‘Reading gives us some place to go when we stay where we are.’
Reading has been an escape from the pandemic, where I can lose myself in other worlds. I have not read as much since I was at college. When I was teaching and raising a family, I was mostly too tired to read at night. Now I can read when the mood takes me. And boy am I loving it. I also discovered audible books and listen as I walk or prepare dinner. And I am addicted.
The author Matt Haig is new to me and I can not speak highly enough of his work. I had heard of him but thought he wrote self-help books. I did him a disservice. Haig, who suffers from depression, is the author of the book ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’. And though I have not read it, I believe it is inspiring, illuminating and full of humour and hope.
And so are the two fiction books of his that I have read. If you are feeling down and depressed, and I think many of us are battling to stay positive during our present pandemic, read the books below:
The Midnight Library
Do you believe that it is possible that we can live in parallel universes? The concept is popular enough in fiction and films but dealt with in an entirely different way here. I have always been fascinated with the idea that one simple decision can affect the direction your life will take. Robert Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken’ presents the dilemma in poetic form. And it is a question, I have often asked myself. If I had not started to play hockey again, I would never have met Graham. What would my life be like now? Ok, Not going there!
How to Stop Time
‘I am old. That is the first thing to tell you. The thing you are least likely to believe. If you saw me you would probably think I was about forty, but you would be very wrong.’
Tom has been alive for centuries. Though he looks to be about forty. Here Haig explores the concept of time in relation to how we live life. Another book to savour and enjoy. Intriguing, it will also give you a lot to think about.
The Thursday Murder Club
This is the debut novel of Richard Osman, TV presenter and comedian known among other things for the BBC quiz show Pointless, and it quickly made it to the top of the Best Sellers’ List.
What delicious characters. This is a mystery novel that makes you laugh out loud. The characters are elderly, pushing eighty. But do not let that put you off, if you are young. An excellent plot and likeable characters means you will be enthralled from the opening pages. It is not often that a crime thriller is so entertaining. Cannot wait for the second in the series to be published later this year. And I just read that it will be made into a film soon.
I listened to this on Audible and the voices of actress Lesley Manville really brings it to life.
This memoir of the former USA First Lady is a very long but riveting read. It is a big book and in it she recounts her early years, her relationship with her husband, how she found her voice and, of course, her years in the White House. There are lovely personal anecdotes and stories about her family which make you feel you are getting a real insight into her life. She is really likeable by the way.
From Be-Coming to Over-Coming…
‘If there is any message I want people to take from this book, it is that, even in the hardest of times, life is worth living, one precious moment at a time.’ Vicky Phelan
In Ireland, Vicky Phelan’s fight to expose the biggest medical scandal of our times made her a household name. I thought I knew everything about her from newspaper articles and television appearances. And I thought it might be a tough read and not what I wanted in these pandemic times. But Vicky’s story is inspiring. Her strength and tenacity, her dogged fight for justice, as well as sharing her personal story makes this an engaging read.
Naomi Linehan, who ghost wrote the book, is a past pupil of mine, so I had an extra reason for reading. Naomi is a gifted writer, even at school, and also wrote ‘Nowhere’s Child’, the story of Kari Rosvall who survived Hitler’s breeding camps and moved to Ireland. That book is also worth reading.
The prolific Canadian writer Joy Fielding is a master of the psychological thriller.
The Bad Daughter
Why does Robin Davis want nothing to do with her family? Why has she not been in touch for six years? You can take nothing at face value in this novel and Robin’s paranoia is shown to be justified by the end. Though it does take her a while to get to the truth.
All The Wrong Places
Online dating and the risks it poses are central to this thriller. I was on tenterhooks from the beginning and that feeling of apprehension stayed with me right to the end. Not for the fainthearted. Words like addictive and unputdownable come to mind.
Many of the books I read are recommended by friends. So I am rarely disappointed. But I could not stick with ‘The President is Missing’ by James Patterson and Bill Clinton, although GG enjoyed it. If you missed my last book review check it out HERE. And there will be more recommended good reads soon. As I said I have been doing lots of reading.
‘That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet’.