Book Reviews: Constellations | If I Forget You | Histories | The School Friend

mini reviews 1 dec

Today I’m sharing a selection of mini reviews of books I’ve read recently!

 

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Constellations by Sinead Gleason

I added this book to my TBR after reading one of the essays in a newspaper article. The one I read was probably the one that had the biggest emotional impact on me as its about the death of a close friend, and it’s incredibly moving. The moment when you get a phone call telling you that someone the same age as you, someone you love, has died is something that never leaves you. I also really connected with all the stories Sinead told about her medical battles over the years as I know what it is to have a lifetime of health struggles and to have to adapt to them. I smiled at the story of when Sinead was in a wheelchair as a teenager and was dreading how the other teens would react to her but the boys just immediately started messing about with her chair and made her feel so normal. I had that exact same experience at age 13 and to this day I think about it whenever I’m feeling self-conscious about my disability. I definitely identified with Sinead’s take on the pain scale, I had a wry smile on my face reading that as it’s so hard to explain to others how pain feels and how bad it is. This is a beautiful collection that takes you through what it is to be a woman and I very much enjoyed it. I recommend it!

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The School Friend by Alison James

This is the kind of thriller I’m always drawn to – a novel told in past and present about something that people did as children that has been kept secret until now! It seems Lucy has the perfect life – a happy marriage, a lovely house and good friends but all is not as it seems and she needs to get away. This leads her to being back in contact with her childhood best friend Adele. Adele has lived a tough life never having money or much stability so seems opposite to Lucy but the two share a secret about the death of a friend they had as pre-teens. This book gripped me from start to finish, it did require suspension of disbelief but that didn’t stop it being a really enjoyable read!

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Histories by Sam Guglani

This is a collection of interlinked short stories set in an NHS hospital. I loved the way you get to see from the perspectives of lots of different people in the hospital – the doctors and nurses, the cleaners, the patients and the receptionists. Each person had their own story to tell but in the background or on the periphery you see other people’s stories. Later you see some of the background from the perspective of the person involved and it feels like being really close to a story and then slowly pulling back from it to make a fuller picture. I really enjoyed this book and found it’s one that is really staying with me. I highly recommend it!

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If I Forget You by Thomas Christopher Greene

Thomas Christopher Greene wrote one of my favourite books – The Headmaster’s Wife so I’ve been really looking forward to reading this book. I’m pleased to say that I really enjoyed it. The novel is told in alternating chapters from Henry and Margot, and also in the past and the present. This couple met and dated at university but were forced apart and they moved on with their lives. Then one day Henry sees Margot in New York and he wants to talk to her, to know what happened in her life. The longing and the missed opportunities in this book makes it such a bittersweet read. I read this in one sitting and I keep thinking about Henry and Margot ever since I finished reading it. I definitely recommend this one!

 

WWW Wednesdays (20 Nov 2019)! What are you reading this week?

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now: 

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

This book is so good! The amount of research that the author must have had to do in order to give such a full picture of each of these women’s life is so impressive. I’m in awe of her. This is a book that I want to both savour and devour, it’s brilliant. I have no doubt that this will be one of my standout books of the year.

Constellations by Sinead Gleason

This is also a brilliant read and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve been dipping in and out of it but I’ve reached a point where I don’t want to put it down, it’s so good.

Bowie’s Bookshelf by John O’Connell

I only started this book last night so I’m not very far into it but I know I’m going to to enjoy it. I think it might be one I dip in and out of over the next week or two.

Snowglobe by Amy Wilson

In my quest to catch up with my NetGalley ARCS as much as I can before the year is out this book is the next on my list. I’ve only read the opening chapter so far but it feels like a very lovely, magical book.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman

This is such a lovely, romantic book and I really enjoyed it. I’ll be reviewing it next week for the blog tour so please look out for my thoughts then.

The School Friend by Alison James

This is an ARC that has been on my NetGalley shelf for a while so I finally read it this week and it was an enjoyable read.

How to be Human by Ruby Wax

This was one of my Non-Fiction November picks and I’m glad I finally read it. It’s a good overview of how to deal with emotions around certain things and has a decent guide to easy mindfulness exercises in the back. My full review is here.

