A new month, a new pile of books just waiting to be read!
Here’s what I’m reading this month:
The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer
About Book One:
For thirty years, Area X, monitored by the secret agency known as the Southern Reach, has remained mysterious and remote behind its intangible border– an environmental disaster zone, though to all appearances an abundant wilderness. Eleven expeditions have been sent in to investigate; even for those that have made it out alive, there have been terrible consequences.
‘Annihilation’ is the story of the twelfth expedition and is told by its nameless biologist. Introverted but highly intelligent, the biologist brings her own secrets with her. She is accompanied by a psychologist, an anthropologist and a surveyor, their stated mission: to chart the land, take samples and expand the Southern Reach’s understanding of Area X.
But they soon find out that they are being manipulated by forces both strange and all too familiar. An unmapped tunnel is not as it first appears. An inexplicable moaning calls in the distance at dusk. And while each member of the expedition has surrendered to the authority of the Southern Reach, the power of Area X is far more difficult to resist.
This is a prime example of judging a book by its cover. I love love love the bold colours and simplistic design of these books! I also love that the title and author are presented in such an understated way – it stays with you much more than a giant name and title with little image does (apologies to the next book on my list, but it’s true!). The premise for these books of a strange land – Area X – and the mystery that surrounds it sounded intriguing but the actual text can only be described in one word – addictive. I read book one in two days (commuting to and from work) and it almost felt like I was in a trance the way I was pulled through the story. I accidentally bumped into a girl on the tube and she pointed to my book and said ‘isn’t it addictive? The whole series is amazing!’ and I was so thrilled to meet a total stranger who totally got the reading joy I was experiencing. I’m mid-way through book two (which is completely different to book one) and it’s just as good. Highly recommend if you like dystopian, mystery, suspense and bone-chilling twists and turns!
After You by Jojo Moyes
About the Book:
Lou Clark has lots of questions. Like how it is she’s ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places. Or why the flat she’s owned for a year still doesn’t feel like home.
Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago. And will she ever get over the love of her life. What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change.
Then, one night, it does.
But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for – or just more questions? Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered, safe. Open it and she risks everything. But Lou once made a promise to live. And if she’s going to keep it, she has to invite them in . . .
Me Before You was one of those books I read initially because it seemed like everyone was reading it and then fell in love with it. It made me laugh. It made me ugly cry (the sign of a book I will return to again and again just for the feels – like The Fault in Our Stars) and the ending caught me completely off guard. Though I haven’t heard the best of reviews on the sequel, I’m willing to give After You a go because you can’t judge a book based on the opinions of others (case in point – The Goldfinch. Everyone who raved about how transformative it is was lying. I have never been so bored) I’ll be interested to see how Jojo Moyes takes the characters from book one into the unknown and am holding out hope for more good tears with this one.
Spark Joy by Marie Kondo
About the Book:
The illustrated masterclass of tidying from the bestselling global phenomenon Marie Kondo
It’s almost spring and that has me thinking about spring cleaning – one of my favourite things. I don’t mean the actual cleaning itself (yuck), instead I mean the decluttering and throwing out old, unused items to clear up your space and streamline life. There’s such joy in packing a giant bag of items for charity or the trash and that feeling once it’s all gone and you’re left with a clean home filled only with what you want and love? It’s exceptional! Since reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying I’ve adopted a lot of the KonMarie method which encourages you to discard anything in your life that doesn’t being you joy. To do this you must hold the item in your hand and see how it makes you feel. Joy? Keep! Indifference? Toss! Hate? Toss! The idea is that when done you’re left with a home and wardrobe filled entirely with things that bring you joy. Nice, right? (Though there is a disclaimer – if you live with anyone else there will inevitably be things in your home that don’t bring you joy. G’s never-ending mountain of laundry? Does not bring me joy. But tossing it in the trash would most likely cause an issue so…) This second book from Marie Kondo is an expanded, illustrated version of her first so probably not actually necessary but it brings me joy so I’m keeping it!
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
About the Book:
Primarily of the bildungsroman genre, Jane Eyre follows the emotions and experiences of its title character, including her growth to adulthood, and her love for Mr. Rochester, the byronic master of fictitious Thornfield Hall. In its internalisation of the action—the focus is on the gradual unfolding of Jane’s moral and spiritual sensibility, and all the events are coloured by a heightened intensity that was previously the domain of poetry—Jane Eyre revolutionised the art of fiction.
Yes, it’s true. This bibliophile has never read the classic Jane Eyre. I’ll give you a second to let the gasps of shocks and looks of horror pass.
Better? Good. It’s one of those books that has always been on my TBR pile but just hasn’t made it to the top. The guilt has built to such a point though that I feel the need to bite the bullet and give it a go even though I’m not the biggest Brontë fan (Wuthering Heights was just not for me. I’ve never read such a selfish group of characters!) Hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
The Longevity Book byCameron Diaz & Sandra Bark
About the Book:
Once again Cameron Diaz is on a mission. But this time, she’s starting a conversation with her peers on a topic that is virtually taboo in our society: the ageing female body. In The Longevity Book, she will share everything she’s learned about the ageing process from top medical experts and researchers, as well as her own thoughts, opinions, and experiences on a topic that is as essential to our health as it is emotionally charged and culturally neglected.
The Longevity Book will explore what history, biology, neuroscience and the women’s health movement can teach us about maintaining optimal health as we transition from our thirties to midlife. From how growing older impacts various bodily systems to the biological differences in the way ageing effects men and women; the latest science on telomeres and slowing the rate of cognitive decline to how meditation heals us and why love, friendship and laughter matter for health.
Continuing my ‘New Year, New You’ reading I’m following up GOOP Clean Beauty with this one from Cameron Diaz. I read The Body Book and really enjoyed it so am eager to see what Cameron has to say in this one. It’s always fascinating to see into the thoughts and strategies people you admire use when it comes to healthcare and beauty and I like her focus on beauty from the inside out so it should be good! Also, it might be because my birthday is coming up but I’m thinking more and more about taking care of myself, whether that be looking at more natural products or making more time for sleep and relaxation. Hopefully the content of the book will help!