Last year I set myself a challenge to read ten books. I managed it, by the skin of my teeth, but only because I read three on our mini-moon in Greece. I like to read, but until recently, wouldn’t have called myself a reader. I know plenty of people who read a lot more than me and find the whole thing to be a little bit competitive at times – I can’t be alone? Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading more towards the end of 2019 so I set myself a 12 book challenge for 2020 – via Goodreads, you can find me here. I find tracking my reading encourages me to keep going and plan what’s next – I recommend it! My account updates are mostly adding to my never ending list of ‘want to read’, but I’d love some more buddies over there.
Saying that, it’s the middle of February and I’ve just finished my fifth book of 2020. Something’s clicked with me and reading this year, and I’ve spent most spare moments over the last month reading. I thought I’d share my latest six books with you, as they’ve been quite varied and all great in their own ways. I love these posts so I hope you do too!
Tales of the City, Armistead Maupin
My colleague recommended this to me in October last year – and it’s not something I would’ve chosen without him. Apparently it’s a well known series of books, which is now a Netflix series too (although I think maybe US only?). It’s based in 1970s San Francisco, which is right up my alley in terms of my love for all things retro, but not something I’d have picked naturally for a read. It follows the stories of the lives of a range of characters, as they embark on life in the wild city of SF in the equally wild decade of the ’70s. The characters all intertwine, and this one is the first in the series, so my understanding is you can see how they all grow as the books go on. The writing begins a little tricky, but once you get into it, it’s a really interesting read and just something a bit different!
Recommend if you’re into: retro nostalgia, reads about ‘ordinary’ people and their lives, San Francisco
Oh my God, What a Complete Aisling, Emer McLysaght & Sarah Breen
I welcomed 2020 in with this book – it’s total chick lit, but a great one at that. I recently recommended it to a pregnant friend who needed a pick me up and she loved it too (and the original recommendation came from Lizzie, as lots of mine do!). It’s pure simple reading about a girl called Aisling, who comes from a little town just outside Dublin. It follows her life, her work, her boyfriend and friends and the ups and downs of your 20s. Everyone knows an Aisling, which I loved – there were so many bits that were so identifiable about the book. And also hats off – it has two authors, which must’ve been tricky!
Recommend if you’re into: easy, feel good reads, Ireland, books about growing up
The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah (if you read one of these, make it this one!)
I’d had this book on my shelf for probably over a year – again, Lizzie recommended it to me early in 2019 and I’d not got round to reading it. I’d found my new reading flow by this point and was desperate for my next read, when I remembered I had it. And out of all these books, this is the one I’d give 10 stars to on a 5 star scale. It’s a World War Two book, and it’s cover does it a total disservice. It tells the story of Isabella, a young French girl, during the occupation of France. It’s a fantastic read – you go through every experience with her, and the author tells everything in a way that really makes you think – for me, it was about if I were around in those times, would I have been brave enough to be in the Resistance? An incredible read!
Recommend if you’re into: WW2 reads, stories of female bravery, adventure
The Salt Path, Raynor Winn
I’d heard so many people talk about this book, and I finally ordered it as I was coming towards the end of The Nightingale. I had one of those moments where I’d loved The Nightingale and its characters so much, I felt a bit lost without them – so I dived into The Salt Path head on to try and fill the gap! A true story, written by Ray, about the trip she took with her husband Moth, after they lost their home and he was diagnosed terminally ill. They decided to walk the south coast path, all 600+ miles of it, and the book tells their tale. It’s incredibly inspiring, and although sounds utterly depressing, it’s a really interesting snapshot into what happens to someone when they don’t have work, a home and a complex life to worry about.
Recommend if you’re into: inspiring true stories, the West Country (I loved reading about them visiting all the places I know!), tales of overcoming and endurance
Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
I’ll be honest, I picked this book up because I’d seen other people talking about it – not knowing at all what it was going to be about. I didn’t even read the blurb before I read the first chapter – I’d just seen the amazing reviews it had got. And I see why! The story tells the tale of Kya and is set in 1960s North Carolina. Kya grew up in a marsh, near a small town, and is the local outcast – uneducated with a dysfunctional family and little money. The book centres around her life growing up, her discovery of friendship, her amazing affinity with nature, all whilst deciphering a local murder case. Two timelines intertwine to tell the tale and it’s just really great. Trust me.
Recommend if you’re into: something a bit different, stories about human relationships, female courage
The Librarian of Auschwitz, Antonio Iturbe
This is my most recent read, and I’ll be honest, probably my least favourite. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a good book – I think I’ve just read some amazing ones recently, it didn’t quite live up! It tells the story of Dita – who you might remember if you’ve read The Tattooist of Auschwitz. It’s translated into English, so I found the writing didn’t flow as well as it could – but nonetheless, it’s a gripping read about a harrowing part of history and something we’d all do well to educate ourselves on.
Recommend if you’re into: the current rise in Holocaust memoirs, late history, personal accounts
My necklace is from Daisy Jewellery, kindly gifted. It’s the Aura Chakra necklace and I’ve worn it everyday since it arrived!
If you’ve landed here, you’re probably looking to find out more about Katherine-Louise. Run by me, Kat - put simply I'm a 30 year old who is decidedly normal. My blog is a destination for women just like me - the same interests and aspirations, working our way through the same twists and turns of life. Katherine-Louise is designed to inspire and inform; to give you a break from the norm as well identify with the beauty of routine. A fifteen minute recoup, or an hours vacation, it’s the go-to for Everyday-Joe’s, just like me, who want a few minutes off the radar.