Multiple holidays, trips and a turn in my attitude towards ‘going out’ means that I’ve made quite some headway with my Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge.
Back in January, I noted that I’d like to be getting through around two books per month. Not an ambitious number but still more than I’d been reading in regular years, mostly because of my newfound blog reading habit from the last eight years!
As I sit down to pen this post with an episode of Atypical playing (I just also remembered that I used to share reviews of series I’d been watching recently…), I’m a book ahead of schedule. God bless Goodreads for its nerdy, number-crunching ways. I bloody love it.
The Multi-Hyphen Method by Emma Gannon
After a little non-fiction drought, I was excited to immerse myself in this highly anticipated title. Emma Gannon is an author, podcast host and writer, who you probably already know from Twitter. This book is essential if you’re keen on changing the way you work or if you’d like to start defining yourself by several roles. Personally, I was interested to read it and see if I could apply any of her advice to my working style to maximise my time and understand how to navigate the murky waters as a freelancer. In short: yes, it did! In fact, I’d highly recommend any fellow creatives or fellow bloggers to pick up a copy of this, because it helps to demystify any myths about freelancing or working in any way that isn’t a traditional 9-5 at-your-desk job.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
I won’t harp on too much about Crazy Rich Asians because I feel like it’s all I’ve spoken about for the past month or so, but this novel absolutely sealed my summer for me. Straight off the bat, this is a deliciously fun, guilty pleasure sort of read. It’s a great holiday novel in that it doesn’t have a super complex plot, just plenty of gossip, glitz and glamour. By now, you’ll also know that it’s been realised in film format, namely the current box office #1 with a sparkling all-Asian cast! The story revolves around Rachel Chu, a professor at NYU, and Nick Young, heir to a billion dollars or so, and what happens when Nick brings Rachel home to Singapore for the wedding of the year. Read the book first, then see the film.
A Knight in the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R.Martin
This collection of short stories took me forever to read and I have no idea why. Beautifully told and set a century before A Song of Ice and Fire, the stories follow Dunk and Egg, two unlikely heroes. I really enjoyed these short stories and found them a great way to dip back into Westeros whilst I wait endlessly for an A Song of Ice and Fire sequel this side of the millennium. I’m hopeful, ok?!
The Little Breton Bistro by Nina George
I really enjoyed The Little Paris Bookshop which is by the same author, so this was a no-brainer for me when it came to picking up a poolside read for our trip to Spain back in June. Alas, it was not to be and I found it incredibly hard to persevere with this book. The story centres around a woman named Marianne who seeks to take her own life because she is so unhappy with her existence. She can’t seem to pinpoint a reason to be around, and yet she is rescued by strangers. The book follows her journey as she rediscovers life and what it truly means to live. A great concept, but it fell flat for me as I found the chapters clunky and slow.
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
When I shared a snap of this book on Instagram, I was blown away by how many of you are Neil Gaiman fans! And true to form, Norse Mythology was unbelievably good. I’m a huge Marvel fan and adore the Thor and Loki stories, but must admit I didn’t know much about the mythologies behind their stories. This collection of short stories reads like a bedtime story and that’s how I personally read them. One or two an evening, or more if I wanted to. I couldn’t recommend this book more.
The Last Days of Leda Grey by Essie Fox
Essie Fox is one of my new favourite authors. I absolutely fell in love with her novel Elijah’s Mermaid last year, and by chance she found my post about it and sent me a copy of Leda Grey. And this is by far a standout novel of 2018 for me. The enchanting world of Leda Grey is shrouded in mystery and it genuinely had me bewildered until the very last chapter. I always get completely caught up in the worlds created by Fox and couldn’t fault this. Read along as the protagonist uncovers years of secrets, heartbreak, misery and concealed truths, and I just hope you love it as much as I did.
Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland
Every single Sunday, I watch Louise’s The Weekly vlog after breakfast. Louise is one of my favourite YouTubers and I can never put my finger on why, and when I came across her first novel at my local library, I had to loan it. The plot seems to loosely based on the author’s own life and as a long-term fan of Louise’s, I could certainly draw parallels between her and the heroine of the book: Robin Wilde. Robin is a single mother of one, trucking along with her everyday life and struggling just under the surface to keep things together. Wilde Like Me follows her story from career to personal life and love life. It’s a predictable but nonetheless fun read and if you’re also a fan of Louise, it’s definitely worth dipping into. (I finished it in a number of days!)
The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
Guys. I LOVED this book. I loved it so much that I Instagrammed it, and I’ve been talking about it endlessly to everyone I encounter. Harvey gifted the beautiful, first edition hardback copy to me for Christmas last year but, true to save-for-best form, I only started reading it towards the end of August. Philip Pullman was one of my favourite authors growing up, and The Book of Dust is his prequel trilogy to the infamous His Dark Materials trilogy. The plot centres around Malcolm Polstead, the child of pub owners, and his magnificent journey as a flood takes hold of his Oxford home town. The events that unfold link him forever to Lyra – a heroine you may already be familiar with – and it makes for an enchanting, gripping tale. I’ve no idea why this universe captured my heart all those years ago, but this volume has totally cemented my love for all things Pullman.
China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
As I write this, I’ve just finished reading China Rich Girlfriend, the much anticipated sequel to Kevin Kwan’s first book in the series. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this as much as I did Crazy Rich Asians. It felt forced, tacky and vapid, with far too many unnecessary bodies of copy that were solely descriptive and I only forced myself to push through with reading it because I adore Astrid Leong’s character in the books. If you’ve read or are reading Crazy Rich Asians, then I recommend leaving it at that because the second will negatively impact your opinion on this world.
The Last Days of Leda Grey by Essie Fox and The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman