What I’ve been reading, the September/October edition…

As we seem to be speeding through November, I get the feeling it’s about time I did one of those ‘what I’ve been reading posts’. Time to look at my list in my notebook and see what the last two months has held. Weirdly this is the penultimate one of these I shall write this year. I’m looking forward to seeing how many books I will have read over these last 12 months. Mentally I’m already compiling a list as part of my end of the year blog posts. But, until then. Here we go. What I read in the months of September and October:

The Wonder- Emma Donoghue

I’m straining to remember this one. Ah yes, A girl who hasn’t eaten for months, a suspicious nurse and journalist along with the more horrible aspects of the Catholic Church. Not as good as ‘Room’ but a fairly gripping page turner.

The Missing Wife- Shelia O’Flanagan

The, ‘why do I buy cheap books for my kindle that annoy me?’, book of the last two months. Don’t bother. It’s another bad relationship escapism kind of thing. It wasn’t even that gripping and once more I curse the completer finisher in me.

Walking Home- Simon Armitage.

A beautiful book about walking the Pennine Way. I confess I skimmed some of the chapters but loved the majority of this walking tale. And I got insanely jealous of him. Must stop reading walking books.

Those who Wait- Tanya Marlow.

I’ve waxed lyrical about this one here. It’s a beautiful book. You must buy it for you and your friends this advent. It’s exactly the book I need in this mental period of waiting we are in right now and it allowed hope of a God who loves me creep into my thinking again. (in fact I’ve just ordered a hard copy for myself as I’ve typed this. It’s that good).

The Museum of You- Carys Bray

Finally a novel I can wholeheartedly recommend. I loved the main character in this book – a 12 year old girl trying to piece together information about her mother from items thrown in a room in the house she lives in with her Dad. It’s a lovely bittersweet read that I couldn’t put down.

Disobedience – Naomi Alderman

Really interesting portrayal of hardcore Orthodox Jewish life, rebellion away from that and within that. Fascinating characters and a non obvious ending. I liked it.

The Hate yoU Give- Angie Thomas

Written from the point of view of a teenage African American girl who sees her friend get shot by a white policeman for no good reason. Deals with the fall out of that event, family relationships, complicated issues with her white boyfriend and school away from the neighbourhood she lives in. Had me in tears on many occasions. Wonderfully written and hideous in the truth it contains. A hard read but a powerful one. You should read it. Now. (also made me want to go back and watch the whole of The Wire again).

Robert Webb- How not to be a Boy

All men should read this, all women should read this and then they should talk to each other about the issues he raises in the book. It’s a fascinating reflection on ‘manhood’ and ‘masculinity’, raising the question of whether we even really need terms like those anyway. It’s an interesting read from the angle of whether anything really defines us as men and women aside from our genitals, or whether we are people first before we have gender. I loved reading his reflections and there is much to still muse on and discuss. It’s particularly good if you’ve read any of the articles that seem to come up on my Facebook feed about the emotional labour women do each day and how little of that seems to be shared with men. He’s very honest about not being a 50:50 husband yet but also honest about his desire to get there and his responsibility in that. I really enjoyed reading it from that perspective. Mostly though I loved reading it because it stirred the big memory pot in my head from school and university days. I grew up at a similar time, in a similar country, went to a similar sounding school and a pretty similar university. It was all so familiar and as I was reading it I had to deal with flashbacks from those days. Mostly that memory pot is stored far away from any day to day thoughts, as it wasn’t a wholly happy time for me. But. It was good to revisit it again briefly, before shutting the lid tight and pushing it back in the past where it truly belongs.   

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