Things I've Read Recently

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Hello friends,

You may have noticed that I’ve been a little absent of late. Hello! I haven’t been writing reviews, but I have definitely still been reading. I thought I might chat a little bit about the things I’ve been reading over the past few months (that are perhaps a little too ‘out of date’ now to review properly, but I still wanted to mention!).

Almost Everything by Anne Lamott

This one is sort of a nonfiction/memoir hybrid (which I love) and it was absolutely brilliant. I have recently gotten back into tabbing and annotating review books (or at least taking notes somewhere, not necessarily inside the book), but I quickly realised with this tiny 200-odd page book that I would probably be tabbing every single page if I let myself, so this one is tab-free. Or the book itself is just one giant sticky note of ‘this stuff is important!’.

Every now and then you come across a book like this one, where you start reading and it just feels like you’re being cracked open with each sentence - my heart, my head, my spirit, all of them felt sore from the barrage of insight, realisation, and learning that I experienced whilst reading this one. I read lots of sections out to my partner, and they also found themselves just shaking their heads in wonder, or simply stating ‘that’s some good writing’. Unfortunately, I read this back in May, so I have forgotten a lot of it. Luckily, I can reread it whenever I like. Brilliant.

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

I was equal parts excited and terrified to get to this one, honestly. I had heard that people were absolutely destroyed emotionally by this book, so I guess the trepidation was justified. When I finally did pick it up, I found myself almost completely swept away by the beauty of the writing and the relationships that are portrayed within - almost. For some reason, I held myself slightly apart from it all (possibly to handle the emotional content a little better and not have to face complete destruction) and so found that I thought this was really beautiful, quite immersive, and something that I think will stick with me, but not quite as brilliant as others have said. Don’t get me wrong - it’s an amazing book, and I actually really loved it - but I think that it might require a reread somewhere down the track for me to properly connect with it.

The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow

This one took me a while to get into. I actually quite like Austen retellings, and I was very intrigued by this one ever since I first heard about it. However, I found it was a little painful to get into initially - and this was good in a way, because Hadlow had actually so accurately captured Mrs Bennet that I just found myself wincing and grimacing as I read, and kind of not wanting to pick up the book for that reason (I was feeling a little emotional at the time of reading). Eventually, though, it was like I just kind of got into the swing of things and, particularly when the story had moved on to events post-Pride and Prejudice, I really started to get into the story. Hadlow manages to portray Mary Bennet in such a lovely light, and I found myself empathising with her so much. I really just wanted her to be happy. My only caveat was that I found that Mary’s story kind of following Lizzie’s story a little to closely, sometimes it just felt a touch to similar as to possibly just be a recycled version of P&P. But that was quite minimal, and overall I really loved this. I plan to reread this one again whenever I’m feeling like some Mary goodness.

That’s it for this one! Hopefully I will be posting some more reviews soon for you to peruse, and then maybe also some other posts! No promises, though, as this year (as it has been for everyone) has been kind of intense.

Love to all who read.

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