Tuesday

May Reading Round Up

With a total of almost 30 hours spent on planes in May, I thought I would get a lot of reading done. Unfortunately, flying makes me sleepy at the best of times, and my brain decides that reading is the perfect way to fall asleep when I'm in the air, so I actually didn't get much done at all. In fact, I think I would have read more if I'd been at home the whole month. Oh, well!

Stack of books


THE CURIOUS HEART OF AILSA RAE

This book was sent to me out of the blue so, although I don't often read romances, I thought I'd give it a go. It was a cute read, if very predictable and unrealistic at times, but it was enjoyable enough. It tells the story of two transplant receivers who find each other thrown together: Ailsa, a blogger recovering from her heart transplant, and famous actor Seb, who has had a corneal transplant. I found myself getting quite attached to the characters and I appreciated that the technology used was real (nothing annoys me more than terrible made up websites and usernames in books, like DancingGirl1 on Facegroup or whatever). If you're looking for something light and fluffy, you'll not go far wrong with this.

My rating: 60% (Find out how I rate books here)

Buy The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae here

DO NO HARM

When I started my master's degree, I put a load of death-related books on my Amazon wishlist, and Rich bought me some for Christmas. This was one of them, but it turns out it's more a book about life. Written by Henry Marsh, an eminent British brain surgeon, it's an incredibly candid and moving account of the life of those who work in brain surgery. Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes triumphant, but always relayed with a great warmth and genuine empathy for his patients and their loved ones, I found this book absolutely compelling (it was also helpful when the woman on the plane next to me wouldn't stop looking over my shoulder and I opened the page on a chapter that began with words along the lines of 'the saw cut into the young woman's skull beautifully'). 

My rating: 68%

Buy Do No Harm here

HAPPY

I've seen this book floating about on Twitter, and I enjoy Derren Brown's work, so I thought it would be a good read for me. It wasn't what I expected, but I found that a pleasant surprise. Mainly a long essay on stoicism and how to apply it for a happier life, I've tried implementing some of his suggestions when I'm stressed and found that they actually work quite well. Far better than any of the usual self-help crap. Sometimes it's a little twee perhaps (quite a lot of 'just let it go, it doesn't affect you if you can't let it' kind of stuff), and there's a returning motif on a X-Y graph that I didn't really understand, but it was written with a funny, tongue-in-cheek tone and I found the balance between enjoyable and educational perfect. You may need to have a head for philosophical concepts as it gets quite heavy on the Greek philosophy at times, but it's a good read. 

My rating: 69%

Buy Happy here

ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE

I picked this up in Costco on a whim because I'd seen so much of it on social media. It's not my usual read, but I actually quite enjoyed it. I found the protagonist, Eleanor, quite difficult to warm to, but I suppose that was the point. She lives a life that's largely isolated because she doesn't fit into the mould that society expects from her, and this book chronicles her difficulties in navigating the world of adult friendships as she reconciles with past trauma. The story was very engaging and fast-paced, and I was genuinely shocked by the twist at the end (although looking at some reviews online, it seems like I was the only one!) It's the perfect beach read, but I whizzed through it really quickly, so you might need to pack more than one book if you're going away.

My rating: 75%

Buy Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine here

OF MICE AND MEN

Yeah, I know, you hate it because of your GCSEs, yada yada. I'll have you know that even though it was also on my syllabus, it became one of my favourite books ever, so take your 'studying ruined it' attitude outta here. I try to re-read Of Mice and Men, the tale of two migrant workers in 1930s America, once every couple of years. It's only 100 pages or so, so it's a good one to reach for when I've got an hour or two at a loose end. I can't even tell you how many times I've read it but I cry every. single. time. Steinbeck's descriptions of the landscape are just beautiful, and so vivid that it's like you've stepped into the scene. His writing is incredibly poignant and I just think the entire book is a masterpiece. If only I liked his other work as much!

My rating: 90%

Buy Of Mice and Men here

As I write this, it's not looking too hopeful that I'll read five books in June. I'm already a week in and I'm majorly struggling with my current book. I have this horrible need to persevere even when I find a book a real slog though, so it might end up taking me the entire month just to finish this one! Eurgh  wish me luck! 

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