Logical Family: A Memoir by Armistead Maupin

I listened to the audio book of this and really enjoyed it. Armistead Maupin narrates it himself which really added to my enjoyment of his memoir. It’s made me want to start reading Tales of the City all over again so I may do that in the new year!

Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly by Jim Rogatis

I borrowed this book from the library audio books app on a whim and I’m really glad I got to listen to this one. It’s written by a journalist who has been looking into the revelations about R. Kelly since the 90s so it’s a really interesting and insightful book. I recommend it.

James Baldwin and the 1980s by Joseph Vogel

I’d almost finished this book when I wrote my post last week and I’m really pleased that I stuck with this one as it turned out to be such a fascinating book. It’s sparked my interest to want to read all of James Baldwin’s writing (I’ve only read a couple of his books before). My thoughts on it are here if you’d like to know more.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I listened to this on audio and I’m so glad I did. There’s nothing like a memoir that’s read by the author and this book was such a treat. I adored this book and I highly recommend it.

 

What I plan on reading next:

One Christmas Night by Hayley Webster

This is my next planned Christmas read and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve got an ARC from NetGalley but I think I’m going to get the audio book so I can listen to it as I read.

When Stars Will Shine by Emma Mitchell

This is a Christmas short story collection and I’ve been so keen to start reading it so I think I’m going to dip in and out of this one over the next week or two.

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

This is the next book I want to read from my Non-Fiction November TBR. I’ve heard such good things about this and I can’t wait to start it.

Lost Connections by Johann Hari

This is also on my Non-Fiction November TBR and I think this is the one I’ll pick up after Three Women as I’m keen to read this one before the end of the month.

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (13 Nov 2019)! What are you reading this week?

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now: 

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I’ve been so looking forward to listening to this on audio book and am so happy to say that I’m enjoying it even more than I thought I would. Michelle Obama’s life is so interesting and I can’t wait to read more.

Constellations by Sinead Gleason

I’ve only read the first essay in this book so far but I really enjoyed it so I’m very glad that I finally picked this book up.

Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman

I started reading this last night when I wasn’t feeling well and it’s perfect escapism. I’m sure I’m going to fly through this one tomorrow when I pick it back up!

James Baldwin and the 1980s: Witnessing the Reagan Era by Joseph Vogel

I’ve been really enjoying this book this week and at the time of writing this post only have 20% of it left to read so I may well have finished it by the time this post goes live. This is such a fascinating book, I recommend it if you’re a James Baldwin fan.

 

What I recently finished reading:

The Death of a President by William Manchester

I’ve been listening to this on audio for the past couple of weeks and have found it such an interesting look at the short period leading up to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the few days following his funeral. I recommend this to anyone who is interested in this period of history.

Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class by Owen Jones

I can’t stand Owen Jones so I’m not sure how I ended up buying this book on Audible but I’m actually glad I did. It’s an interesting look at how society views the working class. There is definite bias in the book but it’s still a book that gives you something to think about.

The Dark Side of the Mind by Kerry Daynes

I’ve been so looking forward to this book and I’m pleased to say it didn’t disappoint. The author relates insights into patients and illness that she has encountered during her career as a forensic psychologist. I recommend this one as it’s so interesting but also very readable.

The Undying: A Meditation on Modern Illness by Anne Boyer

This was a hard read because of the subject matter but it was also really interesting. The author has a lot to say about the way we look at cancer and cancer patients, along with the campaigns run around the illness. I will review this one once I’ve had time to mull over my thoughts on it.

David Jason: My Autobiography by David Jason

I’ve had this book on my TBR ever since it first came out six years ago but I finally read it this week and I very much enjoyed it. It covers most of David Jason’s life from his childhood through to Frost. I’ve got his next memoir on my TBR so I’m tempted to start that soon!

I Carried a Watermelon by Katy Brand

This book was such a fun, nostalgic read and I really enjoyed it. I will be reviewing it soon but can already say that if you love Dirty Dancing then this is a book for you!

 

What I plan on reading next:

Bowie’s Bookshelf: The Hundred Books That Changed David Bowie’s Life by John O’Connell

This is both a Non-Fiction November pick and one of my NetGalley must-read books plus it’s a book I’m really keen to read so I’m hoping to get to this one in the coming days.

