In 2017, I had set myself the goal of reading a book each month of the new year and much to my surprise, I actually did it! Reading has always been something that I’ve enjoyed, ever since a desperate longing to be Matilda from a young age so it’s been wonderful to focus more of my time on that this year.
Here are the books I’ve read and my thoughts about them:
How to be a Boy – Robert Webb
I absolutely adore Robert Webb and everything he has ever done, so it’s safe to say I was somewhat bias whilst reading this book. I would urge anybody to read this. It’s a fantastic commentary on masculinity in modern society, done in such a modest and humorous way.
Note: there is no word of David Mitchell or Peep Show until you’re about two thirds in.
The Beach – Alex Garland
I really enjoyed this book, it was totally different to what I’d usually choose and I did not regret it one bit. Although, one sad thing was reading about this amazing paradise, wrapped in two blankets in England during winter.
Note: Yes, I did imagine Leonardo in my head because of the film (and the film is a very good depiction for the most part).
Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborough
I received this book as a birthday gift and had read it in around 4 days. It’s incredibly intense and leaves you questioning EVERYTHING. This was the first crime thriller that I’d read in years so it was great to explore this genre again. Not sure I was too happy with the plot twist at the end, but as you’ll see when reading on, this is a common theme for me and crime novels.
Note: As I shut this book, the day before my birthday my best pal walked through the door as part of my birthday surprise, therefore I didn’t have much time to process it because happiness.
Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
I’d mistakenly watched the film adaption before reading this, which is always a silly idea. Regardless, I think the book goes into much more depth and answers questions I found myself yelling at the screen. Really enjoyed this book but I did find that I was still left with strong feelings of ‘could this actually happen? Probs not’ (Yes I know it’s fiction, I get too involved OK)
Note: Too much crime fiction will convince you that your partner is going to cheat, kidnap or murder you.
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
Once again, I was very late to this party but appreciated being there all the same. Gone Girl is fantastic, I was completely hooked and refused to speak to anybody whilst reading it. I’m not the biggest fan of the ending however I appreciate it’s impact. But overall, really really good book.
Note: Every single character in this book annoyed me at some point.
How Not to be Loved – Holly Bourne
I’ve previously read books in Holly Bourne’s series and thought they were amazing and really insightful for young feminists, so I was excited to read this. Although it was a sweet and heartwarming read: I feel as though the go-girl feminism that featured in ‘What’s a Girl Gotta Do?’ was missing. It is worth noting that the book I had previously read focused solely on feminism so this is understandable.
Note: if you don’t read teen fiction then what are you doing? It’s wholesome and fantastic.
Yes Please – Amy Poehler
I didn’t know very much about Amy Poehler before reading this book, truthfully, I’m a die-hard Tina Fey fan so I’ve always focused my attention on her. It was whilst reading this book that I realised that I had wasted many years that could have been Amy-filled. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to rewatch Parks and Recreation, Mean Girls and Blades of Glory ten times.
Note: Instantly wanted to work in television after reading this.
1984 – George Orwell
I’d told myself when starting this challenge that I’d only read books that I’d never read before, and did really well up until this point! I wholeheartedly blame HMV for this as they had absolutely nothing else that I wanted to read, so yes – I did go for 1984 and have zero regrets.
Note: I could write pages about this book but I think the best thing to do would just be suggesting that you read it yourselves!
Eleanor Oliphant is Doing Just Fine – Gail Honeyman
I’d waited so long to take this book out of the library and after months, I gave up and bought it. This was around the time of that glorious heatwave so I devoured it in a number of days on the beach. It was absolute bliss, this book is (somewhat) lighthearted, funny and comes with a great twist. Can definitely understand why it was so popular!
Note: Will make you question what you’re doing with your life.
Not That Kind of Girl – Lena Dunham
The next book of July was Not That Kind of Girl and I had mixed reviews. I think if I’d read this 4 years ago, I would have worshipped it – however there were a few problematic comments and phrases throughout that made me second guess this.
Note: Reading this book will mean that you re-watch Girls.
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Attwood
A friend of mine had been telling me to read this for months, maybe even years and I never got round to it (Sorry Cat!) Regretting that decision now as this was a fantastic read. The likeness to our society and our potential future was chilling and hopefully farfetched!
Note: I still haven’t watched the TV series so I’m excited to relive it through this.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling
This was my second book that I’d already read. I don’t need to speak about Harry Potter here – apart from mentioning that this is the second best book in the series, after Half Blood Prince of course.
Note: If you thought I could go a year without reading Harry Potter then you don’t know me at all.
Fan Girl – Rainbow Rowell
This is another re-read but I’m not even slightly unhappy about it because Rainbow Rowell is my absolute fav. In September I was particularly busy and stressed so I spent all of my free time in the bath reading Fan Girl and it was fantastic.
Note: If you read this book and enjoyed it, absolutely read Eleanor and Park it’s my favourite.
How to Stop Time – Matt Haig
I found it tricky to find books that I actually wanted to read at this stage in the year, so I went with Matt Haig as I’ve read The Humans and really enjoyed it. How to Stop Time was very similar and just as brilliant.
Note: I also found the historical elements really interesting and it made me wish I’d paid more attention in school.
How To Be Famous – Caitlin Moran
This book made me want to drop everything immediately, move to London and pursue a career in journalism.
Note: Definitely questioned how uncool I am throughout this whole novel.
Open Your Eyes – Paula Daly
I read this in around six bus journeys. It’s the first time since Eleanor Oliphant in July that I truly haven’t been able to put the book down. I think this was due mainly to the constant suspense throughout.
He Said, She Said – Erin Kelly
I found He Said, She Said quite difficult to get into at first but immediately became hooked after about two chapters. I’d absolutely recommend this book, especially if you’re into crime thrillers. Bonus points are also awarded for elements of travel in different countries and cool chapter titles 🤘
Note: Both of these books will make you super paranoid of a variety of crimes, none of which I will mention because spoilers.
Finally, December rolled around and I couldn’t believe I’d actually completed this resolution. Very proud of myself.
Bridget Jones’ Baby – Helen Fielding
I can’t really explain why, but I’m the biggest Bridget Jones fan that has ever lived. For this reason, I was really against the idea of reading this book as I thought it’d be a travesty after watching the film. However, whilst waiting for my last book of the year to arrive, I thought I’d give it a go. I’m not in a rush to pick it up again or recommend it to a friend, but it was pleasant. Easy to read and nice to visit an old pal again.
Note: It also answers some of the questions that I had after watching the third film so that was good I guess.
Everything I know about love – Dolly Alderton
I ended this year with a book that I’ve been meaning to read since May, I haven’t *actually* finished it yet, so I thought about missing it out of this post. But I’m enjoying it so much that it deserves a shout out.
You know that feeling when you pick up a book and reading it feels like somebody has climbed into your brain and put perfectly into words how you feel about everything? Yep, that. I’m convinced that I’ll start from the beginning once finishing it because it is that good. Although, with that being said I’m absolutely the target market for this book so you may not enjoy it as much!
Note: You must call all of your gal pals and tell them how much they mean to you immediately.
So there we have it! It’s been a really great year for reading and I’m excited that I’ve been able to take time to myself and enjoy this again. The act of reading a good book is pretty much the only self-care I’ve ever known so it’s lovely that I’m prioritising this again.
I will absolutely be doing this again in 2019 so leave me book recommendations! Also, if you’ve read any of the books mentioned above, let me know so we can geek out over them.