Halfway Through 2019 – The Best and Worst Books So Far4 min read
2019 has so far been an EXCELLENT reading year for me. I’ve read 40 books as of writing this post, and I’m excited to see how many more great ones there are to come for the rest of the year.
This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
I’ve spoken about this book at lot, and although I read it back in January, it’s stayed with me for a long time. If you’ve somehow been living under a rock and have not heard of this, then here’s a quick synopsis: Adam Kay used to be a doctor and is now a comedian who has written a memoir about his life working with the NHS. Written in diary entries the book is both hilarious and eye-opening and is educational for anyone who picks it up. A definite must-read for everyone!
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
I read this recently and although I’m not normally a fan of YA/contemporary fiction, I fell in love with this! It’s a romance which centres on Simon Spier, a closeted sixteen-year-old boy who starts to talk to Blue – a kid who anonymously reveals his sexuality on the school Tumblr. But when an email conversation between them is screenshot by Martin, a dweeby kid who fancies one of Simon’s friends, Simon has no choice but to be blackmailed into helping Martin talk to Abby. Overall thus book just made mu heart happy, and is a great romance read.
The Last Act of Love – Cathy Rentzenbrink
This book was so raw and moving that it was hard to get it out of my head for weeks after I’d read it. This memoir centres on the life of the author, Cathy Rentzenbrink, and how everything was turned upside-down when her brother, Matty, was hit by a car in 1990. For the following eight years, Cathy and her parents do all they can to keep Matty comfortable and try everything to get him to wake up from his PVS (persistent vegetative state). But in 1998, Matty dies, and Cathy must continue her life knowing it is nothing like what it would have been if her brother had never been in the accident. Heart-breaking and heart-warming throughout, this is a must-read book!
The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris
I read this quick recently and I loved it. It was a harrowing story of a romance which sparked in the middle of one of the most horrible places in history – Auschwitz concentration camp. Part of the reason I loved it so much is just that I think stories like this are really important and they deserve to be told so we can remind ourselves of our past. Plus, as it’s based on a true story, it was a honour to read about how this couple survived such a dark place.
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World – Murakami
This was the final book I read on my holiday this year. I say read, I DNF’ed after 80 pages. The idea of it intruded me, as I usually enjoy sci-fi, so I thought this would be something I’d definitely enjoy. But despite all the good things I’d heard about it, I just could not get on board. It was confusing and weird, the narratives were jumping around all over the place, and frankly life is too short to read books you’re not enjoying!
Uncommon Type – Tom Hanks
It feels a bit harsh saying this was one of the worst books I’ve read. I actually gave it three stars, so if anything it was just aggressively average. I think the reason it’s made it on the list is just that I was very disappointed. I wanted it to be so much more than it was, and as a lover of short stories, I was ready to add it to short stories favourites. It’s just a shame it didn’t ever get past mediocre.
The Binding – Bridget Collins
I read this at the beginning of the year, and MY GOD I was bored. This is a classic example of why you can never judge a book by its cover, because the cover was gorgeous, and the book was so bland. It had such an interesting concept – the idea that people can bind, and therefore forget, certain memories – but unfortunately just fell flat. The character development wasn’t great, and a book like this has such potential to comment on a lot of problems in our own society – but just never did.
Normal People – Sally Rooney
This was nominated for a lot of awards and it won the Waterstone’s Book of the Year, so you’d think it must be good right? Well, you’d be wrong. I loved that this book was just about normal people, because characters don’t have to be extraordinary to be interesting, but, unfortunately, in this book, it needed something extraordinary to make it interesting. It also didn’t help that I just didn’t like any of the characters either, so I just didn’t care!