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

I’d hoped to pick this book up last week but didn’t quite get to it but it’s definitely next up from the audio books on my Non-Fiction November TBR and I’m so looking forward to this one.

Deceit and Self-Deception by Robert Trivers

This is another of my Non-Fiction November TBR picks and I’d really like to make a start on it this week. I have tried to read this once before and failed but I’m still keen to read it so now is the time!

The School Friend by Alison James

I’m continuing on my quest to catch up on my NetGalley reads before the end of the year and this book is up next on my list. I think I’m going to love this one!

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

 

WWW Wednesday (23 Oct 2019)! What are you reading this week?

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now: 

Nothing Important Happened Here by Will Carver

I’ve only just started this book as I’m writing this post but I can already tell it’s going to be brilliant. I’m really looking forward to sitting down for a chunk of time and reading this one.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

I was in the mood for an Agatha Christie and this one was the first I spotted on my TBR so I picked it up. I’m really enjoying it although I have a strong suspicion about whodunnit which makes me think I may have read this before (perhaps many years ago during my pre-teen years when I devoured all the Agatha Christie books my local library had!).

James Baldwin and the 1980s: Witnessing the Reagan Era by Joseph Vogel

Shamefully, I discovered this was on kindle from NetGalley and I’d been approved to read it almost two years ago. I’m reading it now though and it’s a fascinating read. It’s reminded me that I need to read more of James Baldwin’s writing.

The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers

I’m on the final part of this book now so I may well have finished it by the time this post goes live. It’s been a really interesting, and at times very alarming read, about the politics in the years leading up to 9/11. It’s a book I’ve had to take my time with but it’s one I’d recommend.

 

What I recently finished reading:

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

I bought a copy of this book on my kindle when it was published but when I spotted it on my library audio book app I decided to part-read and part-listen to it. I very much enjoyed this book and ended up reading it in just a couple of sittings. The characters aren’t always very likeable but they were believable and I was keen to see where the story was going to take me.

The Christmas Wish List by Heidi Swain

This is my first Christmas read of the year and I adored it! It’s perfect for the lead up to Christmas and was great escapism for me this week. I’ll be reviewing this one for the blog tour at the end of this month but in the meantime I highly recommend it.

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks

This is another book that I got through my library app and I found it a fascinating listen. Due to having a neurological condition myself I’m always so interested in books about things that affect the brain. This covers quite a wide range of stories and it was engaging the whole way through.

The Last by Hanna Jameson

I’ve had an ARC of this on my TBR since the end of last year and finally managed to get to it in my quest to catch up before the end of this year. I enjoyed this book but it wasn’t quite as good as I was hoping. It felt like it was going to be something different to what it was. Having said that it did keep me reading so it the writing was engaging.

The Silent Ones by K. L. Slater

This was a really good thriller looking at the aftermath of two ten year old girls accused of murder. I was gripped by this book from the start and really enjoyed how the story unfolded. I recommend it.

The Accidental Love Letter by Olivia Beirne

This is such a gorgeous novel about a woman called Bea who recieves a letter addressed to B and decides to open it even though she’s not sure it’s meant for her. I devoured this book and adored it. My review is due to be published today so you’ll be able to find out my full thoughts in that post.

Platform Seven by Louise Doughty

This was another great read. It follows a woman who is dead and her spirit is now stuck at Platform Seven. Gradually she reveals her story and what led to her death. This book was so gripping and I was on the edge of my seat as the story is revealed. I will review this one soon but I recommend it in the meantime.

 

What I plan on reading next:

One Week ‘Til Christmas by Belinda Missen

I’m going to be on the blog tour in a couple of weeks so I’ll definitely be reading this book in the coming week and I’m so looking forward to it. It sounds really festive!

The School Friend by Alison James

This is another ARC that has been waiting to be read for longer than I’d have liked so it’s a priority for me this week. I’m sure I’m going to love this one, it sounds like my kind of read!

The Seven Imperfect Rules of Elvira Carr by Frances Maynard

I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages now and I’m in the mood for it so am hoping I can make time to read it this week.

Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell

This is a book I’ve owned for about three or four years now and I’m still really keen to read it so want to make an effort to pick it up in the coming days!

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