Books I’ve read May-September 2021

Apparently it takes a while to create a new website, so until we do that I’ll be posting here as normal… It’s time for another round up of books I’ve read in the last few months. There are some treats here. Enjoy!

The Forgiveness Project- Marina Cantacuzino

A collection of stories where forgiveness has played a crucial role in lives, either as the one forgiving or the recipient. A book utterly needed in our age, a book which explores the complexity of forgiveness, which highlights the care to be taken but also the astounding changes forgiveness can bring internally and externally. One to ponder on, meditate on and let your brain wrap around the depth and power of forgiveness. 

Grown Ups- Marian Keyes

I really enjoyed this sprawling trawl through a Irish family, the interconnection of their lives, the choices they make and the humanness of them all. A pretty fun read. 

How to train a Dragon- Cressida Cowell

I read the whole series to Son2 over about 2 months. I started loving them about 5 books in when she really got into her writing groove. The first few books are a bit similar and fairly irritating in the constant use of fat as a descriptor, and don’t even get me started on ‘Big Boobied Bertha…’ Thankfully Cressida seems to figure out this is pretty irritating and drops most of the annoying content and settles into a fantastic quest of love, sacrifice, friendship and what it really means to be a hero. 

The Vanishing Half- Brit Bennett

Really interesting book about twins from a town inhabited by light skinned African Americans. They both leave town together but part ways when one of them sees she can pass as white and heads off to live life as a white woman. It’s a fascinating exploration of race, of identity and what happens when the truth comes out to the next generation. Really recommend. 

The Three of us- Ruth Jones

I can’t remember much about this, other than it’s a book that follows three friends over their lives, through the things that undo them and challenge their friendship. Pretty good easy read. 

On Looking- Alexandra Horowitz 

Husbandface bought this for me a year or so ago on my birthday and I’ve only just got around to reading it. It’s a really interesting book documenting walks the author takes with various people in her local area, each of them help her see the familiar in a totally different way and change the way she thinks when walking and looking at the world around her. I remember wanting to look deeper as I walked as a result of reading this. 

Wild- Kristin Hannah

This beautiful novel about the connection between a lost girl found after years living in the woods and the psychiatrist who helps her had me in many tears. A lovely story of hope in the darkest of circumstances. 

The Preaching Life- Barbara Brown Taylor

A collection of essays and sermons from Barbara, really fun to read. I loved her gently profound wisdom. 

Days of Wonder- Keith Stuart

A novel about a girl and her father and their relationship as she lives with a fairly debilitating illness and he learns how to give her independence and trust her in the midst of that. Pretty good. 

The Anthropocene Reviewed – John Green

This is my must read book of the year, I adore John Green and the youtube channel he runs with his brother Hank. They are committed to decreasing world suck and curate a community dedicated to doing that amongst celebrating nerds and the difference we can make to the world. I love this mans writings and his thoughts, I love his beautiful reflections on life, I love his hope, I love that I looked at the world in a different way after reading this book. I loved that I cried through many of these essays. I love that he wrote essays reviewing things on a 5 star rating, from Diet Dr Pepper to the song You’ll Never Walk Alone and a whole load of other things in-between. Really you must buy this book and enjoy the beautiful wonder for yourself. I give it 5 stars.

Home Stretch- Graham Norton

A pretty good novel about an accident shaping the life of a man and his family over the course of his life. I really liked this.

Nothing But Blue Sky – Kathleen MacMahon

A beautifully written book about a man reflecting on life after the death of his wife. Contains a whole load of ponderings on what it is to be human and to love. Wonderfully written as well. 

The Truants- Kate Weinberg

Billed as similar to The Secret History this novel follows a student caught in the spell of a tutor at her university and the compelling pull to go against the norms and accepted routes of the social conventions around them. Pretty good but not quite as good as The Secret History… 

Thin Places- Kerri ni Dochartaigh

A memoir of Kerri’s life from the trauma of growing up in Derry/Daire/Londonderry to her working out how to live with that trauma, with a particular emphasis on how nature has put her back together. A beautiful read and a really important read in adding to the understanding of what it is to grow up in the divided world of Northern Ireland. 

Let Your Life Speak- Parker Palmer

I adored this short book reflecting on vocation and living out of who we are. I loved the questions he explores and the sense of freedom and love that comes out of the inner journey. Often the inner journey can be dismissed as distracting us from love, rather than seeing it as the essential path to being able to love each other freely. The question posed which stayed with me from the book was ‘Whose are you?’. It’s a question that turns over and over in my mind. Whose am I and am I living out of that reality? Really worth a read. 

The Dutch House- Ann Patchett

A beautiful novel about a brother and sister and the events surrounding the house they grew up in. One of those really satisfying reads, following them over the course of their lives and seeing how they were shaped by the events of the past. 

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