There are hobbies, and then there is lifelong callings, and I am going to be so bold as to say that reading is a lifelong calling for everyone calling themselves a human being on this planet. Books expand your mind, and challenge your beliefs, and let you feel emotions you didn’t really know how to feel, and you can do it all in your pyjamas.
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Since 2014 I’ve been setting a reading goal via the greatest app invention of all time, Goodreads. So far, I’ve yet to reach any of my goals. In 2014, I aimed for 50 books and got to 37. In 2015, I aimed for 20 and read about 12 (that was my first year at the law firm, so you know, I spent a lot of time haphazardly at the office or drunk at karaoke). In 2016, I aimed for 40 and hit 22, and in 2017 I aimed for 30, and hit 28. So despite never reaching my elusive goal I set for myself, I decided in 2018 to aim for 52 books. The theory was that I was moving countries, and becoming a business owner so obviously I’d have just like a tonne more time. This theory was both correct, and incorrect, but in any case, I have now devoured 33 books (hallelujah!) and wanted to do a little round up of my favourites, and a warning against some absolute travesties.
Some of the Best
This was recommended to me by a fellow book loving friend, and it was absolutely incredible. I loved it so much that I’m planning for a re-read at the beginning of 2019, which is an honour only previously bestowed upon the Harry Potter series and The Girl In Times Square which I was weirdly besotted with. If you read nothing else in 2018/the rest of your life, read this one.
<a href="http://The Snow Child: A Novel“>The Snow Child // Eowyn Ivey
I came across this book through the part of instagram that is dedicated to people who like to read, but in a really attractive and photogenic way. The writing was like what I imagine falling into a Pensieve would be like – as though you’d fallen through into another world and could actually feel the snow falling around you. I truly felt my emotions were muffled by the expansive nothingness of snow-covered Alaska. Actually magical book.
Honestly I kind of thought that the genre of whacky main characters who you’re initially turned off by but then come to love (see The Rosie Project) had been kind of done, so I thought everyone was being a bit OTT about this book. But Eleanor is just the best! Some of her quirks got a little tiresome, but overall this book was (weirdly considering some of the content) just delightful and completely engrossing. Great plane reading if you are trying to kill time without looking at a screen because you can’t gobble the book down fast enough.
Okay I’ve sandwiched two books together, but they are both autobiographical stories written by my personal hero Turia Pitt, and I loved them both for different reasons. Turia was running an ultra marathon in the Kimberley when she suffered horrific burns from a major bushfire. In each book she details her recovery, particularly her mindset towards it and how she used different mental strategies to overcome just unbelievable physical and mental pain (I can’t imagine waking up and seeing my face completely gone, most of my fingers amputated, let alone the complete and utter agony of daily changing bandages over my burnt body). And then the woman went and did an Ironman (another of my personal goals). I just love her and everything about her, so I enjoyed these books. Full disclosure, there are tonnes of self-help and personal improvement books out there, and these may not resonate with others the way they did with me, but I had some low moments after moving, and I found Turia’s no-nonsense, get up and get on with it approach to things that feel hard to really work for me. Plus, I think she’s a true hero.
Some of the Fun Ones
This extraordinarily attractive cover was littered across beautiful reading Instagram accounts, and I subscribe to judging a book by its cover. This was basically Grey’s Anatomy in novel form, and I really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t say it would revolutionise fiction or change your life, but it was one of those good, fun reads (god, what a know-it-all phrase) and I think worth picking up if you’re trying to re-exercise a reading muscle. Separate point, I also just love that this was written by a female doctor. Girl power.
Another book I picked because it was pretty. I really need to spend less time on Instagram. I loved this book mainly because I listened to it on Audible and the narrator was an Australian, and sometimes you need nothing more than to hear other people talk like you. The story itself was light and fluffy and a bit of fun. I did get frustrated with the main character after a while, like Apple, it’s been years since your conflict, bloody well move on and live your life. But when you accept the type of book you’re reading, it can be forgiven, and I had fun reading it.
Some of the Shockers
What an absolute waste of time. Heinous writing, extremely liberal approach to history, devastatingly awful dialogue. Do not read.
I really wanted to like this, as I am partial to a good old self-help book. But honestly the title made no sense and the ‘discoveries’ and self-realizations were very shallow. I feel like this book encapsulates all the things I dislike about the influencer generation. I do think that if I met the author in the wild, I’d really like her and enjoy her company, but that doesn’t mean she needed to write a book.
I listened to this book on Audible while painting and caulking the never-ending trim and doors in the office that we built this winter. There were flashes of interesting insight into life in Alaska (and living in Northern Michigan I was like WHY MAKE IT HARDER ON YOURSELF), but the love story was just baffling and completely unbelievable. Don’t read.
There are other books on my Read shelf, but I just wanted to start with some that have stuck in my mind for good, or other, reasons. Happy reading!