While there are many downsides to this whole lockdown situation, one thing I am really enjoying is reading. I don’t think I have ever got through books quicker. It’s become part of my daily routine and I’m already contemplating what books I should order next after ordering 4 just over a month ago. Okay, so I’m getting a bit ahead of myself as I’ve still got three other books on my reading list but you get the picture.
I love getting physical books and displaying them like a trophy once I’ve finished them but I’ve also become a fan of audio books lately. Some may consider this as ‘cheating’ as it definitely is an easier way to consume books, but it also means you can get through more content quicker. Just as I would with podcasts, I’ve been listening to audio books while cleaning, painting, and cooking. It’s also a great way to try a different genre or author without committing to a physical and expensive copy.
With a mixture of physical and audio books, here’s what I’ve been reading lately…
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary 5/5
Plot: Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think theyre crazy, but its the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffys at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.
But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rule book out the window.
I absolutely devoured this book. I’m by no means a quick reader but I could not put this down. I usually read around half an hour every few days but I spent an entire Sunday reading this. It reminded me of Our Stop (which I also loved) because of the dual narrative structure and the idea of how someone you’ve never met can have a huge impact on you. I loved the central character, Tiffy, she’s so lovable and I was rooting for her the entire time. This is an uplifting romantic comedy, which at points had me laugh out loud and at other times gasp, which I think is a true reflection of how good a book is. However, it also sensitively covers serious topics which really gave the characters depth and made you care about them. I couldn’t recommend this book enough and I can’t wait to read Beth’s latest book The Switch.
Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick 3.5/5
Summary: Anna Kendrick’s autobiographical collection of essays amusingly recounts memorable moments throughout her life, from her middle-class upbringing in New England to the blockbuster movies that have made her one of Hollywood’s most popular actresses today. Expanding upon the witty and ironic dispatches for which she is known, Anna Kendrick’s essays offer her one-of-a-kind commentary on the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture.
For my first audio book, I chose an autobiography for something similar to the content on podcasts. I wanted something lighthearted, funny, and interesting. I wasn’t disappointed. I like Anna Kendrick but have never been a huge fan. However, I was intrigued to learn more about her life. I wouldn’t say this book is ground-breaking or a must-read but it was entertaining. If you want a glimpse into what it’s like being a Hollywood actress with some funny and charming stories from her childhood and teenage years, I’m sure you’ll really enjoy this book. I also enjoyed her fun narration, which made it feel like listening to a friend.
The Life and Loves of a He Devil: A Memoir by Graham Norton 3/5
Summary: Revealing, moving, and hilarious, Graham Norton tells the story of his life through the things he loves in a brand new memoir. Graham tells his story from his Irish childhood to the present day, describing just what and who he loved—and sometimes lost—as a young boy, and his new loves and obsessions—big and small—as he’s grown older. From Dolly Parton and dogs to wine and Ireland, Graham tells of his life and loves with characteristic humor and outrageous candor.
I really enjoy watching The Graham Norton show and Graham’s sense of humour so I figured this would be a funny and interesting book, full of industry insights. It was funny in parts but not quite as funny as I wanted it to be. There were interesting stories but I found the chapters about his career and celebrity encounters the most interesting. However, these were few and far between. I liked listening to stories about his family and early life but I would have preferred more about his current chat show – which only really got one chapter dedicated to it. This book was entertaining but I think I would have struggled to get through it if I was reading it instead of listening to it.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert 4/5
Summary: Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now, this beloved author shares her wisdom and unique understanding of creativity, shattering the perceptions of mystery and suffering that surround the process – and showing us all just how easy it can be.
By sharing stories from her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people that have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear.
Whether you long to write a book, create art, cope with challenges at work, embark on a long-held dream, or simply to make your everyday life more vivid and rewarding, Big Magic will take you on a journey of exploration filled with wonder and unexpected joys.
I was given this book as a Christmas present and had been putting off reading it since. I find it difficult to read books that others have chosen for me, instead of ones that I’ve picked out for myself. It’s like when someone tells you about a TV show that you must see, and it makes you never want to watch it out of protest. A few years ago I would have just put this book on the shelf for it to collect dust. But since rediscovering my love for reading, I couldn’t do that to a poor book and I’m glad I didn’t.
While I wasn’t excited to read this book like I was with The Flat Share, I was definitely intrigued. Elizabeth provides a really interesting and game-changing approach to creativity that I found inspiring and motivating. It reminded me of the whole point of being creative — to enjoy the magic and joy of it, rather than focusing on turning it into a success. She encourages you to ignore the worrying thoughts saying ‘what if this isn’t successful?’ and instead say, ‘so what? Let’s enjoy it anyway shall we?’ which is so refreshing. If you’re struggling to find your creative mojo I would definitely recommend this book.