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6 Books to Lose Yourself in

I’ve been reading a lot of books lately.  The cold, dark days have got me into hibernation mode, and for me snuggling up and reading a good book is an important part of enjoying winter.

Here are the very best of my most recent reads:

 1. Normal People by Sally Rooney

A complicated friendship/romance starts in rural Ireland when Connell from the local estate finds himself attracted to the school’s most socially awkward attendee – Marianne.  She also happens to be very clever and rich.  Normal People charts the ups and downs of their on/off relationship as they become adults – Sally Rooney’s books are a fascinating and scarily accurate reminder of the many insecurities young adults feel.

2. Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Not entirely dissimilar to Normal People. The plot of this book focusses on 21 year old student Frances. Frances is very intellectual, but emotionally immature and covers up her feelings by being spiky and sarcastic. She is best friends with her gorgeous and extrovert ex-girlfriend, Bobbi.  Things get complicated when Frances and Bobbi meet a glamorous and older socialite couple: Melissa, a well known journalist and Nick, an actor. Bobbi is drawn to powerful Melissa, Frances is attracted to emotional and kind Nick.  Nick’s kindness starts to chip away at Frances’ hard shell and an interesting dynamic between the two of them unfolds.

3. No One Tells You this by Glynnis MacNicol

Is a memoir set in New York. Glynnis is hitting her 40s and working out what to make of being in her 40s, single and childless.  She’s figuring out if she’s okay with that. It turns out she is, and despite some pretty tragic curve balls, Glynnis approaches her life with a sense of adventure and positivity that is heartwarming and inspiring. Being 42 myself (and childless), so much of her story resonated with me. Her entire adult life sounds like a chaotic string of ups and downs, all mixed together with a strong sense curiosity and adventure.  It’s so nice to read books like this and to hear the story of a woman banging to the beat of her drum, whilst brilliantly dismantling some of the ridiculous expectations that are put on women.

4. The Cactus – Sarah Haywood

If you enjoy books like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, then you’ll love this. Susan Green is not unlike Eleanor in the way she approaches everything with 100% logic and very little emotion.  But her life starts to unravel when she discovers she’s pregnant and her mum dies all within a short space of time.  Susan is someone who is used to having a very ordered life – and things have just got very messy, but it all leads to some magical new beginnings for Susan.

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood.

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

5. Notes on a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig

The technological/social media obsessed age we are living is literally making us all mentally ill. It’s no wonder that depression and anxiety are on the rise when we’re overwhelmed with relentless notifications from our smart phones and there’s fewer and fewer opportunities to truly switch off.  Although Matt makes very serious points about how the overly connected world we’re living is damaging us, he’s absolutely hilarious in how he does it (particularly because he’s got some terrible social media habits himself).  It still feels like a positive read as he makes some great practical and entirely doable suggestions for adopting a mentally healthier lifestyle.

6. The Tattooist of Auschwitz –  Heather Morris

This is a beautiful book.  The true story of Lale, a tattooist at Auschwitz concentration camp, who wheels and deals his way to survival. He’s a bit of a Robin Hood character – sweet talking the nazis to get special favours and food which he then shares with other Jews. There are so many fascinating twists and turns to the plot – reading this was so hard in parts, it’s especially hard to believe it’s true.  I couldn’t put it down.

If you enjoyed reading this, you might like to try 6 Brilliant Podcasts.

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