Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a book that took me completely by surprise. I had heard great things about it so when I had the opportunity to review the book I jumped at the chance. All I knew about the storyline was what I had read in the synopsis: Continue Reading
We’ve made it through the first four months of 2017 without blowing up the planet. So to celebrate I’ve decided to have a look through the books I have read so far this year and pick out my favourites.
This year so far I’ve read 34 books which sounds like a lot (for me anyway) but it’s actually because I have got massively into graphic novels and manga which are obviously quicker to read. I’ve read a really interesting mix of books this year and I’ve enjoyed most of them, which is always a plus.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
“Are you happy with your life?”
Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.
Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”
I honestly cannot recommend this book enough. I can easily fall into a reading slump if a book doesn’t instantly grab me but I whizzed through this one. I could not put it down. It might sound ridiculous but reading this was like reading a movie – fast-paced and just absolutely mind-bendingly awesome.
If you’re interested in science and the prospect of multi-verses then you’ll love this book.
I’m a huge fan of Sheryl Sandberg and found her book Lean In really inspirational. I still remember reading her first Facebook post after her husband Dave passed away suddenly in 2015. I could feel her pain radiating through and it affected me a lot more than I thought it would.
Sheryl is a fantastic writer and when I heard she was writing a new book, Option B, about building resilience in the face of adversity, I knew I had to read it. Last year my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer and it was the absolute worst time of my life. Thankfully she recently finished her treatment and everything is looking positive – but thinking back to the time around her diagnosis, I can’t believe we managed to cope. I struggle with anxiety anyway and the stress of that time – and finding out the cancer had already started to spread to her lymph nodes – meant I had to leave my job to be able to cope mentally, and to be with her during her surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Continue Reading
Not being a user of Airbnb (yet) but familiar with its staggering growth, I wanted the chance to get the inside story, warts and all.
Synopsis on Goodreads:
This is the remarkable behind-the-scenes story of the creation and growth of Airbnb, the online lodging platform that has become, in under a decade, the largest provider of accommodations in the world. At first just the wacky idea of cofounders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb has disrupted the $500 billion hotel industry, and its $30 billion valuation is now larger than that of Hilton and close to that of Marriott.
Airbnb is beloved by the millions of members in its “host” community and the travelers they shelter every night. And yet, even as the company has blazed such an unexpected path, this is the first book solely dedicated to the phenomenon of Airbnb.
As soon as I saw this book I knew I had to read it. This is a book written by the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine High School shooters. She writes thoughtfully and passionately about her thoughts and feelings throughout the 16 years since the incident happened.
Summary from Goodreads:
On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives.
For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could she have done differently?
These are questions that Klebold has grappled with every day since the Columbine tragedy. In”A Mother s Reckoning,” she chronicles with unflinching honesty her journey as a mother trying to come to terms with the incomprehensible. In the hope that the insights and understanding she has gained may help other families recognize when a child is in distress, she tells her story in full, drawing upon her personal journals, the videos and writings that Dylan left behind, and on countless interviews with mental health experts.
How to Murder your Life is, without a doubt, my favourite book of 2016. Released in February 2017, this book is the autobiography of Cat Marnell’s life so far. Don’t worry, I hadn’t hear of her either but jeez, her life is SO INTERESTING.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
At the age of 15, Cat Marnell unknowingly set out to murder her life. After a privileged yet emotionally-starved childhood in Washington, she became hooked on ADHD medication provided by her psychiatrist father. This led to a dependence on Xanax and other prescription drugs at boarding school, and she experimented with cocaine, ecstasy… whatever came her way. By 26 she was a talented ‘doctor shopper’ who manipulated Upper East Side psychiatrists into giving her never-ending prescriptions; her life had become a twisted merry-go-round of parties and pills at night, and trying to hold down a high profile job at Condé Naste during the day.
With a complete lack of self-pity and an honesty that is almost painful, Cat describes the crazed euphoria, terrifying comedowns and the horrendous guilt she feels lying to those who try to help her. Writing in a voice that is utterly magnetic – prompting comparisons to Brett Easton Ellis and Charles Bukowski – she captures something essential both about her generation and our times. Profoundly divisive and controversial, How to Murder Your Life is a unforgettable, charged account of a young female addict, so close to throwing her entire life away.
I’d heard a lot of hype about The One Memory of Flora Banks so I jumped at the chance to get an early copy.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.
With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.
I have been looking forward to this book for months as I absolutely adored Yoon’s first novel, Everything Everything. I’m very thankful to Netgalley and Penguin Random House for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?
Wow October was a busy month. I’ve been super hectic with studying and work and have had family visiting too. To make up for being quieter than usual I’m running a giveaway to win Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella! See the Gleam mechanism at the end of the blog to enter :).
I’m a huge fan of Sophie Kinsella (author of the Shopaholic series, among many other books) and this is her first young adult novel.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.
The Atomic Weight of Love follows Meridian, an intelligent and brilliant young woman, from the age of seventeen when she’s starting university in 1941, to the present day when she’s in her eighties.
While at university she falls in love with an older man, Alden, an intelligent but mysterious professor. They end up getting married and she follows him to Los Alamos where he’s working on a secret project (which we later find out is the atomic bomb). For him she gives up her hopes of studying for a PhD and of furthering her career in ornithology (the study of birds).
We follow our main character through the decades as she makes and loses friends, falls into temptation with a younger man and deals with the changing roles and increasing power of being a woman.
This novel is many things – it definitely has a feminist slant as Meridian promotes this throughout her story. At the end of the book we learn what she is up to in her later years and it really is fantastic.
It’s also a very erotic novel in parts, as we’re with her as she discovers the power and freedom of sex and truly explores it for the first time. Continue Reading