Due to quarantine last year, I refound a love for reading that hadn’t been present in my life for a few years. I fell back in love with books, both fiction and non-fiction, and rediscovering how at peace I feel with a book in my hand. So I thought, each month I would write my monthly reading wrap up, to help anyone wanting some reading inspiration during this time.
This month I read 8 books, varying from all different topics and genres, so hopefully at least one of this book fits your desired reading interest:
1. My Sister, The Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite
This book followed Korede, a Nigerian woman who is a nurse living in Lagos with her mother and sister, Ayoola. The plot of the book is essentially an older sister helping out her younger sister after she kills several of the men she has dated over a prolonged period of time. Despite the daunting concept of the book, the tone is hugely satirical and shamefully had me laughing at some points. It’s incredibly unique and discusses race, sisterhood and family in such a specific, interesting way. 4/5 stars.
2. It’s Kind of a Funny Story – Ned Vizzini
Half fiction, half memoir, It’s Kind of a Funny Story was admittedly my favourite book I read this month. The main character, Craig, is a teenaged boy living in New York, suffering from depression, anxiety and eventual substance abuse. The plot follows his descent into poor mental health and his eventual diagnosis and registration to an adult mental health hospital for a week. It’s fun yet explores extremely serious themes, and the fact that this experience actually happened to Vizzini himself is even more heartwarming. 4.5/5 stars.
3. Romeo & Juliet – William Shakespeare
I read this book for 2 reasons. I firstly, have had a physical copy on my bookshelf now for around 9 months and I’ve never wanted to pick it up, so it was more of a forced read for myself, and secondly, I really want to watch the film and I’ve insanely spent the last 21 years knowing absolutely nothing about the story of Romeo & Juliet, so I thought now was the time. It was fun. I thought the story was sweet and I understand why it is as renowned as it is. But simply, I don’t like reading old-timey language and that’s okay. 3/5 stars.
4. Zikora – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This short story was exceptional. I thought the plot was so interesting and it was such a raw discussion of motherhood and womanhood. The book follows Zikora, who falls pregnant with a man she believes she is deeply in love with and goes onto to tell him of her pregnancy, for him to leave and disconnect from her and the baby entirely. The story was very simple, but it truly emphasised the beauty of Chimamanda’s writing abilities, and I’m so excited to read more of her work now. 4/5 stars.
5. I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death – Maggie O’Farrell
A beautiful memoir, O’Farrell writes about her experiences with death and mortality, and the SEVENTEEN times she has nearly come in contact with death. It was such an exhilarating read, and despite the topic being very serious and gloomy, I did really enjoy reading this book. It made me grateful for life and extremely lucky, but I think reading it during a pandemic when everything is a little grey, was definitely the reason why it was one of my slowest reads this month. 3/5 stars.
6. Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire – Akala
Akala’s unique writing style was my favourite thing about this book. His honesty and straight-to-point perspective about race and racism in particular in the UK was so incredible to read and I particularly enjoyed the aspects of the book which discussed his personal life and the experiences he has been through within the UK as a mixed-race man. His discussion around colonialism, the empire and racism in the UK was extremely engaging and such an important read for everyone who lives in the UK. 4/5 stars.
7. Siddharta – Hermann Hesse
Siddharta is a fictional self-help book, which follows a young man, named Siddharta, as he begins a quest to understand himself and his meaning in life. It’s a great story, and if you like The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, this book will definitely be for you. It’s very philosophical but very light-hearted. Plus it’s a relatively short book, so an easy read nonetheless. 3.5/5 stars.
8. The Love Square – Laura Jane Williams
This book was, interesting, to say the least. It followed Penny, a 30-year-old woman, who struggles with love, to then be flooded by attention from men around her. It was ridiculous, but it was fun. I laughed a lot, and whether that was with it or at it is hard to differentiate, however, it was a quick read, and it was nice to finish my month with a light-hearted romance, especially before University properly begins again. 2/5 stars.