Reading and New Motherhood

Hey, internet! Long time no post.

In January I had a baby. It’s been an intense, amazing, overwhelming nearly-6 months since then. I’m not able to commit to blogging regularly again, but I do want to set down some reflections on the first six months of having a baby and how its changed my reading life. If nothing else, I want to remember it myself!Read More »

Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019…

This post was delayed by the arrival of my baby in the first week of January – I had it drafted, but this is the first time I’ve been back on my laptop! I have no idea how much I’ll be blogging in the coming weeks and months, because my new son is obviously my priority.

Happy 2019 all, and I’ll be back when I’m back…

56/60 books

And just like that, the year’s gone, and a whole new one to look forward to.Read More »

The Illumination of Ursula Flight, Anna-Marie Crowhurst

I think most readers have at some point picked up a book without really knowing much about it – something about the title or the cover or the author just calls out to you and in you go. This was one of those. I’d been drawn to it for a while, for lots of reasons, but there came a moment where I just decided it was time. I ordered the book and started reading almost as soon as it arrived on my doorstep, falling happily into the story.

This is the story of Ursula Flight. Born under a comet shortly before Charles II’s Restoration, as she grows up her love for reading, writing and learning is fostered by her father. After discovering the idea of the theatre, of actresses and plays, she yearns for the stage.

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Kingdom of Ash, Sarah J Maas

I don’t need to reiterate how excited I was for this book. The Throne of Glass series has been a favourite comfort-read of mine over the past few years since I first picked them up. They’re a fun, exciting adventure of a story, filled with brilliant characters and funny moments. The final book in the series had a lot to live up to. Sarah J Maas hasn’t let me down yet, and this wasn’t the book to do so. I was gripped from the beginning, and I thoroughly enjoyed the rollercoaster ride.

This review is spoiler free.

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Unnatural Causes, Richard Shepherd

Why am I so interested in memoirs by pathologists? I have no idea, but it’s a very specific genre which I’ve found I really love over the last year or so. When I started seeing promotion for this book by ‘Britain’s Top Forensic Pathologist’, I jumped right in.

Dr Richard Shepherd has been working as a forensic pathologist since the 1980s, when he joined the forensic department at Guy’s Hospital. In his career he has been involved in many high-profile cases – murders and disasters which dominated newspapers. He estimates that over his career, he has performed 23,000 autopsies.

Shepherd, RichardRead More »

A Place for Us, Fatima Farheen Mirza

Of the many things I love in a novel, pretty high up on that list is families. I find families fascinating – the dynamics of a group of people who share both genetics and experiences, who live in each other’s pockets for years, the friction that can come from seeing features of yourself in the people beside you. There are lots of subjects touched on in Fatima Farheen Mirza’s debut novel, but primarily it is about a family – and I absolutely adored it.

A Place for Us opens with Hadia’s wedding. Her Indian-American Muslim family are all there, including her younger brother Amar after three years of estrangement. From this moment of tentative, temporary reconciliation, the story unfolds backwards across the years of Hadia, Amar and their sister Huda’s growing up, pulling at the strings of attachment between the siblings and their parents, Layla and Rafiq. It explores the tensions of being a second generation immigrant, of being Muslim in America, of trying to reconcile cultures. It seeks to understand what can hold people together, across distance and disagreement. Across the years from Rafiq and Layla’s own marriage to Hadia’s wedding, it slowly teases out the causes of the rift between Amar and his family, highlighting so many small moments and asking us to consider what their impact might have been.

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October 2018

47/60 books

Can anyone tell me precisely where October went? Because it arrived and disappeared in such a flash that I’m feeling a little like the rug has been pulled from under me trying to keep up with the passing months. I won’t call it a slump, but my reading was much slower this month, perhaps just because I’ve been busier – my weekends are full up trying to get in lots of friends and family time. But as the nights draw in and I can finally wear jumpers every day again, it is one of my favourite times of the year for curling up with a book – so despite the fact I didn’t get through very many this month, I really enjoyed what I did read. Honestly, that’s more important to me than meeting my reading goal at the moment. I also read a book which will be strongly competing for my favourite of the year, which I’ve been thinking about ever since…

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Ongoingness: The End of a Diary by Sarah Manguso

I knew nothing about this book before it waved at me from a bookshop shelf, saying hello, take me home. As they often do. And so I did, and within a week I read it, and I put it down a little bit in love.

This book is very, very short – fewer than 100 pages, and not every page is filled with text. In fact many hold just a paragraph or two. Its brevity is part of its power, as Manguso looks back at twenty-five years of diary-writing and the shift in her relationship to recording her own life that came when she became pregnant and had a child. The sentence in the blurb which convinced me when I picked it up was: ‘it is a haunting account of mortality and impermanence.’ I am fascinated by the subject of mortality, and this book comes at it from a different angle than any other I’ve read.

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To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han

Like the rest of Twitter, I watched and loved the Netflix adaptation of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before this summer. It’s a long time since I enjoyed a new romcom so much, or a teen film so much – it was sweet, heartfelt and funny in just the right balance. So of course I immediately decided to read the book it was adapted from, both to assess how close it had remained to the original and to have the chance of continuing the story. (Side note: I really, really hope that Netflix will also adapt P.S. I Still Love You and Always and Forever, Lara Jean.)

So. For the unfamiliar: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a teen romance story which follows Lara Jean Song Covey. Lara Jean has had five major crushes in her life. She’s written each of these boys a letter, putting her feelings on paper and giving herself a bit of catharsis; she keeps the letters in a special box, never intending to send them. Until one day, she discovers that the letters are out: they’ve been posted out to the boys they address, and her secrets – some of them from years ago – are now known.

to all the boysRead More »