So, for those of you who read about that goals I’ve set myself for the year, you will know that completing the 50 book challenge is something I’ve set myself for this year! A big task, but I dived into it head on this January and managed to read a total of 6 books, so this is going to be a long post so let’s get started!
First book I read and devoured in a couple of days was How to Stop Time by Matt Haig which I really loved. This book follows Tom Hazard who on the outside looks like a 41 year old man who gets a job as a teacher but what his students don’t know is a lot of the history he is teaching he has lived through due to an abnormality in is DNA. The story flits between modern day and his struggles with having to have a fairly secluded life so he isn’t ‘found out’ and then times in history building up a picture of his past. What I think I love most about his book is the amazing way that Matt Haig explores loneliness – and the concept that you can be lonely if even on the outside you look like you are leading a normal, fulfilling life. It’s a wonderful read and I have since purchased more of Haigs books because I enjoyed his writing so much!
Next up was Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven which I had pre-ordered after reading her other novel ‘All the Bright Places’ which is a hauntingly beautiful but achingly sad book. Holding up the Universe focuses on two teenagers who have very different high school experiences – Libby who was a viral teen for being so fat she had to be cut out her house and popular jock Jack who on the outside looks like he has high school sussed but he has a secret, he suffers from Prosopagnosia meaning he can’t recognise faces. It is about the two of them coming together and helping each other with their struggles. I enjoyed this book, it was an easy read but my favourite was Libby as a character – she is so self-assured and quite a bad-ass – I really found myself rallying for her throughout the book.
Third book of the year was Turtles All the Way Down by John Green which I enjoyed, but wasn’t the book I thought it was going to be. It focuses on Asza who is a suffer of OCD and Anxiety based worry spirals. The book sort of sells it as her trying to help solve a missing persons mystery of someone she knows from school – and that is sort of the case but it is not the main focus. For me it was much more of an interesting look into someone who suffers with those mental ailments making new relationships and trying to get through life and keep on top of everything. As someone who suffers with anxiety, I saw a lot of myself in Asza at time (although hers is much more severe than what I manage). An interesting book, but I will say I didn’t enjoy it half as much as I did ‘Fault in our Stars’.
Then I read a book that I picked up soley because I Covet Thee on YouTube (she does great book hauls) and that was The Fourteenth Letter by Claire Evans. This isn’t my typical book to read I will say – it is set in 1881 and starts with the murder of a young girl at her engagement party. The book then splits into multiple characters and independent story lines which all become intertwined. The murder sort of plays second fiddle so if your expecting it to be a traditional murder mystery it isn’t – it because the leeway into a mystery of a different type – think a sort of cult-Dareen Brown-esque vibe. Interesting read and I did read it fairly quickly and was pleasantly surprised! Also not that we judge books this way but the cover is dreamy!
Hands down my favourite book I read this month was More than This by Patrick Ness – I couldn’t stop talking about this book after I read it. It starts with Seth as he is drowning and he dies. Then he wakes up in a post-apocalyptic version of his previous life and he is totally alone except for a big black coffin filled with tubes and magnetic tape. Or is he alone? I won’t say much more about the book but it also covers topic such as our obsession with the intranet and online life, survival, suicide, domestic abuse and even human trafficking (yes you read right). There are also some great sit on the edge of the sofa scary, tense moments. It has everything – I loved it so much. I have also now bought the Patrick Ness trilogy and I can’t wait to get stuck in!
Last but by no means list, a bit of a different book but I read You do You by Sarah Knight. This book is great, even if you don’t read ‘self-help’ books this is so funny and empowering to read I do recommend you pick it up. This is the third in her series but you don’t need the other two to get this one, she does small quick recaps throughout. I picked this up as recently I have been embarking on some big life changes and I’ve noticed it’s quite tricky to navigate what I wanted to do and not what everyone else thought I should do so I picked this up. It Is empowering and I found myself nodding along. It covers such things which could be controversial to people – like how being selfish is sometimes totally fine, that blood family ISNT everything (which really made me nod) and that sometimes doing that thing you think makes you a bit of a freak (hello lip syncing walking down the street!) is totally good – YOU DO YOU. I loved this and I am not tempted to pick up her other books.
So that is everything I read in January, there are some GREAT reads in there I would highly recommend picking up. I have already read one (chunky!) book in February and my birthday was definitely book themed – so I’m off to spend a lot of book vouchers!