Helloooo April! Welcome to my March reading round up, which is now going to a monthly feature on the blog. I hope this is going to keep me motivated to read as much as possible each month but it’s also the best way to keep you guys updated on the books I’ve been reading. I’m not a fan of writing mini reviews on Instagram and have to accept that I can no longer find the willpower to write a full review of every book I read, so here’s a sort of in between.
What I read in March
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was a book I expected to be just ok. It turned out to be just brilliant. It’s a novel written in the form of letters between a Miss Juliet Ashton and the people of Guernsey. Juliet is a writer and after being contacted by Guernsey’s Dawsey Adams, in search of a book, they strike up a correspondence. Juliet quickly becomes engrossed in the stories of the people of Guernsey during the war and decides that it is going to be the subject of her next book.
This charming little book tells the tale of friendship, family and hardship during the German occupation of Guernsey. It’s a really emotional read with one letter making you laugh and the next making you cry! I can guarantee that you’ll fall in love with all the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and you’ll soon want to hop on a boat yourself over to the Channel Islands, hoping to find Dawsey and the others waiting.
Whilst in general I found this novel to be rather uplifting, the underlying plot concerning the impact of World War II is rather harrowing, but one hundred percent human. This book touched my heart in ways I didn’t think it could and I certainly didn’t think I’d be adding this (ridiculous) title to my list of favourites!
This is a delightful read that I’d highly recommend. It’s emotional, funny, charming, informative – an all round lovely book.
p.s. The film, whilst rather different from the book in many ways, is also excellent. In cinemas 20th April 2018.
Reasons to Stay Alive has been high on my TBR pile for a long time but I only just got round to reading it. It wasn’t quite was I was expecting as it’s neither an autobiography nor a self-help book, which is what I had believed it would be. It could be described as a candid collection of thoughts from Matt Haig, someone who has suffered from depression for years, but has largely managed to pull himself out from the abyss.
You’ll find lots of anecdotes from his past, which perfectly articulate the life of a depressive and will no doubt seem familiar to anyone who has suffered from low mood. There are also lots of lists such as: the thoughts and feelings of a depressive on a day to day basis, celebrities who have suffered from depression and, of course, reasons to stay alive.
Reasons to Stay Alive is a surprisingly upbeat collection from Matt Haig that manages to convey the darkness that depression brings at its worst but also hope for a brighter future. It is definitely a must read for anyone interested in or suffering from mental health problems.
God where do I even start with this one? I was invited to a preview screening of the film adaptation of Midnight Sun a week or so ago and, against all odds, I absolutely loved the film. The book, however, is honestly the most cringe-worthy material I have ever had the misfortune to read. I know I’m growing out of young adult books but I don’t think that had anything to do with how I feel about Midnight Sun. The dialogue is diabolical and I was rolling my eyes and just how cringe and cliché it was. It’s so, so sappy and I think a fairly good example of what happens when an adult attempts to get inside the mind of a teenager and gets it wrong, wrong, wrong.
It’s weird because, as I said in my film review of Midnight sun, the dialogue in the book is pretty much exactly the same as the script for the film. When it’s on screen though, it comes to life and is super cute and hilarious. When written down it just made me want to vom a little. I think this is possibly because Trish Cook articulates what’s going on in the teenager’s heads as well as what actually comes out of their mouths and the combination makes for the ultimate sap-fest. It’s hard to explain why there is such a huge difference in response to book and film but the directors and actors bring the script to life in a way that the book simply doesn’t.
It’s not often that I say this but… avoid the book, just watch the film!
I read the The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club as part of the book tour organised by the publisher but then I completely neglected to post my review of it. Doh! I’m a bad book blogger, I know. This book is about a group of ladies who are brought together by their love of reading. They are all lonely and troubled in some way but the Fairvale Ladies Book Club creates a tight knit friendship group of ladies who become the best of friends in hard times.
I was drawn to this book because I love reading books about bookworms, but unfortunately the book club that is responsible for bringing these ladies together gets relatively little action itself. This is made up for by the fact that it is such a wonderful story of female friendship. The ladies that make up the book club are of all different ages and circumstances but they strike up the most wonderful friendship, offering each other the strength and support that had thus far been missing from their lives. It was wonderful to read about these women opening up to each other and the positive impact they managed to have on each others’ lives. It was lovely to read a book with all female protagonists and it is great portrayal of the power of women who help each other.
However, I did get the impression that I would’ve enjoyed this book a lot more if I was Australian. I felt like the book was reaching out for those who might feel some sort of recognition of the culture or places, which I didn’t have. This book is set in the Northern Territory of Australia where many Aboriginal people live. This is not something I’m familiar with at all so it was deeply interesting to read about but there was definitely some sort of disconnect between me and the story that I can’t quite place my finger on.
Galatea by Madeline Miller ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
With the release of Madeline Miller’s next book, Circe, coming in the next few weeks, I started to look up other Greek myth retellings similar to The Song of Achilles. I was surprised to find that Madeline Miller had written a couple of works prior to this award winning book and seeing as the Galatea ebook was only £1.50 from Amazon, I snapped it up. I guess it’s kinda cheating to put it on this list because in all honesty this story is less than 20 pages long!
This short story is an adaptation of the Greek myth of Galatea, the statute created by Pygmalion that was brought to life. Galatea has been admitted to hospital by her husband and all the doctors believe her to be quite ill so she is not allowed to leave. She is her husband’s prisoner and refused the right to see her ten year old daughter.
This interpretation is quite brutal and there are numerous incidences of rape but I loved the very raw portrayal of an ancient story. It may be short, but it certainly manages to pack a punch and gives much food for thought. It alludes to the obsession with what is beautiful, not what is real, and reveals a brutal relationship between man and woman. The ending is deeply satisfying but I shan’t tell you more.
Two books I’m carrying over into April are Circe by Madeline Miller and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. I’ve made very little progress with the former but the first few pages have convinced me that it’s going to be as good as The Song of Achilles. Fingers Crossed!
Lolita is another book that has been on my TBR pile for eons and I’ve been slowly making my way through it this month. I’m finding it to be quite a difficult read because of the shocking material and so I have to be in the right mood to read it, which is why progress has been slow. The writing is absolutely beautiful but I was actually a little taken aback by the main character. I knew what this book was about before I picked it up and I’m no stranger to disturbing literature but this book honestly makes my skin crawl.
Lolita is a fascinating read and I can see why it has garnered so much attention over the years but it certainly won’t be for everyone! If you are a fan of Lolita, then I’d recommend you check out Tampa by Alissa Nutting, which is the story of a female school teacher with an obsession with 14 year old boys. Read my full review here.
👍🏼Favourite read of the month 👍🏼
👎🏻Least favourite read of the month 👎🏻
Let me know how you got on with your reading list in March in the comments below!