I’ve had a very hectic few weeks – starting a new job, having even more job interviews and working out where I’ll be in the coming months- but luckily, in spite of this chaos, I’ve been able to keep on top of my reading and get through some absolutely fantastic books this month. I’ve actually been quite adventurous and have read a couple of non fiction texts alongside my usual novels… who would have thought it?
One of the first books I managed to get my teeth sunk into this month was When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. This one was one that I have had on my radar for a little while, having seen it all over the place – reviews on blogs and in newspapers, recommended reads in bookstores – so buying a copy was always on my agenda. I picked it up and finished it within a day or two, which really does illuminate just how good of a book it was. It was absolutely devastating- a young man in his thirties who had dedicated over ten years of his life to surgery and medicine discovers that he is absolutely riddled with lung cancer. He is no longer doctor and takes on the role of patient, writing down his experience and the feelings that he has throughout this incredibly difficult time period. I won’t spoil the ending but I will say that I absolutely sobbed my heart out at multiple points- the story is a true one, after all.
Having been emotionally destroyed by When Breath Becomes Air, I wanted something a little bit more cheery to read next. Another book that I’d had in my Amazon basket for quite a while was The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell, so this was the book I picked up next. I am very, very pleased to say that The Penguin Lessons was everything I needed to pick me right back up again- and more. Another non-fiction text, the story follows Tom on his gap year in Argentina, where, on a weekend break in Uruguay, he discovers a single, living penguin on a beach covered in dead ones. He takes the penguin (who he later names Juan Salvador) back to the apartment he is staying in to clean it up, before attempting to return it to the beach: I say attempting, quite frankly, because little Juan Salvador refuses to leave Tom and instead he finds himself smuggling the penguin across the Uruguayan/Argentine border and installing it in the International school where he teaches English. The book is beautifully written, joyful and just a downright lovely book to read. I’d read it over and over again.
I absolutely love watching Sanne’s (booksandquills) videos on youtube and she recommended reading Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler in one of her videos. I bought it on a whim whilst browsing in Waterstones (mostly because it’s a retelling of the Taming of the Shrew- my favourite Shakespeare play) and I am very glad I did as it is absolutely fantastic. Kate, the protagonist, is asked by her dad, a mad scientist, to consider marrying his lab assistant. Why, you may ask? Why, to get him a Green Card of course. The novel plays on so many different themes and has the most delightful prose throughout it – it’s definitely one you have to read to truly believe how good it is.
My final book of the last few weeks is, of course, a psychological thriller- I wouldn’t be me otherwise, would I? My colleague Denise has been telling me to read Behind Closed Doors by B. A.Paris for pretty much the entire time I’ve been working with her (around a year) and I’ve FINALLY done as I was told and got myself through it. It really didn’t take much – I powered through the entire thing in a matter of an evening and I didn’t look back once. It was PHENONEMAL. There’s been a LOT of hype surrounding this book and I’m slightly ashamed to say that this did actually put me off a little bit – I fully expected to be disappointed and underwhelmed but that most certainly was not the case here at all. It was tense, it was intriguing and I felt myself instantly sucked into the tale. I’m really excited to read more of B. A. Paris’s books after reading this one!
What have you been reading so far this month? Let me know!