Two books per month isn’t exactly ground-breaking, but often it’s good to go in realistically and end up exceeding those initial expectations, Harry Potter exam-style.
This year, I’m also making more of an effort to reach for books across all genres from my bookshelf. Does anybody else invest in huge Amazon orders and only end up reading one or two titles? Sorry to all of you, dust-covered books in my bookcase.
As it stands, I’ve devoured five books so far in 2018 and I’m yet to be disappointed by any. I thought I’d share what I’ve been reading for all of my readers who commented that they also planned to read more this year…
Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham
I’m not a huge reader of ‘celebrity’ novels or autobiographical books, but true to my decision to read from all genres and in homage to my rampant Gilmore Girls obsession, I asked for this title for Christmas, unwrapped it and procceded to read it in its entirety in all of a week.
The book centres on Lauren Graham – who played Lorelai Gilmore – and her experience as a Gilmore, as well as introducing the reader to her life thus far. A memoir of sorts.
I’m notoriously bad at Western pop culture so couldn’t tell you the first thing about Parenthood or any other series that Graham has been in, but still I absolutely loved this book. My only niggle with it is that the book feels quite lenient on the Gilmore Girls as a sell, which may frustrate the lesser-obsessed reader.
The Shadow Hour by Kate Riordan
One of my favourite genres at the moment is historical fiction and The Shadow Hour encapsulates it perfectly. Set in time-honoured England, the story tells of how lives are interwoven and rooted in the history of Fenix House. Harriet Jenner is 21 when she enters Fenix House for the very first time, appointed as governess at the house.
Armed only by the comfort of her grandmother Grace’s illustrious tales of her own days there, she is soon overwhelmed by myriad confusions as her grandmother’s fancy story unravels before her eyes. There is no grand room or fancy-free lifestyle, only a love-worn house that is barely a home, a grumpy master of the house, an absent mistress and mysterious child to govern.
I think this is one of those works of fiction that can easily be ruined by talking about it in too much depth, so I’ll round this up by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and ended up staying up until 2am on the back-end of a 4-hour reading session to complete it. It’s full of little twists and turns and minuscule details that cleverly culminate to a satisfying albeit startling ending. The characters are expertly written with such powerful and intricate backgrounds that one feels truly connected to the story, and I found myself constantly wanting more. It’s written in a dual-timeline manner which I know can feel distracting, but it just about worked on this occasion.
The Working Woman’s Handbook by Phoebe Lovatt
There was a bit of a buzz around this non-fiction title last year and I was overjoyed to spot it in my stocking from Harvey at Christmas.
I found that last year, I seemed to trudge along with my work and career, simply getting things ticked off, deadlines met and clients happy. And while that is, of course, completely fine, I found myself with a growing desire to achieve more and to realign my career goals.
This handbook is a genuinely useful guide to developing your professional vision, aimed mostly at creatives, though I imagine it’d be great all-round. It features worksheets, interviews with women at the top of their game, and has been a lifeline for setting myself some benchmarks and goals to work towards.
Can you believe I didn’t even have an elevator pitch for my business until this year? Exactly.
Little Black Book by Otegha Uwagba
OK, I’m only about two-thirds of the way through this one, but it’s worth adding to this post. In fact, it is probably worthy of a post all to itself!
The Little Black Book is dubbed a toolkit for the working woman, and it is kind of is. I see it resolutely as more of a great resource to turn to when you’re feeling low towards work or are in need of some frank advice. So often I’ll scroll through Twitter and see relatively empty phrases framed as advice handed out, when actually it’s been this book that I’ve needed all along. Yes, some of the material is a bit fluffy but there are entire chapters that I’ve meticulously pored over for advice (the money talk pages, especially) and it provides to-the-point copy that you’ll be able to read in just a few sittings.
Editor’s Note: It is totally worthwhile to pick up both this title and The Working Woman’s Handbook.
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
I’m partway through this title at the time of this post going live, but again, felt it was worth noting. Sometimes it’s good just to add a charming read to your entertainment and this is that.
Set in 1883 London, the story tells of a watchmaker and how several lives are interwoven. Thaniel Steepleton’s life is saved by a pocket watch crafted by Keita Mori, and there is where the story begins. The imagery is beautiful throughout the novel and relatively easy to read: I can get a few chapters down on each morning’s commute and before bed in the evenings. Again, I’m just so into historical fiction at the moment and I’m really enjoying how my 2018 reading list is looking.
What have you been reading, lately?