2015 you could say hasn’t been my strongest year for reading, the last 6 months have absolutely flown by so I haven’t had chance to read as many as I would have liked to however there were a handful of them that were absolutely incredible and will be staying on my bookcase for years to come. Here are my top books from 2015.
(I don’t pretend to really know about books I just like reading so if you want a real critical opinion then please check out google)
Not that kind of girl – Lena Dunham
Named of one of New York Times best books of the year, after reading it for myself I can see why. I was a huge fan of the HBO series Girls so when this book was announced I was straight on Amazon to pre-order it. I honestly believe this book should be required reading for any 20 something women trying to get a grip of life in today’s world, actually scrap that any women period. The book skilfully and hilariously takes you through Lena’s life in a variety of memoirs, emails and texts. I cringed at so much of it and cried with laughter on a long car journey to the point I could not reread the sentence through the tears, (all I will say is it involved a text about bbq sauce). If you have not read this already I urge you to, you will realise, even in the fortunate position Lena grew up in every girl faces the same problems when it comes to love, relationships, careers and finding out who you really are!
Go set a watchman – Harper Lee
I have only recently just finished this book due to my hectic schedule, so that in mind and the fact that it is the follow up to my favourite book of all time I could really write all day about Go set a watchman but I will try to keep it brief. The narrative is written from the perspective of a grown up Scout visiting her family in Maycomb from New York. Initially I loved that Scout was in New York it was what I imagined her doing, I always felt she was too big for Maycomb she needed more culture, more knowledge and more adventure to not have to conform to the society that even as a child she didn’t belong, however I did find the reasons for her being in New York all a bit messy and unexplained (you will understand when you read), however what I did like is that Scout stayed true to who she was, she is still her tomboy feminist self who can run around town with no shoes on because she is a finch and hasn’t conformed to way of life that the other southern women were expected to lead. So many people have regarded this book as a sequel to To kill a mocking bird and although the story is set years after, this book was written before, Harper Lee never intended to release it as a novel, it doesn’t have the punch and flowing charm and polished finish that To Kill a Mocking Bird has its but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its place up there alongside. I found the insight into the characters heart-warming, the flash backs to Scout’s childhood were as cringe worthy and funny as you remember them to be in To Kill a mocking bird and I especially loved Uncle Jack. When released there was a lot of controversy around Atticus and whether he was the man who we believed him to be, a man years ahead of the rest of his town when it came to human rights and race equality, however my opinion after reading this has not changed on him, and Scout’s relationship with him reminds me very much of my own father. This book still provides us with so much insight into American History and the changes in America and the advancement of these issues in different states. If you have not read either of these two books then I highly recommend you do. The characters will stay with you forever, I first read To kill a Mocking bird when I was 14 and 11 years later I am still as in love with it as the first time I read it.
Us – David Nicholls
I have read all David Nicholls’ books, I don’t know what drew me to them as a teenager as they are all but a few based on mature relationships between grown adults, I don’t know if it is because of how close to home he is and how relatable the characters are as they are just every day me and you’s living the everyday grind of life. 5 years after his number one seller ‘One day’ came out we were eagerly anticipating ‘Us’ the book sucked me straight in. Douglas is a 54 year old man (I know relatable) who seemingly has a good life, one that the majority of the population would be pleased with a beautiful wife, a 19 year old son, living in the British countryside. So seemingly middle class. The book wastes no time and within a few pages we find out Douglas’ beloved wife Connie thinks their marriage has run its course and now their son is leaving for University believed it was time to go their separate ways. (Who says heartbreak only happens in your 20s!) Douglas is not still only in love with Connie but has planned a grand trip across Europe as their final holiday before their son Albie leaves. The narrative is split between modern day when their relationship is coming to an end and the beginning where their love story started. David Nicholl’s has created another almost romcom yet still slightly tragic novel. I loved each and every page, it’s so humble and so brilliantly written, I am no mid 50 year old man but I felt every ounce of love and frustration he had for his partner and family as I do with mine.
Elizabeth is missing – Emma Healey
I read this book on holiday, not your average cheery read but I can’t do chick flicks so a story about a 90 year old women it was. The reviews on this book gave me mixed feelings of anticipation ‘ chilling’ ‘haunting’ ‘ mythical beast that you cannot put down’ I thought I had picked up a book about an old women whose friend was missing? However after reading this book I can guarantee that it will be on our TVs in no time.
The story is about Maud, about 90 years old and suffering from Alzheimer’s, it starts when she finds the remains of a compact mirror in her friends garden, although her memory is so scattered you are never sure what is actually true and what she has made up. The only consistent thought in Maud’s mind is that Elizabeth is missing.
The Narrative is split between 90 year old Maud and Maud as a child living in post war England with her family, and this is where the real story is!
I found the book terrifying in some parts and hilariously funny in others but besides from being an incredible story mixing genres and being something completely new on its own it highlights the terrifying reality of living with this disease and how lonely and frustrating it must be to lose your independence and control over your own mind and body, whilst the author still manages to add humour into some of Maud’s misfortunes (peach slices) it gives a brutal insight into how this illness effects so many people. It really is like no other book and I would really recommend it if you do like a bit of a thriller/ crime/ mystery type read, forget about the age of the characters and pick up the book because you will the minute you start the first page.