Books

New book alert!

This book has sat in my Kindle for a while.  I loved the title and I loved what it professed to teach me.  BUT I’ve not had the courage to read it.  It will take a lot of courage to read a book that will probably suggest I do things that are completely alien to me.

I have always known that I am a person who cared too much about everything.  I’ve mostly ever really cared about other people more than myself (let’s face it, when you’re the eldest child you’re taught to consider other people, take care of other people, be a shining example and paragon of virtue for other people, be perfect for other people to look up to…etc., etc.!).  Mostly because during the times when I’ve actually put myself first, the resulting situations were disastrous and I ended up hurting so many other people.  So I usually steer clear from what I think are actions that might be construed as “selfish” and “putting myself first.”  Which is, in hindsight, probably why I feel like I’m in a state of arrested development.  It’s because I’ve put others first before wanting to do what I want to do.

In the last 18 months, I’ve come to realise that I do have to put myself first.  No one, not even the people who profess to love me (save a handful of people), have actually done what I’ve done for them: consider me before themselves.

I’ve read reviews about Sarah Knight’s book and I find my interest extremely piqued.  One review says it’s Oprah-esque wisdom with Amy Schumer swearing.  Now that sounds hilarious.

So…without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, the book that will be accompanying me on the train journey for the next few days.  See y’all on the other side!

tlcmofngafck

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Books

#readinggoals this week!

So this is my book pile.  I’m not entirely sure how long this is going to take me to finish all these books but here goes nothing!

book stackIn my to-read list (from top to bottom and not in any order of importance):

  • Our Kind Of Traitor by John Le Carré
  • Get Started On Food Writing by Kerstin Rodgers (aka @MsMarmiteLover)
  • The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins (reading it for the nth time!)
  • Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed
  • Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss
  • Get Rich Blogging by Zoe Griffin
  • Girl Friday by Jane Green
  • Voracious by Cara Nicoletti (attempting a second read without munching on anything!)

Lord knows when I’m going to finish it, but I’m going to try!

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Books

Comfort reading

There are books that you just pick up and read and it feels like being enveloped in a soft, warm duvet.  These are my comfort books.  Over the years my comfort reading list has evolved and my current list has been my go-to list for a few years.  I had titles by Ingalls Wilder, Austen, Brontës, Keenes, and Blume in my list when I was growing up.  I think these will always be my duvet day standbys, but now that I’m (way) over the age of majority, my tastes are a bit more varied.  I find myself reaching for the following books:

The Languedoc Trilogy by Kate Mosse

LanguedocTrilogyIt’s a series of books that are set in Carcasssone, in the Languedoc region of France, near the Pyrénées.  I find myself repeatedly drawn to books that have a bit of historical fiction in them and these definitely hit the spot!  They are an excellent read.  I started with, of course, the first book of the trilogy, Labyrinth.  Once I’d read this, I knew I had to get the other books to read.  So I moved on to read Sepulchre and Citadel.  It’s not difficult reading, even with the history and the Occitan language inclusions.  I’ve read each book about twice now.  Next on my to-read list is Kate Mosse’s Winter Ghosts, which is also set in the Languedoc region.

Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling

HarryPotterbooksSo who hasn’t read the Harry Potter books?  I fell in love with the world that J.K. Rowling created.  I first started with the Scholastic Books version and moved on to the Bloomsbury editions which I enjoyed the most.  It had all the British references that makes Harry Potter Harry Potter.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

EatPrayLoveI was still in the Philippines when I watched Oprah Winfrey interview Elizabeth Gilbert in 2007.  Oprah waxed lyrical about the book, how the insights changed her life.  That piqued my interest but I didn’t necessarily think it was going to be this mind-blowing read.  It wasn’t until I moved to England that I actually read the book, and I read the book at just the right time.  I read it when I was at a crossroads of my life and needed to make a lot of difficult decisions about the direction I wanted my life to take and who I wanted to have in my life when I moved forward.  It changed my life and helped me get a different perspective.  I still read the book, when I need to be inspired or need to think about things differently.  Yep, the book is amazing like that.  I even did an Oprah – I bought the copies of the books and sent it to my friends so they could read it too!

Julie and Julia: My Year Of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell

JulieandJuliaI love this book but I think part of the reason I love this book is because I really did love the movie and I so loved Amy Adams in it.  Amy Adams made the character relatable and made me want to read the book (mostly because I love to cook, read cookbooks and I have a blog where I can be, more often than not, self-deprecating).  I think Oprah liked the book as well, which was another factor (I do love Oprah’s book club choices!).  I know there are a lot of reviews about how bad Julie Powell really is, how selfish she is and self-centered and all that.  But when I read the book, I found myself wanting to find out how she managed to dig herself out of the hole she put herself in.  I mean, I know that she had an affair (this wasn’t in the movie), but Julie Powell in her book certainly wasn’t a flat character!

The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris

thehappinesstrapI was introduced to this book by my therapist.  I needed counselling because I was fast approaching a burn-out at work and I was getting more and more sick because of stress and it was affecting my performance and my psyche.  I absolutely loved this book because it allowed me to learn how to tackle my worrying (most eldest children will be able to relate to the pressure that we put ourselves under to be perfect, how we all constantly worry that we won’t measure up).  The most important thing is that it taught me to think about my worrying differently.  I think I’m a long way away from not being a worry-wort (I think that’s what makes me good at my job – I worry about the future too much!) but I’m getting better at dealing with the stress that worrying brings.  It is a different approach to therapy.  I still read portions of it when I have moments.

