Lockdown Reading: Reviews & Recommendations

Lockdown Reading

For the first time ever, I’ve reviewed a few books I’ve recently read or am currently reading. As much as I’d like to be, I’m not actually much of a bookworm outside of lockdown. In fact, I usually find reading to be a great way of falling asleep! That’s still the case sometimes but, with all this time on my hands, I’m getting through a few more books than usual.

So, here goes…

What I’ve read so far

Pretending by Holly Bourne

I adored Holly Bourne’s first “grown up” novel How do you like me now?, so had very high expectations for this book. It did not disappoint. It’s a tough read and took me a couple of chapters to feel comfortable with what April, the main character, is going through and has gone through. But once I got through my own personal struggles with it, I loved every single page. It’s honest, real and an absolutely necessary read for anyone that has ever had a dating-related confidence crisis (or anything-related confidence crisis). It’s essential that we talk about the issues Holly so eloquently covers – rape in relationships, self confidence, fighting the fear of being ourselves – and reading this book is a very good place to start.

Trigger warning: please be aware that this book discusses sexual abuse.

The Man Who Didn’t Call by Rosie Walsh

Loved it. I devoured this one in just 3 days, which is very unlike me. Once I’d picked it up I just couldn’t put it down. It’s easy reading but doesn’t have a predictable storyline, and definitely isn’t what the title suggests it to be. As Soph put it, it’s not a story about “a fuck boy that didn’t call”!

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

This was a different read for me as I don’t tend to read much non-fiction, but I’d seen some really good reviews and decided to give it a chance. And I’m glad I did! 

The three stories told in this book are all things that happen in everyday life, probably more than we care to admit. Understanding the stories in such detail, the ins and outs and the emotions that come along with them, was what I loved so much about this book. Lisa Taddeo spent years learning the stories, speaking with the women and their communities, even living in those communities in some cases. Her dedication to portraying the women’s stories truthfully really shines through. Although I couldn’t relate to it on a personal level (thankfully), I found Maggie’s story to be the most engaging. Definitely thought-provoking.

If you’re going to give this book a go, I’d recommend listening to the episode of Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place with Lisa Taddeo. It made the stories even more interesting having known the extent of the research and how they were written.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

It took me a while to get into this one, purely because I started it before lockdown when I had, you know, other things to do. Despite the deep storyline it was an easy read, though I still haven’t decided if that’s a good thing? 

My only negative with this one is I didn’t feel totally fulfilled with the ending. After spending time getting wrapped up in the two protagonists’ stories, I was routing for a very different ending. Oh well! There’s a life lesson in that, I suppose.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

This story follows the life of Kya Clarke, a young girl left to fend for herself in the swamps of North Carolina. The book jumps back and forth through Kya’s life, using the wildlife and swamp surroundings to create an amazingly visual story of the challenges Kya faces. Despite her unusual life, Kya’s experiences are similar to any other young woman – falling in love, discovering herself and heartbreak. As well as this, her story also covers race, discrimination, rape and alleged murder. It sounds very deep from that description but it’s written in such a beautiful way, I really enjoyed it. I’d definitely recommend.

I’ve also just found out that Reese Witherspoon is making a film version of Where the Crawdads Sing. I can’t wait to watch!

Next on my must-read list…

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I’ve picked this book up a few times but haven’t managed to really get into it yet. My (self-diagnosed) narcolepsy-when-reading really doesn’t help! But Reese Witherspoon has just released a series based on the book. And I love Reese Witherspoon, possibly more than life itself, so I’ll be trying it again soon. Wish me luck!

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

I started this last week but got easily distracted by Soph & Em’s recommendation of Rosie Walsh’s The Man Who Didn’t Call. I must pick it back up. Lianne Moriarty also wrote Big Little Lies, so it must be good!

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I’m a little bit ashamed to say that I’ve never read this book. It makes every list of “books to read before you turn 30” and I’m quickly running out of time! I loved the most recent film, so much so I saw it twice at our local Everyman Cinema. I particularly loved Florence Pugh as Amy and have since developed a huge girl-crush on her (if you don’t follow her on Instagram, do so immediately). I downloaded the book after my second trip to the cinema but never actually started reading it. Writing this post has reminded me that I really should.

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