May has felt like a bit of a whirlwind, we started the month with a lovely little pre-wedding shoot which was a great way to get to know our photographer, we had a great week off work in Center Parcs with my parents and of course, May has not one but two UK bank holidays! I didn’t plan on reading as much as I did this month, so apologies for the super long post but a few of these really grabbed my attention and ended up being 1-2 day reads.
Turning the Tide on Plastic ~ I’ve read several environmental plastic related books this year and this is by far the best one I’ve read so far. This was educational as well as giving lots of suggestions on how to improve your plastic usage. It covered the obvious, don’t use plastic bags, get a reusable coffee cup and water bottle but it also gave some practical examples of how to analyse your own habits which I’ll be trying out soon; 4 stars.
Vox ~ Lauren’s April Patreon book club theme this month was Future/Dystopian females, this was the book I voted for in the poll so was pleased to see it win. In a dystopian future women have been stripped of their freedom, jobs and all non-domestic responsibilities; they’ve also been made to wear wrist counters which monitor how many words they speak, go over 100 in a day and these devices start to emit electric shocks. It’s tricky not to compare this to The Handmaid’s Tale, the restrictions on women, homosexuality has been made a crime and anyone who questions anything is sent to a labour camp or is killed. With short chapters and a pacy plot Vox follows scientist Jean as she’s pulled back into work to research a neuro condition affecting the President’s brother; the research throws her back into the lab and back into the arms of her previous colleague Lorenzo; I enjoyed it but I couldn’t help not liking Jean, 3 stars.
Crazy Rich Asians ~ I feel like this has been massively hyped since the film came out last year. The first couple of chapters of this did make my head up, there are so many characters and trying to work out how the family branches came together was getting me confused to the point of not liking the book; I gave up on trying to remember everyone and the main characters fell into place; I enjoyed it, I’m unsure if it quite lived up to the hype for me but I will be reading the sequel and watching the film, 3 stars.
Women & Power ~ This little manifesto has been sat on my shelves for ages, it contains two essays which focus on the history of women’s voices being silenced, it’s very well articulated and I found it really interesting but not one I’ll be keeping on my shelves, 3 stars.
My Sister the Serial Killer ~ Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize this was an enjoyable quick read that I just didn’t connect with, It’s structured with very short chapters so its easy to lose time playing the ‘one more chapter, oh this chapters only three pages’ game. This did do a good job of challenging perceptions, its difficult to describe without spoilers but I spent most of the book siding and quite liking the narrator then another character challenged her and made me rethink how I’d interpreted her actions. Personally, this isn’t a winner for the woman’s prize for me, 3 stars.
Normal People ~ Following on the Women’s Prize theme, Normal People made the long list, having read it I’m both surprised and a little disappointed that this didn’t make it. Told in continuous prose that took a chapter or two to grasp this chronologically follows two Irish teenagers, daughter of solicitors Marianne and the son of their housekeeper, Connell from the end of the school years and through university life, 4 stars.
No-One Ever Has Sex at a Wedding ~ Oh Tracey Bloom, writer of my absolute guilty pleasure reads, I’m not sure quite how many books can be dragged out of the events of book one but I still enjoyed it, 3 stars.
Slow Regard of Silent Things ~ A novella spin-off from ‘The Name of the Wind’ which following Auri, that I was really looking forward to but just couldn’t get into. Reading the author’s note at the end he does say that some people enjoy it a lot more on the second read so I’m not going to banish this to the charity bag just yet, 2 stars.
Abundance of Katherines ~ A John Green that’s been sat getting no attention on my bookshelves for a while this was slightly underwhelming. Colin, a child-prodigy has dated nineteen girls calls Katherine, and he’s been dumped by all of them. The latest has hit him hard, K-19 has left him brokenhearted so his best friend suggests a road trip. They end up in the town of Gunshot, directed off the highway by a sign for the resting place of ‘Archduke Franz Ferdinand’ where they meet Lindsey who’s family owns the factory which employs pretty much the whole town. Colin’s main focus is trying to derive a formula which will predict the timeline of any relationship; not my favourite John Green but its a funny read, 3 stars.
How Not to Be a Boy ~ Robert Webb’s autobiography sets out to dispel the stereotypes that we tend to push onto boy from a young age. Robert talks honestly about the struggles he’s faced throughout his life, losing his mother as a teenager, his relationship with his father and his goal of getting into Cambridge to join Footlights and meet someone he could write comedy with, 4 stars.
It’s Not You It’s Him* ~ I’ll be posting a full review nearer its 18th June release date but a great, easy read, 4 stars.
Home Fire ~ I’m now annoyed at myself that I put off reading this for so long. Home Fire won the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2018, and I can see why; I decided to pick it up when it was mentioned on the High Low podcast. Cleverly written by changing perspectives throughout, the book was gripping throughout but I read the ending about four times; probably the most powerful and frustrating cliffhangers I’ve read in a long time, 5 stars.
Titles marked * have been provided for free in exchange for an honest review.