Well, it has been a busy, busy summer!
I’ve been on holiday to Montboyer, started a fantastic new job and just got back from a work trip to Monaco.
Although life has felt like a bit of a whirlwind recently, I have been able to get stuck into a few books along the way.
Here are my favourites so far this year…
The Invention of Wings
Sue Monk Kidd
The Invention of Wings is a very powerful book told from the perspectives of two girls – Sarah and Handful.
Sarah is the daughter of a wealthy slave owner and is given Handful, a slave girl, as a gift for her eleventh birthday.
Feeling resentful of the way society has come to accept slavery and the treatment of black people as second class citizens, Sarah resolves to find a way out.
Alongside her narrative runs Handful’s story – that of a girl who was born into slavery but who is determined to escape, however difficult it may be.
This book is a wonderful – albeit, at times, harrowing – read and is a fascinating insight into the Deep South in the slavery era.
Conversations with Friends
I took the picture above in a pub in Dublin – the perfect place to be reading this book!
Conversations with Friends has had its fair share of rave reviews over recent months and it’s not hard to see why.
At first, I found the way it was written a bit difficult to get along with but once I was in, I was hooked.
The story primarily centres around Frances, a young student in Dublin and her friendship with Bobbi, her ex.
When they get involved with an older couple who live a lavish lifestyle, the connections between the four become more intense and come under close scrutiny.
Rooney has a fantastically frank way of storytelling through the character of Frances and it really keeps you reading until the last page.
The Falling Angels
My mother gave me this book to read as she loved it.
An autobiography of sorts, The Falling Angels is a recollection of Walsh’s youth, growing up in London with Irish parents.
Returning to Ireland to see his sick mother, Walsh reflects on the holidays he spent in his ancestral home which are sharply contrasted with the London upbringing he had.
Conjuring up images of Irish neighbours singing long into the night, escapades with his cousins as a teenager in Ireland and the inner conflict he felt at being part Irish-part English, The Falling Angels is a real treat to read.
The Enchanted April
Elizabeth von Armin
I have to say this was my absolute favourite read this summer.
A Penguin Classic published in 1922, The Enchanted April tells the story of four women who escape to a medieval castle in Italy for a holiday.
When the book opens, the four are strangers to each other – the only thing they have in common being that they’re all from London.
But over the course of the trip, they become closer despite the obvious differences between them.
Marriage troubles and social etiquette seem to be at the forefront of their minds but the book is really about the women discovering more about themselves when they’re separated from the constraints of their daily lives.
A perfect read.
The Hand that First Held Mine
I first read a Maggie O’Farrell book a good few years ago but I remember really enjoying it.
This is another that I nicked from my mother and I didn’t really know what to expect, having read little about the book beforehand.
I started reading it on a train in London – again, the perfect spot!
The Hand That First Held Mine intertwines two separate stories – that of Elina, a new mother in 2009, and Lexie, a young girl in the ’50s who leaves behind a life in the country for the bright lights of London.
At first, I couldn’t see how these two would be linked but as the story goes on, it all becomes a whole lot clearer.
I adored this book and almost inhaled it towards the end; the settings are brilliantly described and the character of Lexie was definitely my favourite thing about the whole book – what a babe.
This would make a perfect autumn read but be prepared for a little bit of heartbreak and a lot of sudden gasps as the plot unfolds.
The Health Delusion
Glen Matten and Aiden Goggins
And finally, a little bit of non fiction.
The Health Delusion is a really interesting read, stripping back the myths you’ve probably heard for years and giving you straightforward facts to base your health decisions on.
What I liked about this book was that it wasn’t preaching to me – it was simply giving me a different view on the way we treat our bodies and the recommendations given to us by the government.
With summaries at the end of each chapter, it was easy to get through and I took a lot in, even making a few notes along the way.
If you’re at all interested in health, it’s well worth a read.
What are you reading?