I have found that 2017 has been the year of reading for me – with my commute (which is around 4hours a day) I have got into my routine of reading and I have been finding I have been getting through around a book a week to every 10 days. This is also helped by the fact I feel if I read during the week I am more inclined to read on the weekend too!
Anyway – why am I telling you this? Well I used to do stand along book reviews but I thought instead I would curate a monthly post on what I’ve read this month and what I thought of the books and if I would recommend – so let’s get started with what I read in November!
First up is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas which was our book club book for November (full disclosure I technically started reading this in October but finished it in November so that counts right?). This book focuses on Starr who is trapped between two worlds – the poor neighbourhood she lives in and the posh white high school she attends. Her two worlds collide after she is witness to her best friend being shot by the police for no reason. A book which truly is inspired by the Black Lives Latter movement and I think is a must read for everyone. It is infuriating, insightful and brilliantly written – I highly recommend picking this up.
Next two books both appeared on the Man Booker Long List and I read them as part of a challenge to read the entire list (I only have two more to go!). First I read Autumn by Ali Smith. This is a novel about relationships – mostly an unlikely friendship between Daniel (who is 100) and Elisabeth, born in 1984. There is also a slight surreal aspect to it – if you like a chronological logic story this might not be for you – although it does go through the seasons they aren’t necessary in the same time zones. I did struggle with this at first (I much prefer a logical story with a strong story line…) but once I took it on a level and got into the relationship I did enjoy it.
Next up was Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders which actually won the Manbooker prize. Now – I have some really strong opinions on this book. Firstly – the concept is incredibly clever – it focuses on Lincoln whose son tragically dies and when he visits his body what he doesn’t realise is his son Willie is in an area called the Bardo – where he meets other spirits over his soul. It is such a brilliant, creative concept but my biggest struggle with this was the way it is written and laid out. It is split into small paragraphs of speech or thoughts by the spirits, so it almost has a screen play vibe about it. I found that this made it very stop and start and I couldn’t get into a flow while reading it so I ended up distracted by other things, which is a shame. It is worth reading for the story but don’t expect it to be an easy read.
Next up is a book that isn’t actually pictured because it turns out it was one of those books that as soon as I finished it I had to pass it on to someone to read because it really touched me and that was Henry Frasers book The Little Big Things. Henry Fraser was 17 years old when a tragic accident severely crushed his spinal cord. Paralysed from the shoulders down, he has conquered unimaginable difficulty to embrace life and a new way of living. Through challenging adversity, he has found the opportunity to grow and inspire others. This book came at a great time for me – I had been struggling with several things in my personal life and reading about Henry’s determination and focus has given me personal inspiration. Seriously – if you need a kick up the butt or your feeling down – please read this. I also think It would make a GREAT xmas present for someone.
Lastly for the month of November I read They both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. Based in a time where you get a call at midnight of the day you are going to die to give you a heads up but without the detail of how and when. Two people who receive the call are Mateo and Rufus who are only 17 and 18. They both decide to use the ‘Last Friend App’ which pairs up ‘Deckers’ (people that got the call) with other Deckers or random people to live their final day with. Rufus and Mateo meet and push each other throughout the day to face up to their feelings and fears. There is no sudden twist at the end and the book is true to it’s title – which is heart-breaking as the writing really helps you feel attached to the characters as the chapters go between the central characters mostly but also some of the people they know and come into contact with. I genuinely loved this book – it is engrossing but it also raises some interesting moral and ethical questions around the concept of knowing when you are going to die and the concept of last days.
So those are all the books I read throughout November – we are at the start of December and I’m already half way through a new book and I have a pile on my bedside table which threatens to topple on me and knock me out each night!
Please let me know if you like these type of posts and I will keep them up!