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Each year I’ve set myself a reading challenge, and to be honest I don’t think I’ve fully completed that challenge once. Last year was the closest I had came, falling one book short, and so this year I’ve added that additional book and challenged myself to reading 21 books this year. To some that is probably nothing, but to me it’s been a little daunting.
I’ve always been a big reader from siting in my room engulfed in a Jacqueline Wilson novel, to attempting to read a book a week for my English degree. But as I’ve gotten older, and life has gotten somewhat busier, I’ve fallen down the Netflix hole one too many times and discarded my TBR pile to the back of my mind. So as you can imagine, I’ve only just about managed to keep on track this year – thank god for sunny bank holiday weekends and a boyfriend who works crazy hours. Anyway, I thought I’d share my favourites books I’ve read so far this year. I’ll also mention the other ones I’ve been reading and the books I’ve got planned for the next few months.
So up first my favourite book so far has to have been This is Going to Hurt. After reading When Breath Becomes Air last year, I found a new love for autobiographies – something I usually stayed clear off. Whilst I’m not sure if these secret diaries of a junior doctor books fully count as autobiographies, they’ve truly gripped from the get go. This is Going to Hurt tells the daily trials and tribulations of being a junior doctor in the NHS. It genuinely blew my mind the type of things Adam was subjected to whilst working in the maternity wards. Don’t get me wrong I always knew they were overworked, but i didn’t realise the extent of the hard work that they do day in, day out. Whilst it did make me feel an overwhelming sadness for the lack of respect the NHS gets, it made me laugh out loud more than I ever have when reading. I can safely save I have a newfound respect and love for our NHS and it’s one of the books I would recommend over and over again.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock lately, then I’m sure you’ve heard everyone talking about Sally Rooney. I’ve read both her books now, and whilst I really didn’t get on with Normal People, I absolutely loved Conversations with Friends. It’s an odd story of two friends living in Ireland, who fall in with an older crowd and one of the girls begins an affair with the older man. I liked the daily life aspect of this novel and the relatability of some of the traits each character holds. Whilst Frances, the main character, can be hateful and a little pathetic at times, I still found myself rooting for her, which to me is the sign of some great writing. Definitely a quick and easy read, which is something I enjoyed.
Lastly, I read An American Marriage whilst on holiday. I’ve never heard of Tayari Jones but I’m trying to make a conscious effort to read more novels by and about BAME people. Jones’ novel is a heart-wrenching story of a black man who is wrongfully imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. I honestly loved this book, but it was a hard pill to swallow. It’s a great commentary on the flawed system, not only in America but within the rest of the world, that black people are harshly stereotyped due to the colour of their skin – racism at its core. It was a gripping read, and without giving anything away it was a sad romance story. I was pretty unhappy with the ending, not because of bad writing, just that it wasn’t quite the fairytale ending I was hoping for – and that in itself it’s a true reflection of the reality we live in.
So whilst that’s my top 3, I’ve read a few other books I thought might be worth mentioning. The Tattooist of Auschwitz is another book I enjoyed, although I felt it didn’t fully tackle the harsh realities of what life in a concentration camp would have been life. The Mars Room was an enjoyable read about female imprisonment, however I kept picturing Orange is The New Black whilst reading this which took away some of the enjoyment for me. Lastly I quite liked Little Fires Everywhere, but I wouldn’t say it was up to the hype.
Currently I’m reading If I Stay, which is another quick and easy read but isn’t up there with my favourites. So I’ve got two other books I’m quite excited to read: The Mothers, which is another BAME novel about black culture, and Tangerine which is set in the 1940s so should offer a nice change of pace.
If you want to follow me on Goodreads to keep up to date with my progress, then you can do so here. If you’ve got any brilliant book recommendations I’d love to hear them in the comments – I’m always on the hunt for a new book!