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One sure-fire way to not keep a New Year’s Eve resolution, I’ve found, is to tell everyone about it. And this is exactly why I have failed each and every year to read more books: because I incessantly spoke about the resolution to improve my bookworm tendencies. So despite continuing to purchase at least a new book a week throughout pretty much every week in the last five years they have all languished unread and unloved on my book shelves.
This was always disappointing to me because I spent literally the entirety of my childhood with my nose inside a book. I’d get through one every couple of days – more in the holidays – reading them in cars, in supermarkets, in tents, in baths. My preferred genres were schools, ponies and mysteries (so basically Mallory Towers, Jill’s Gymkana and Nancy Drew) and I loved a good Point Horror, too.
But then the kids came along and I soon realised that I’d lost the physical ability to concentrate on anything for longer than 24 minutes. Bed was for sleeping (or rather not, if my kids had anything to do with it), and if I tried getting into bed to read anything any more challenging than the Daily Mail sidebar of shame it just wouldn’t go in.
Which is why it was a really nice surprise at the end of January to realise that I’d actually somehow stuck to my oft-made resolution to actually read more. FOUR WHOLE BOOKS, in fact. A book a week: BOOM. And I’m putting this down to the fact I didn’t tell anyone I was going to try and read four books in January. It worked!
I’m still some way away from my good friend Jamie’s 2017 list which numbered 89 (!!!! – you can see her list, and the books she’d recommend from it, right here). But I’m getting there.
Here’s what I read in January:
A Beginner’s Guide To Losing Your Mind – Emily Reynolds
I met Emily when she came to my house to shoot some footage for a brand project, and when she mentioned she’d written a book about mental illness I was desperate to buy it: she spoke about the subject with such frankness, intelligence and humour. This is an absolutely brilliant book for anyone who is or has suffered with periods of mental illness, or anyone who has a close friend or family member going through the same.
It’s chock full of witty observations, practical coping methods and empathetic stories that’ll have you nodding and laughing along – simply the best book about mental health I’ve ever read.
Primates of Park Avenue – Wednesday Martin Ph.D
I love nothing more than a bit of fluff reading with a slight intelligent edge, and this is exactly what Primates of Park Avenue is. It follows the story of Anthropologist Wednesday Martin who moves with her family to the wealthy Upper East Side of New York. The result is a deep and thoroughly interesting cultural view on a life few of us will ever be privy to.
Love Warrior – Glennon Doyle Melton
I mean, if Oprah says it’s a good ‘un you know you’re going to enjoy it, am I right?!
This is a beautifully vulnerable story from recovering alcoholic and bulimic (and blogger) Glennon Doyle Melton, the story of a marriage and its healing. I couldn’t put this down and it made me think deeply about relationships and our societal positions in a way I haven’t done before. Really good.
The Wrong Knickers – Bryony Gordon
I like to re-visit my old favourite books the same way I do friends I’ve known for years. There’s something comforting about their stories, their characters, their endings.
The Wrong Knickers is one I’ve read every year since I first bought it in 2016, and Bryony Gordon remains one of my absolute favourite people on the internet. Her twenties were like mine, only more wild, and I love the familiarity in the story of coming-to-age in your late twenties. I can’t wait to read this book again in 2019.
Next up this month we have Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton (are you even a millennial if you’re not reading this?) as well as The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley and Jen Sincero’s You Are A Badass At Making Money. What else should I be reading?