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 teachers English. The book is beautifully written, joyful and just a
downright lovely book to read. I’d read it over and over again.
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!