It was a decent reading month. I read more fiction than non-fiction which is a little odd for me, but I was good with it. I finished six books, four of which were fiction, two memoirs. This year I’ve been reminded how much I enjoy memoirs and anticipate I’ll start adding more of them to the mix.
Here’s a breakdown of the books I’ve been reading.
Goodbye, Vitamin was cute, quirky and a fun little read. I loved its tone.
On Family Feud, one of the categories is “Advantages of artificial trees over real trees.” One of the popular reasons is “no smell.” More and more, I get this feeling I don’t know a thing.
Coles Notes: Rachel agrees to return home to help care for her ailing father. Throughout the story, she gets through a breakup, connects further with her whole family and learns a thing or two about who she is and the life she values. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This was a funny read for me. When I checked it out on Goodreads, more friends had read Me Before You than I think any other book I’d seen and they rated it, on average, *more than* 4.5 stars out of five, yet, nobody had recommended it to me until recently. I wondered why. I quickly discovered that it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. (Funny, 14000 is the actual number of times a cup of tea is mentioned in this story.)
I wasn’t convinced it was for me about 100 pages in, but I just couldn’t shake the reviews – something good had to be coming.
At 210 pages, I came across this and though to myself, “oh, brother”:
“If he has love, he will feel he can go on. Without it, I would have sunk many times over.”
That phrase echoed in my head long after I had left the library.
I stayed the course and finished all 369 pages (which felt like way too many) without ever getting to the attraction. Was the story compelling? Sure. The topics broached were complex and I appreciated the way they were tackled. The characters were okay, but never particularly likeable. Did I shed a few tears? Yep. But all in all, I couldn’t give it more than 3.5 stars. Don’t hate.
The most compelling thing about this book, to me, was the precision with which Paula Hawkins wrote about the protagonist’s drinking and, particularly, her blackouts. Rachel’s anguish the mornings after was shared perfectly with the reader and I found myself sick to my stomach in some parts where she was desperate to remember what had happened.
The Girl in the Train is truly a thriller with twists and turns and a somewhat unexpected outcome. I’d recommend it for an easy, but somewhat heavy, read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The White Umbrella was a book I picked up from a library display on a whim and one that was a truly whimsical story. Our protagonist sees a donkey in the streets of Peshawar, Pakistan and resolves to walk her back to his home in England. What ensues is an adorable story of adventure. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Now, here’s what I want to warn you about setting a goal. The bigger the dream, the more likely people will tell you not to try. There are three types of people who will try to hold you back. There’s the basic motherfuckers who don’t want to see you succeed – that’s one group.
I knew I was going to like her after that. And, in case you are wondering, the other two types of people are people who don’t want to see you get hurt and people who are scared to in basically a misery loves company kind of way.
So, yes, I liked her, but not enough to live this book. As a celebrity memoir, I feel like it’d have been helpful for me to be more familiar with who Vivica A. Fox is and her body of work. That said, I do want to know more now that I’ve finished the book so that shows I didn’t hate it. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
I had wanted to read Blackout for a while after hearing someone on a podcast mention it. Through my own relationship with alcohol, my decision to unintentionally give it up for good and through the work I see Kevin do, I’ve become fascinated with how we, as a society, approach alcohol. I’m sensitive to messages that normalize its abuse and I generally avoid it whenever possible. This isn’t because I believe it shouldn’t exist or that people shouldn’t be free to use it as they wish, but it speaks to my own discomfort around it.
Sarah Hepola shares her history with alcohol from a young age up until the time she got sober in her mid-thirties. This first hand memoir walks a reader through what it’s like to live a functional life while having a dysfunctional relationship with this drug.
It reminded me that we all have struggles we’re experiencing whether we wear them on our surface or they lurk inside. I believe that the overuse of alcohol is almost always related to something deeper.
And because I was holed up on my sad little island, it did not occur to me that she might be on a sad little island, too. Or that the entire world was full of people on sad little islands: people struggling with their children, people struggling just to have children, people desperate to get married, people desperate to get divorced.
In summary, Hepola wrote,
When I cut out alcohol, my life got better. When I cut out alcohol, my spirit came back. An evolved life requires balance. Sometimes you have to cut out on thing to find balance everywhere else.
For anyone with an interest in addiction or anyone who contemplates the industry of alcohol, this would be a great read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️