Summer reading highlights
We’re already well into September, with it’s change of season, back-to-school feel. In fact, it’s literally back-to-school for our family (or rather, going-to-school-for-the-first-time) as my eldest son is starting at school nursery. How is that possible!?
It’s all coming around too quickly, and I’m willing time to move a bit slower. Part of that involves savouring things each day – paying mindful attention to the things that are bringing me pleasure and focusing on them to eke a bit more enjoyment from them.
Clearly, one of those things is reading. I read a huge amount this summer. My kids can finally play together for minutes (!) at a time, so I get to sneak in some daytime reading now at weekends, as well on my commute and before I go to bed. It’s a joy to be spending so much time between the pages, so I thought I’d share some of my summer reading highlights.
These books are not unsung (not sure what I mean about that? Head here). Apart from You Let Me In, which I read as a proof, I’d heard about each of them from so many people before I read them. They’re all absolutely brilliant, and I’m very happy to carry on spreading the word of mouth for them!
Like loads of other people, I got a copy of Little Fires Everywhere over the summer, and I absolutely loved it. So when I saw this book going spare at work, I snapped it up, and then was blown away when I liked it even more than Fires. It’s (unsurprisingly, given the title) about the things that go unsaid in families. The small ways people keep parts of themselves hidden that can have big repurcussions.
Full disclosure, I work at Quercus, which publishes this author’s books, so I got this from work. But I read a lot of brilliant books this summer – I wouldn’t include this if I didn’t really think it was worth sharing. Similarly to the Celeste Ng books, I read the first JP Delaney book (The Girl Before) early in the summer, and really enjoyed it. It was gripping and the kind of book I absolutely raced through. So when I heard people talking about how the second book was even better, I had to read it. And I think they were right. I just loved the way you had no idea from one page to the next who was telling the truth, and whose side you should be on. It had me guessing until the very end, and just when I thought I’d guessed the final twist, there was yet another one coming swiftly behind it. Just pure fun reading.
I listen to a lot of personal development podcasts, mostly about people who work in, or coach, creative small businesses. Tara Mohr is always recommended. It’s been on my list for absolutely ages, and then it was face out in the library, so it became mine (temporarily, at least). It was really inspiring, and some of the exercises were very revealing. I also think it started to clarify some things for me in terms of what I want out of life, and what Playing Big means for me. I took LOADS of notes, and am still working through some of it, so I think this is one I’m going to have to buy in order to refer back to again and again in the years to come. A great book for anyone who wants to do some ‘inner work’.
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A lot of people have found this book absolutely hilarious. I am not one of those people. There are definitely very funny moments throughout the book, but overall, I came away feeling pretty sad after reading it. This is the story of the incredible work that the people who work in our NHS put in every day, and the utterly dreadful way they are treated. It just broke my heart about a million times as I read it. I want every single person in the UK to read it – it’s just such an important book. And it IS funny. Just heartbreaking at the same time.
Another great thriller. I’m really not a fan of gory books. Serial killer thrillers where there are people (women) being mutilated? Not my bag. But give me a good psychological thriller and I’m yours. This was just an absolute page-turner. And I 100% did not see the twist coming until the very last minute, which is what you want from this kind of book, right? Something to keep you up late into the night because the chapters are short and at the end of each one you think ‘Just one more won’t hurt, right?’.
So, those are my favourites. What were the best books you read over the summer? Do you find you read more or less as the weather changes? Have you read any of these? What did you think?
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