Books I’ve read in 2019…

Books I’ve read in 2019…

‘Becoming by Michelle Obama’

I heard so many amazing things about this book both from friends and from various podcasts I listen to, but I was quite overwhelmed by the sheer size of the book – would I ever finish it?! But as soon as I started reading it, I couldn’t stop! Michelle’s natural, familiar and chatty writing style, teamed with her incredible upbringing and story – makes this book so addictive. There were parts of the book where I related so much to what she was saying – mostly about the grief of losing her father and the way she articulates her feelings about the experience, it was like she was writing exactly how I felt. I loved how candid she is about her and Barack’s life in the White House, and how she talks about the struggles of trying to raise two young girls in the spotlight. I also loved reading about how passionate she was/is about US agriculture and food production, and how she started the first ‘kitchen garden’ in the White House to promote to school children/the public about the importance of knowing where your food comes from! In short, I absolutely loved this book. So much so, that I felt like I wanted to email Michelle (I mean….I don’t even know if this is possible?!) and tell her how much I enjoyed her book and what an incredible woman she was!

Everybody Died So I Got A Dog – by Emily Dean

I first came across this book whilst listening to ‘The High Low’ podcast by Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes and instantly wanted to read it! Just the title alone just grabs you and makes you want find out more! Then I heard Emily being interviewed on Radio 4 that same week, and she was so witty and funny, and I loved how she talked at length about her relationship with her dog and how it got her through the toughest period of her life (spoiler alert…) the whole of her family died over the course of three years, then she got a dog. I mean, can you even imagine. Despite Emily’s situation being desperately sad, she has such a humorous and light way of telling it – and as a result I found that I was laughing one minute and then in tears the next. Sort of how I am when watching an episode of ‘Fleabag’. From reading this book, I also found out the Emily has a podcast series called ‘Walking the Dog with Emily Dean’ where she does just that, with celebrities that she interviews on the walk – so I’ve started to listen to that now which I’m also loving – the Lily Allen one is great!

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Paul Kalanithi

I’ve wanted to read this book for a while. But wanted to wait until I felt ready – as it is an incredibly emotionally heavy book. Its about a neurosurgeon who gets diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. Paul wrote this book in the last 22 months of his life – and it’s all about his experience of what he perceives to be ‘the meaning of life’ during this time – told you it was heavy. He talks in depth about the difference he felt when he was switched to being a patient from a doctor. Although I didn’t find this book at all easy to read, I’m so glad I did. One of my favourite parts of the book is actually the epilogue written by Paul’s wife Lucy, after hearing her described by Paul throughout the book it was nice to have her speaking from her perspective about the situation. I would probably not recommend reading this if you’re looking for a light breezy read (stating the obvious) but if you’re looking for an inspirational memoir/autobiography then I’d hugely recommend this book!

Tattooist Of Aushwitz by Heather Morris

My brothers lovely girlfriend lent me this book after heavily singing it’s praises! I’d seen so many people post things about how ‘unputdownable’ this book was on various IG pages too! Again, it obviously goes without saying that some of the content in this book is horrifying and desperately sad. But the story, based on true events I believe, is just so incredible. It follows a jewish Polish man called Lale who finds himself in a concentration camp during the war. The book follows his time within the camp, his survival story and how he becomes the tattooist for new prisoners entering. He later falls in love with a fellow prisoner, Gita and the book is essentially all about their secret love affair. It’s a gripping and heartwarming book – about how love can thrive in the most unlikely of places. I love love loved this book. You could read it in a day – and I almost did – I literally couldn’t stop!

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Wow, where to start with this one. Those of you who follow me on IG may have seen what I wrote about this book when I finally finished it in Feb…I’m just going to put it out there – I didn’t love this book. Whether that was due to me feeling a bit emotionally vulnerable during pregnancy, I’m not sure. This book was recommended to me by so so many of my friends siting it as ‘one of the best books they’ve ever read’. So when I wasn’t enjoying it very much at the beginning I thought I’d better persevere. This book follows a group of friends living in New York – with the central character being a man named Jude. It follows the four friends throughout several decades of their at times, very complicated and troubling lives. This book is not a ‘light read’ it contains some really graphic parts to do with issues such as sexual child abuse, self harming and depression. I found it too dark to read at points – but I ploughed on through to the end. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it, just that I sort of ‘endured’ it – and was pleased when I got to the end! So yeah, you’re probably getting the jist, but let’s just say I didn’t love it to say the least!

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

This is Sally Rooney’s debut novel and their has been so much hype surrounding her as a new author! You can’t move for news articles talking about her, podcasts etc. Overall I really enjoyed this, I loved how relatable the characters were. All centred round two friends called Frances and Bobbi set in Dublin who strike up an unlikely friendship with a married couple (Nick and Melissa). It then follows their complicated and at times incestuous relationships. I felt so invested in the main character Frances and really enjoyed the scenes that Rooney painted of the glamorous parties they had, and holidays they took. Would really recommend for a light(ish) read, or for just something a bit deeper than an ‘easy holiday read’.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

As I loved ‘Conversations With Friends’ so much, I hopped onto Rooney’s next novel – which I actually enjoyed even more! ‘Normal People’ is all about two central characters who grow up in a small town, again in Ireland. It follows their intertwined lives over the years and how they switch between love and friendship through different situations. Like ‘Conversations with Friends’ I felt very invested in the characters and also I related a lot to them at times too. I’m really looking forwards to reading more of her novels when they come out!

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