April & May Books

This is usually a monthly feature but after reading only one long book in April, I decided to combine April and May books into a more substantial post. I’ve been making more time for reading these past few weeks and I’m enjoying it. I had been feeling anxious and often overwhelmed since the beginning of the year, and I realised that spending too much time surrounded by screens outside of work was probably part of the problem… Getting lost into a story is a good way to unplug and one of my favourite ways to do so!

April & May Books

Sycamore Row | John Grisham
This book is legal thriller, very well written and beautifully tied up together – except for the last chapter, which felt a bit unessential. This was the only downside of this book: there are lengths and they don’t necessarily add to the narrative. This novel is apparently the sequel to A Time to Kill featuring the same principal character, Jake Brigance. Sycamore Row takes place more than thirty years ago in Mississippi so the blatant racism of that era is very central to the storyline. If you like the genre, it’s a good read overall.

Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them: The Original Screenplay | J. K. Rowling
Being a fan of the Harry Potter series, I was looking forward to diving into this new story set in the same magical universe – especially after reading several positive reviews of the movie. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish the book… The storyline is good but the screenplay format makes it difficult to really get into. I plan of watching the film and might try the book again, someday.

Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone | J. K. Rowling
As mentioned above, I am from the ‘Harry Potter generation’ and I read every book (and saw every movie) at least twice. Edward, however, has never read any of the books (or saw any of the movies) so I decided it was time I introduce him to the BEST book series ever. We got a beautifully illustrated paperback copy of the first novel and started reading it together. We took the habit of reading bits aloud to each other during our morning commute or on longer car trips… It makes our time on the road much more interesting!

Wild | Cheryl Strayed
I first heard of this book whilst watching the recent Gilmore Girls revival but forgot about it until it popped in the Kindle store suggestions after I read Travelled Far. It is as good as everyone says. I truly enjoyed reading Cheryl’s adventure on the PCT and liked her honesty and authenticity. A recommended read, especially for keen hikers!

The Doll’s House | M. J. Arlidge
I bought this book from a discount store whilst waiting for Edward to pick me up from a trade show a few weeks ago… For a £2 book, it was good enough; not the best thriller I’ve read but it was gripping and I found myself reading way past midnight a few times.

Lost In Translation: A Life in a New Language | Eva Hoffman
This is probably my favourite book on this list. A thoughtful memoir touching subjects such as exile, immigration and the foreignness that comes with it and follows you in everything you do. It is also about living in another language than you own and how it sometime shapes your thoughts. I was moved by Eva’s words, maybe because I can relate to many of them, but mostly because she writes simply and in such an accessible way. Eva Hoffman recounts her own story as a young Polish immigrant in Canada, and later the United States. I’d recommend this book to all my fellow expats but also to anyone who has an interest in linguistics or foreign cultures.

Happy reading!

5 thoughts on “April & May Books

  1. I loved “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson, but for some reason I couldn’t finish “Wild.” (If anyone’s unfamiliar with Bryson’s book, it’s a funny and informative “guide” to hiking the Appalachian Trail.)

    While I found the Strayed’s story heartbreaking and inspiring at times, I didn’t find her writing particularly exceptional. Hence, got almost to the end, put it down, and never picked it up again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love Bill Bryson’s style and read many of his books (my favourite being Notes from a Small Island) but never heard of this one… I’ll have to check it out!

      Like you, I didn’t find Cheryl Strayed’s writing particularly good – I even thought it was quite bad at times – but her story kept me going. And being a keen hiker, I liked seeing her evolve from an absolute beginner to a more experienced trekker. Have you seen the movie?



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