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

TheGirlOnTheTrainI LOVE this book.  I bought it off Amazon because it was about a girl who rode a train everyday.  Hello! My daily work commute involves me getting on a train for over an hour to get to work.  It was something I thought I could relate to (no spoilers so that’s all I’m going to say).  But I didn’t expect this lovely little thriller to grip me in the way that it did.  I couldn’t wait to get home so that I could read more of it and find out how the story unfolded.  I nearly missed my several times because I was so engrossed!  Am so looking forward to Paula Hawkins’ second book.  This was an amazing debut!  I would suggest reading it before the movie hits the screens (Emily Blunt’s in it!) because they’ve changed a few things in the screenplay.

Books

Book du jour: Taming the Queen by Philippa Gregory

I’ve finished another book!  Hurrah!  I am now catching up to my goal to read 24 books this year.  I am now just a book away from catching up!  Yay!

The book that I’m now reading is the next installment in the Tudor story beautifully written by Philippa Gregory.  She now writes about the last of King Henry VIII’s wives, the queen that survived him, Katherine Parr.

I’m about about 5 chapters in now and am quite pleased with my progress!  Here’s to more books, eh?

TamingtheQueenCan someone recommend what I should read next?  Any suggestions folks?

Books

Book du jour: The Missing One

So I finally finished Maria Kubica’s book The Good Girl.  It’s quite a good book and very nearly unputdownable.  I nearly missed my train stop several times in the course of reading the book.  It was very interesting because it wasn’t an individual’s story.  It shows how many individuals are affected by one extra-ordinary experience.

But mind you, the ending, the twist at the end, was very nearly unexpected!  A definite must read.

I’ve started on a new book now.  Determined to read 2 books a month.  I am still a book behind but at least I’m progressing!

The book that I’ve just started reading is about Lucy Atkins.  It’s called The Missing One.  It’s a daughter’s journey of discovery, of getting to know her mother after her mother’s death.  I must say it’s quite interesting because it’s several stories intertwined.  Plus there is a science-y bit that I find entirely interesting…it talks about killer whales, orcas.  When I was little, my dad and I watched this movie on TV called Orca, The Killer Whale.  It was about this whale that kills people in this village because fishermen killed his wife and unborn calf.  Does anyone remember this movie?  One scene has this woman hanging out of a house on stilts and the orca eats her leg…but just the one!

I wonder how long it’ll take me to finish this book?

the missing one book cover

 

Books

The Good Girl

I cannot remember why I thought this would be a good idea.  I’ve signed up to do a reading challenge on Goodreads.  I’ve set my goal to reading 24 books this year.  2 books a month.  At the time I set my goal, I thought it was really doable.  My commute to work is an hour long each way and I thought, “Great, I’ll manage 2 books a month!”  It’s not as easy as it sounds though!  I’m always worried about goals that I set for myself.  I almost always start something and never finish it.  It’s an annoying trait.  I tend to procrastinate to death, until I just get to my set deadline to find out I didn’t even get to the halfway point of my goal!

I’m already a book behind.  It’s April and I’ve only just started reading my 6th book!  I bought two books of the same title.  I read the other, and it was good read.  It was by Fiona Neill.  But this book is quite the page turner.  I even read it with Alan around on the train.  I think he feels a bit ignored when I read on the train instead of talking to him.  The book, at the moment is unputdownable!

If you get the chance to, read Fiona Neill’s book too, but read this one first.  Particularly if you liked The Girl On The Train.

Oh sorry!  I meant to say, I’m reading Maria Kubica’s The Good Girl.

The Good Girl by Maria Kubica

Books

Book du jour: After You by Jojo Moyes

Push yourself.  Don’t settle.  Just live well.  Just live.

But after the person you love the most in the world dies, how do you go on?

I’m guessing this is the question that Jojo Moyes attempts to answer in her beautiful sequel to the amazing book Me Before You.

I nearly fell off my chair (well, okay, that’s an overstatement as I was sitting on my couch when I found out Jojo Moyes had written the sequel of the heartbreaking novel Me Before You.).  If you haven’t read it, DO!  But be warned that the story will clutch at your heart and leave you reaching for tissues, more than once!  It is a story about a girl who cares for a paraplegic who is determined to end his life.  I won’t really say too much as I always think spoilers are what they are; they spoil stories for people.  I am not too bothered about finding out a story’s ending because even if I know how the story ends, I love finding out how you get to the end (I remember while in school in Chemistry, or Physics, or Maths, or Algebra, or Geometry or Trigonometry or Calculus I always enjoyed working my way back – I enjoyed knowing what the end was and learning how to work my way back to find out how you got to the answer.  Weird, I know!).  But there will be people who mind knowing how the story ends.  It was at times a difficult read, but in true Jojo Moyes fashion, she writes out these poignant scenes that are at the same time sad and funny.  You can’t help but cry, sniffle and chuckle at the same time.

I couldn’t help but buy the (Kindle) book when I found out that the sequel to Me Before You was out.  While the story broke my heart, I loved Lou (Louisa) and I wanted to find out what happened to her after Me Before You ended.  Jojo Moyes did not disappoint.  She has written a lovely story that while intrinsically connected to Me Before You, you can very definitely read this book independently.  This book was one of the reasons why I was happy to go to work and why I was so eager to get on that train home.

I finished reading the book this evening, just as the train pulled into Harwich International.  And while I was feeling a bit weepy, there are benefits to reading in a public place.  You rein in your emotions but you’re more aware of how emotional the book makes you because when you struggle to keep your emotions in check, you’re more aware of how emotional you are!

Even if you haven’t read Me Before You, read After You.  It stands on its own merit and it is, as all Jojo Moyes books are, beautifully written and the insights into people’s emotions are amazing.  It is a must read BUT you must remember two things when you start reading this book: you will, at some point, need a box of kleenex and the book is unputdownable!

After You