more knowledgeable if I read all genres of books.

The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story – Christie Watson

This was one of the first books that I read this year. Christie Watson spent twenty years as a nurse and has opened up in this novel about just how dark her work can be. This book is so well written, it jumps through the years a bit but I think that was to keep the narrative exciting (and to gloss over certain periods in her career). I think learning about what any nurse has to go through, but in particular, NHS staff is incredibly important. This book is so powerful and devastatingly sad at times. It is also humorous but not quite as much as This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay.

I would highly recommend this book but just as a warning – she does go into her work which includes death and this can be upsetting. She also worked with children a lot early on in her career (with death coming into this too) so just a word of caution if you’re sensitive to these things.

My Dark Vanessa – Kate Elizabeth Russell

Another book that I read early on in the year, it did take me a little while to get through as it’s got a very heavy subject matter and just isn’t the easier book to read. It followers the story of a woman finding out that her first love, her 40-year-old teacher when she was 15, wasn’t quite the fairytale it seemed to be in her mind. It goes into this complicated relationship over the years since she was groomed.

It’s very apparent that a great level of research went into this book as it was the result of years of writing. I think Kate Elizabeth Russell did so well at exploring this difficult matter but also providing a thought-provoking book. It gives victims a voice and is handled so well. I still think about this book months after reading it.

I would recommend this book but just be mindful of the content before buying.

The Things We Left Unsaid – Emma Kennedy

This book is definitely best described as a “family drama”. It follows the story of a woman who loses her father six weeks before getting left at the altar by her fiance. She then leaves her job and moves in with her mother, with who she previously hasn’t had the best relationship.

Now there is a lot going on in this book, I read a lot all in one day/sitting and I thought it was a really interesting book if a bit slow at times. I did think the end was rushed BUT there’s a twist in there that you do actually see coming. It’s only after finishing the book that I’ve found myself continuing to think about what happened and the situation that they were in. I found a lot of the characters unlikeable and it’s definitely a book that I didn’t really like… but there’s just something about it that I keep thinking of. I really need someone else I know to read it so I can discuss it!

Normal people – Sally Rooney

This is one of my favourite books that I’ve read this year so far, I could happily read it again already! I found that it is a bit difficult to get into, it would be very strange to read with no context as there’s no punctuation which is weird. It’s uncommon to me as it’s the first book I’ve read like this and was a bit weird to get my head around at first. I know there are arguments about not watching tv programmes before reading the book but I did actually see the BBC adaptation before reading this.

I do agree that the book is better. The BBC programme got it so right and if I was the author, I would be happy with the way the book was translated into a series. However, there’s just so much more detail that you get through the book which makes things that little bit more poetic. This book is so emotionally intelligent and explores the various topics throughout the book well. I loved reading the perspective of the male character as I just found it so interesting, I don’t really read books from a male perspective.

On Beauty – Zadie Smith

This was a really strange book to read for me as I didn’t like any of the characters. I also felt like it was quite slow-paced to start and if you had asked me what this book was about… I wouldn’t have an answer. It’s only after getting through the first section that I felt things picked up and got a bit more interesting. The characters seemed to come into their own after this point, I do like the fact that the narratives between the characters were all interlinked.

I think it was really interesting (if a little clique) to have the two characters in the book who don’t get on, follow the same path. I won’t include any spoilers but you’ll instantly know what I mean when you read this book. I think it’s mean to show the fact that they’re more alike than they realise and if any other circumstances they might even have been friends.

I do think this book was incredibly well written and intellectual and I’m glad I read it.

If you have any book recommendations then I’d love to know! I’ve also picked up Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo which I can’t wait to get stuck into!