Best of... Books

When you become the ‘go-to’ person in the office for book recommendations, you know you have made it! I am very content and happy with that status! Though the official office Book Club may have got off to a rocky start (blame Three Women and the dodgy creme egg scene), the unofficial book club has been called into effect. This essentially requires any one person to ask ‘What book should I take on holiday with me?’ and I’m off. Better yet, I thought I should pen a post about the recent books I have loved. Somehow, I managed to read 57 books last year alone and I realise how excessive that sounds. That is quite an achievement for the person who didn’t much like reading until their early twenties* (*the exception being Harry Potter. Obvs.) So, to curate a shortlist of my favourite 2019 reads is no easy feat so when I say these books are the “best of”, that roughly translates to GET YOURSELF TO WATERSTONES PRONTO!

Top 3 Audiobooks 

Michelle Obama: Becoming

What better way to start the year (or month or week as your case may be) than reading this incredible memoir from a remarkable woman. I could literally insert ALL the empowering and wise quotes here but you really should read them for yourself. I had no idea of Michelle’s upbringing and how she came to meet Barrack, not to mention their journey to parenthood, the White House and beyond. This is definitely a book I will re-read again and again.

“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.” - Michelle Obama | Becoming

Maisie Hill: Period Power 

I literally tell ALL my girlfriends about this book and the ‘four seasons’ approach to your monthly cycle has already spread around the office. An “Are you feeling okay, hun?” over the desk has been answered with an “Yeah, I’m just in Autumn” and you know  what they mean! I feel so passionately about this book that it should be on the National Curriculum (but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is anything like those Biology lessons from school.) Maisie Hill, a women’s health specialist, has packed this book with answers. Answers to questions such as ‘Why is my period so light/short/long/heavy? Why are they so frequent/regular/rare? Why have they stopped all together?’ and so much more. This book is fundamentally about understanding what is happening in your body and “improving hormonal and menstrual health”. It is crazy how little of this information about MY body I knew! Go forth and get to know your cycle.

“It is not acceptable that menstrual cycles are dismissed because they don’t apply to half of the population. People with wombs are not a niche.” Maisie Hill | Period Power

Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey: She Said

When the Harvey Weinstein story broke, it was shocking, disturbing and the ripples throughout Hollywood became giant waves of the #MeToo movement. This book chronicles the origins of the claims, the victims who were brave enough to tell their story, and how it came to hit the headlines, written by the two female journalists at the New York Times.

“Jodi cut to the point: The United States had a system for muting sexual harassment claims, which often enabled the harassers instead of stopping them. Women routinely signed away the right to talk about their own experiences. Harassers often continued onward, finding fresh ground on which to commit the same offenses.”  - Jodi Kantor | She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement

Top 3 Kindle Books

Sarah Haywood: The Cactus 

For all the fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine this is a book for you and what a debut from Sarah Haywood it is! The Cactus follows Susan Green, a well-ordered, logical woman of her routine when her well-ordered life is suddenly thrown out of order with a surprise pregnancy and loss of her mother. It’s in essence a love story but with a complex, intriguing and feminist protagonist.

“But these days fairy-tale endings come in all shapes and sizes. It’s Oka y for the princess to end up with a prince, it’s okay for her to end up with a footman, and it’s okay for her to end up on her own. It’s okay for her to end up with another princess, or with six cats, or to decide she wants to be a prince. None of those make her any more of less a feminist. It’s about finding out who you are and what you want, and then being true to it.” - Sarah Haywood | The Cactus

Josie Silver: One Day in December

This book can literally be read one day in December. I was OBSESSED with this love story from the moment I started it. Following a ‘love at first sight’ experience that she can’t forget, the man from the bus stop turns up as her best friend’s boyfriend. With a similar vibe to One Day, this really is an incredible, easy-reading, addictive story.

“If anyone ever asks if I've ever fallen in love at first sight, I shall say yes. For one glorious moment on the 21st of December 2006.” - Josie Silver | One Day in December

Paige Toon: If You Could Go Anywhere

This is Paige’s latest book but if you’re new to this author, you can honestly pick up any one of her books! I've never known an author who can tell a love story quite like Paige Toon! This story follows Angie, 29, who has never left the small Australian mining town she grew up in with her grandmother. After a few shocking revelations, Angie packs her bags for Italy in the search of the father she never knew and, of course, there is a love story that will captivate you along the way!

“Fireworks are exciting to begin with, but they get a bit tired after a while and then all you're left with are charred remains. There is something to be said for a slow burn that keeps you warm as the years go by.” - Paige Toon, If You Could Go Anywhere

Top 3 Paperback Books

Taylor Jenkin Reid: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Having listened to Daisy Jones and the Six on Audible and LOVED IT, I was hoping my second read by the same author wouldn’t disappoint… and it certainly didn’t! I literally inhaled this book whilst by the pool in Marrakech. It was incredible and quite different to the kind of story I had judged it to be by its title. I felt absolutely invested in the character of Evelyn and utterly emotionally involved in the telling of her life story. PLEASE READ!

“People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is 'you're safe with me'- that's intimacy.” - Taylor Jenkins Reid | The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Beth O’Leary: The Flatshare

A serious MUST-READ! The relationship that evokes from the two main characters - Tiffy and Leon - have a 12 hour rent pattern on a bedroom (and a bed); one occupies by day, while the other by night. What evolves is a friendship between these two people as they get to know each other through fragments of their lives left in the room and shared via notes. It is an intoxicating story which had me wanting to cancel plans and read under the dinner table.  

"I wake with a jolt that sends a shock of pain through my ankle. Crying out, I look around me. Floral wallpaper. Am I at home? Who's that man in the chair by the door, reading .... "Twilight?" Leon blinks at me, putting the book down in his lap. 'You went from unconscious to judgemental very quickly there." - Beth O'Leary | The Flatshare

Sally Rooney: Conversations with Friends

It had a tough act to follow after the sensation that was Normal People but this is still a blooming good read. Following two college students (and lovers) - Frances and Bobbi - the story follows their relationship and the impact of meeting a married couple who have their own treasure trove of issues which causes a ripple effect. In true Rooney style (or what I’m learning is her style), the characters are complex and flawed which gives them a distinctly ‘real’ quality. 

“You can love more than one person, she said. That's arguable. Why is it any different from having more than one friend? You're friends with me and you also have other friends, does that mean you don't really value me? I don't have other friends, I said.” - Sally Rooney | Conversations with Friends 

Please share your book recommendations with me in the comments section below! My year hasn’t started with the same vigour as last year so I have some catching up to do and there’s no better way than a book that is going to suck me in!

All for now,
Rose (from behind her bookworm spectacles)


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