Hello! Welcome to a brand new year. It is February now, which usually means most people are still powering through with their New Year's resolutions - holding out hope that this year will be the year that it happens.
Whatever your New Year's resolutions may be I hope that you're kicking goals because as we are all aware - you'll probably be back where you started by June, ready to start planning for next year.
One of the most common New Year's resolutions I hear about is to read more.
As someone who is a self-proclaimed 'avid' reader I always struggle to understand this one. What do you mean you've only read a handful of books in the past few years? What do you do on public transport everyday to and from work or late at night before bed? I say this while still fully understanding people have other hobbies.
I digress, it is a very common goal for people starting a new year to focus on reading more. And I understand, reading is good for you! It makes you feel good and reading for pleasure can often be a truly enjoyable endeavor. I also understand that for some people reading can be a pain, it feels like you're re-living the trauma of Year 10 English and I get it. But it doesn't have to be like that!
There are lots of incredible books circulating around the globe everyday. All you have to do is pick one.
So - four weeks or so into the year I thought I'd share the books I've read throughout January as a bit of inspiration for those looking for the drive to start reading.
This month I've read the following (see picture below for their pretty uncreased spines):
'me before you' - Jojo Moyes
'The Dry' - Jane Harper
'The Survivors' - Jane Harper
'Greenlights' - Matthew McConaughey
Now - you might be thinking four is a lot but It's really a comfortable amount for me. As someone who get's public transport to and from work everyday it's an easy option for me to keep myself distracted while I travel.
I'm also an exceptionally fast reader so some of these novels are just easy to speed through. Don't feel like you need to keep up with my pace!
First, I will begin by ranking them - this is truly an arbitrary task as they are almost entirely separate genre's but it's a little entertaining. Then I will give a short review of each and my recommendation as to who might enjoy it. My goal is that by the end of this post there will be one book in these four that will interest you enough to want to read it and thus spur your "read more" 2021 ambition!
To begin - my rankings:
4 - 'The survivors' - Jane Harper (not her best, slow burn)
3 - 'Greenlights' - Matthew McConaughey (legitimately made me laugh out loud!)
2 - 'me before you' - JoJo Moyes (many tears - this is not a feel good book!!)
1 - 'The Dry' - Jane Harper (a finger kissing 'muah' of a novel)
1 - 'The Survivors' - Jane Harper
Although this novel ranked 4th out of four for my monthly reading it was far from a crappy book.
Set in Tasmania, this is your classic murder thriller and another lovely book from Jane Harper. Specialising in thrillers that link two seemingly unrelated crime (often years apart) this novel achieves another clever twist.
There is an engaging 'who done it' plot line and the killer is quite a pleasant surprise as the storytelling leads you to suspect at least three others for the murder before considering the actual murderer which is always a plus in murder thrillers.
The only issue I had with this book was that it was a little longer than I think it needed to be. There is a slow burn and the novel focuses heavily on seemingly implicating other characters for the murder instead of unwrapping the crime itself and the motivations behind it. There were a little too many characters for the style of novel and I believe that it would have done better to cut out a few sideline characters to focus instead more intricately with the main characters.
Overall, a very classic beach side/airport read: 6/10
2 - 'Greenlights' - Matthew McConaughey
The newest book in this list is the memoir by Matthew McConaughey (you know - alright, alright, alright).
As a fan of memoir's and biographies myself I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Matthew has a very poetic approach to his writing filled with similes, metaphors and story telling that engages the reader and helps transport them into his memories and visualise the scenes as they play out.
I learnt a lot about his life and found myself feeling nostalgic, sad, happy and inspired at different stages while reading. I also laughed out loud (literally!) at a number of things he said which is a rarity when I read.
The only issue I had was his particular style of writing and its unique "flair" but once I got my head around the rest of the novel flowed easily.
Overall, a particularly pleasant read: 8/10
3 - 'me before you' - JoJo Moyes
I picked up this book around Christmas from my aunt after she smashed it out in a couple of days and recommended I give it a read. I'd heard of the film and had mixed feelings about the read ahead of me. I'm not personally much of a fan of romance novels as I feel they often lack a tangible plot line and feel very wishy-washy *please don't take this offensively if you love romance novels!
I was, however, very surprised with how much I enjoyed this novel.
The storyline is super engaging and you can't help but love and relate to the characters. My aunt did not however prepare me for the ending! So many emotions! I cried, much to my boyfriend's amusement as he stroked my back and told me it was just a story.
Overall, a very easy read, with a satisfactory conclusion: 9/10
4 - 'The Dry' - Jane Harper
Wow. What can I say. This book was brilliant! After heading to the movies the other week to watch a different film I saw the ads for the movie adaptation for this book. After the movies we headed to Dymocks to browse various books and I found the novel! Intrigued, I used my Christmas gift card to buy the novel with medium expectations. I've read 'Force of Nature' by Jane Harper and found myself a relatively big fan so I was excited to begin reading.
My excitement was well deserved! Jane Harper's style of writing is so engaging. With the perfect number and type of characters I was instantly hooked. A classic murder thriller this followed a unique flow and combined a story form 20 years ago with the modern day murder seamlessly. The end was surprising but fit perfectly and on re-read I'm sure the signs would be more than evident.
I can't wait to see the film!
Overall, a wonderful engaging novel: 10/10
As someone who is a fan of murder mysteries, thrillers, memoirs, biographies and really any novel with a good plot, this months reads were all pretty great.
No complaints from me!
Let me know if you decide to read one of the above novels and what you thought of it - I love talking about books and I'd be more than happy to debate my reviews.
Onto next month.
I've just picked up 'nine perfect strangers' by Liane Moriarty which my late great aunt described as "really weird - but you might like it" which basically sums up my taste in books. Only high expectations for this one!
Till next time,