First up, I have a confession to make, I may be the only person in the whole entire northern hemisphere who painfully struggled their way to the end of ‘Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine’. I didn’t get it, I mean, I still don’t get it. But then maybe I am broken or something because the rest of social media say it is the greatest book of last year?
If you haven’t already closed this page with sheer shock and disgust then HELLO, thanks for sticking around.
Please feel free to cast your eyes over my list of excellent reading material – there is nothing similar to Eleanor Oliphant, but I stand by the fact they all make the perfect accompaniments to either spreading out on a sun lounger with an iced daiquiri, or curling up on the sofa with your duvet and a cuppa.
‘This Is Going To Hurt’ by Adam Kay.
I’ve shouted about this one a lot on Instagram stories – it is truly brilliant, funny, dark and so gripping that I managed to see it off within 48 hours despite looking after a small human.
It’s a memoir from an ex-NHS doctor working on a labour ward, and whilst hugely eye-opening, I’d definitely recommend avoiding reading it if you’re pregnant or still working through a traumatic birth.
I actually handed this over to my brother the same week I finished it with shouts of ‘YOU MUST READ THIS’, and 24-hours later he’d already passed it over to my sister, having inhaled it in one sitting. They both enjoyed it immensely.
I’ve read a couple of similar titles to this one – ‘Hard Pushed: A Midwife’s Story’ and ‘The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story’ and both are also very good reads, but Adam Kay’s one is still the top dog of the medical memoir world for me. Shop here.
‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’ by Heather Morris.
This was another read which I binge-read within a couple of days – and this one focuses in on the real-life story of one-time Auschwitz tattooist Lale Sokolov during the Second World War.
I felt immediately drawn to it due to my own Eastern European heritage, and it definitely lived up to a lot of the hype I’ve seen surrounding it on social media.
It’s of course incredibly sad and dark, given the subject, but it’s also full of love – as it follows Lale’s romantic life within the camp. It’s also written in a really easy-to-read way considering the overwhelmingly harrowing setting. Shop here.
‘Everything I Know About Love’ by Dolly Alderton.
I went into this book expecting to hate it, given the fact I don’t tend to get along so well with millennial memoirs, and whilst it did take me a few chapters to warm into, IT WAS WONDERFUL. Just excellent.
Dolly is a tremendous writer, with a real ability to pick out the details from her own life which could so easily be your own. You may recognise her name from the popular podcast she co-hosts with Pandora Sykes, The High Low.
The book is full of nostalgic memories (hello, MSN, you sweet, sweet devil you), and explores relationships and friendships from teens to twenties. Highly recommend. Shop here.
‘The Mother Of All Jobs: How To Have Children And A Career And Stay Sane(ish)’ by Christine Armstrong.
I know a couple of people who read this and fount it a little depressing as it doesn’t really focus on any stories that show you can make the career/parenting juggle truly work.
For me the reason it was great was because it was full of lots of stories and anecdotes from both the author and those she interviewed that made me feel less alone and less like I was fucking up. I’ve read a few similar books which had a more straight-forward and to-the-point tone, but I loved how the author’s personality really shone through throughout this.
I felt like it was a reassuring read to acknowledge that there is no winning answer to how you tackle the constant nagging guilt of trying to work once you have kids. A read which helped me acknowledge that I’m doing my best and despite how it sometimes looks, everyone out there isn’t managing the juggle far better than I am. Shop here.
‘Period Power: Harness Your Hormones and Get Your Cycle Working For You’ by Maisie Hill.
First thing I will say is FUCK ME, there is so much about my body which I am shaken to my core that I didn’t learn in school.
Maisie’s book is a complete guide to actually starting to understand your menstrual cycle and why it enhances certain emotions and feelings throughout the month. It’s a complete eye-opener.
It is quite information-packed so not a read-in-one-sitting kinda book, more of a read-for-half-an-hour-in-the-bath kinda book. You need time to digest what you’ve just read and try and absorb what it’s telling you.
It’s separated into seasons (Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn) depending on where you are in your cycle and is best to read the individual seasons when you are in that particular season (rather than necessarily in order), because you’ll relate and resonate to the info so much more. It’ll also make you desperate to start tracking your menstrual cycle properly, whether that’s by an app, or – as I’m doing – with journaling. Shop here.
What are your fave reads of the past year?