I really tried to make an effort this year to read more, not only does it help me unwind but I always find I take something away from each book. I’ve been trying to buy my books from charity shops or borrow them from people, which is how I got the majority of these (shout out to my ex work colleague Sharon!). Hopefully I’ll be doing these book highlights every 3-4 months or so now. These are my current book highlights.
The Liar Room – Simon Lelic
This is one I originally brought my dad whilst he is was in hospital and I must admit it was a great choice. I’m an absolute sucker for buying a book because I like the front, the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ definitely doesn’t apply for me. The book focuses on the lives of two people and their relationship they have with particular events that happened in their past. As the title suggests, the majority of the book happens in a room and you find out about their lives through what they tell each other.
It is one of those books where you think you know how the story is going and then it surprises you when it comes from a different perspective. It is a must read if you enjoy thrillers.
Harry Potter and the… Philosopher Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban and the Goblet of Fire – J.K Rowling
I mean, I don’t really need to explain these do I? I only had the first four on my book shelf and once I started the first I couldn’t stop. The feeling of nostalgia was beautiful and a part of me felt 12 again reading them. I think the feeling is summed up by the quote from J.K Rowling “Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – Rachel Joyce
This book begins when Harold Fry receives a letter about a friend who is seriously ill. Instead of posting his letter to his friend, he decides to walk the 600 miles across the country to deliver it personally, because he believes in doing so, it will keep her alive.
Throughout the incredibly tough journey, you find out more about Harold’s life and his motivations behind wanting to walk the long distance. The relationship between Harold and his wife is a key theme in the book and whilst he is walking, his wife begins to realise how much she misses him and as a result, her emotions for him begin to resurface.
I really enjoyed this book, it was a lovely story of determination paired with the re-lighting of the couples relationship.
The Hidden Cottage – Erika James
I love Erika James’ books, they are so easy to read and perfect for a holiday. This one is set in the quaint village of Little Pelham and the story unfolds when a new member of the town, Owen Fletcher moves in who catches the eye of Mia who has a large family in the village each with their own interesting story. There are a number of tensions in the family including those with her husband Jeff and her son Jenson.
Throughout the book, romances develop and the story about each family member unravels until a big unexpected event occurs which changes everything. It is a nice read, nothing hard hitting but something you can switch off and relax with.
Happy – Darren Brown
This book revolves around finding and explaining the key concepts of Happiness. It genuinely feels like Darren Brown explores EVERY aspect of it, from the earlier definitions in Greek Mythology to 21st century concepts. He describes his book as a “philosophical, anti-self-help self-help book” with a key theme of unhappiness occurring not from events but from “our reactions to them”.
The book is a very interesting read and it did make me think about how I can try and change my mindset to have more control over how I take situations and how they can make me feel. However this did take me AGES to read because I struggled to get through some of the more philosophical stuff. Overall I’d recommend it though as I felt I learnt a great deal.
When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
This book is a non-fiction autobiography about a neurosurgeon who faces an early death from cancer. It begins with Paul as a young doctor looking at his own scan as both the doctor and the patient. At just 36, Paul had nearly finished his training and had planned to start a family with his wife, but instead he became forced to faced his illness.
From the beginning the book highlights how Paul craved working a job that required such perfection, which is shown when he recounts his long hours and the importance of precision when operating on the brain. The book is a tough read, from the recollection of his job, to his cancer symptoms and his attitudes towards his own death. However it is very thought provoking and the book highlights the fundamental question of thinking not so much as how we die, but how we will live.
What have been your book highlights?