So, if you cast your minds back to the beginning of the year I set myself a challenge. And I failed that challenge. I failed to share my favourite read every month- I failed to even read at all some weeks. It’s now April and I’m writing a four-month old blog post that’s been left cold and lonely in my drafts.
Life has been a bit mental. The MA has, inevitably, stepped up a notch, and me being me decided to take on a few other things to extend my workload to the frankly impossible. When, at the beginning of this month, I cut down my coffee-making hours (to many tears and sleepless nights of loss) at the café, I thought that I’d be making things easier for myself. I thought I’d be one of those writers breezing through the week with a cup of tea in hand, a book in my bag (for all those spare half-hours I’m now going to have), perfectly flat hair and a totally manageable to-do list.
As always, I forgot myself.
The hours I cut down during the daytimes have been replaced with a new venture: my boyfriend and I have essentially opened a new restaurant two nights a week, which involves another night prepping and another night marketing, menu writing and generally obsessing over hasselback potatoes. What we thought was just going to replace our lazy Sunday and Monday nights in front of Netflix has become an intense passion, involving a lot of hard work and a few late nights. We’re loving every second. If you’re into vegan foodporn check out Rooted.
And then there’s all the other little bits in life. More work doing what I love (eating food and then writing about it) has meant that more often than not the book that’s supposed to always be tucked away in my bag has been left to gather dust on the shelf at home, and by 9pm I’m too exhausted to even think about taking it to bed. Basically, all the opportunities I thought might drip through my life gradually have propelled towards me all at once, and I’ve been left this confused little human trying to grab them all gleefully while simultaneously crying over having no clean pants to wear.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve gotten better at managing time, at waking up early enough to get everything done, at giving myself snippets of time to make my way through the teetering to-be-read pile on my bedside table.
It might not have happened every month so far, but here’s my January-April favourites. My reading slump is officially over.
Tom Hanks- Uncommon Type
Tom Hank’s debut collection of fictional short stories is a true delight. Heart-warming, humorous and gritty, his story-telling is crafted beautifully and each one will leave you feeling wonderfully nostalgic. The thread of the collection is a typewriter: each story, no matter the characters & settings, involves one in some way, and is an ode to a more simpler time, or to the efforts in trying to recreate it. Hanks’ characters are relatable and sometimes ridiculous, in all the best ways. The perfect bedtime read for all ages.
Matt Haig- How to Stop Time
Matt Haig takes us through history in this happy-ending tragedy. Our narrator and protagonist Tom Hazzard is aging at a monumentally slow rate- and has seen things that we can only remember reading about in history textbooks and watching on period dramas. Friends with Shakespeare, drinking with Fitzgerald, and on board with Captain Cook, Tom is a character we all want to be friends with, but that nobody can get too close to. With smooth plot curves, a beautiful visualisation of some of history’s greatest memories, and a classic romance, this book will make you laugh, smile, cry, and most of all be grateful for your immortality and the people you share it with.
Gail Honeyman- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine- at least that’s what she tells herself. An exploration into the concept of loneliness, this heart-breaking and hilarious story of a woman who doesn’t know how to have friends will have you holding your breath for the happy ending we know Eleanor deserves. Painfully awkward at times, tear-jerkingly touching at others, I truly found it hard to put this book down, and it’s ideas consumed me once it was prised out of my hands and I was forced to get on with life- only the very best story-tellers & character creators can achieve this, and Honeyman is definitely in that category.
If you like reading this kinda stuff let me know, and please please please share your favourite reads with me! Hopefully see you sooner,