I love reading and always have a book on the go. I much prefer having a real book, rather than my Kindle. It’s the feel of the book in my hands, turning the pages and having a bookmark when I’ve finished reading. Reading relaxes me and I can’t go to sleep without reading first. Having said that, I love my Kindle as well, but I tend to keep that for when I’m on holiday.
I’ve been having a massive clear out of books that I’ve read over the years as we want to decorate our spare room and office where a lot of my books are kept. I would love others to have the enjoyment that I’ve had but I wanted to share with you the last five books which I’ve enjoyed reading.
The Fault In Our Stars- John Green
Although this award winning book came out about five years ago I have had it on my bookshelf for ages. My daughter had read the book and said it was fantastic. I knew that the subject matter would make me need lots of tissues, I knew that it was a book I just had to read. The main character Hazel, who is seventeen has lung cancer. She has been encouraged to go along to a cancer support group, although she is not keen on going. But then she meets Gus, who is 18 at the group. Gus has lost part of his leg to cancer, but apparently is cured. They fall in love and share favourite books with one another. Hazel introduces her favourite book to Gus, which is written by an author called Peter Van Houten. He lives in Amsterdam. Hazel and Gus end up going to Amsterdam with Hazel’s mum so they can meet up with Van Houten. When they get there, Van Houten is rude to them. On their last day in Amsterdam, Gus confesses that the cancer has come back and has spread through his body.
When I first started reading the book, I didn’t realise that it would be Gus that dies but I thought it was going to be Hazel in the course of the book, as her cancer is also terminal. At the end of the book we read an eulogy which Gus had prepared for Hazel.
I have not seen the film but I have been told that the book is much better than the film and doesn’t do the book justice.
With A Kiss And A Prayer- Ellie Dean
I love historical sagas, especially ones that are set during World War 2. Ellie Dean’s series is set in the fictional south coast seaside town of Cliffehaven based around the life of Peggy Reilly who owns a boarding house in the town. With A Kiss And A Prayer is number 14 in the series and is set in 1944 about the time of the DDay Landings. It seems at this stage as if the war is never going to end and Peggy is trying to keep her family, her lodgers and her friends safe. She is also trying to keep her part of the war effort going by working in a uniform factory and keeping out of the way of her social climbing, snooty sister Doris. Not to mention trying to keep up with the antics of her father in law Ron and his dog, Harvey. I’m looking forward to the fifteenth and final book in the series which is due out in August.
The School At The Top Of The Dale- Gervase Phinn
As a teacher, I love reading Gervase Phinn’s books. His books have been great material from his time as a teacher, adviser in Rotherham and finally an OFSTED inspector. They are hilarious and I can picture these events actually happening in a classroom. This book is the first in a new series set in the Yorkshire Dales which carries on from where the Little Village School series left off. His books are full of authentic characters and hilarious lines. New teacher Tom Dwyer who is an ex-professional footballer takes up a new post in a very secluded Risingdale Primary School. It is a very sleepy village where everyone knows everyone else’s business and at first he is not sure whether he will fit in. The other members of staff at the school are an eccentric bunch and the pupils are more interested in farming than the three “Rs”. After a while Tom becomes settled in Risingdale and ends up in the centre of a drama. I really loved reading The School At The Top Of The Dale.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine- Gail Honeyman
I was talking about books in the staff room with some other teachers one lunchtime and this book was mentioned. I’ve never belonged to a book club but I could imagine this would be a good choice to read one month. It is the first novel from Gail Honeyman. Eleanor Oliphant is the story of an office worker in Glasgow who is socially awkward and says exactly what she is thinking. Her life is well ordered: pizza at the weekend, vodka, meal deals every day at work. She is a loner but seems happy with her lot. But everything changes when she meetds Raymond who is the IT guy in her office. She and Raymond end up saving Sammy, an elderly gentleman who falls over in the street. The three of them become friends and help each other from their lonely lives. Eleanor has to confront her demons from her past. I really enjoyed the book and loved how the character of Eleanor developed through her friendshop with Raymond. Although there were some funny moments, the book was also tinged with sadness and dealt with issues of child abuse and neglect. This did make upsetting reading.
Mad Diet- Suzanne Lockhart
Mad Diet is a book explaining that how our food is making us mad and fat. Reading it has shown me how our eating habits have changed in the last fifty years and how we can help to alleviate obesity and depression by simply altering what we eat. The book also shows how as a nation we are seriously deficient in certain vitamins and minerals. As a result, I have overhauled my diet and now buy locally produced meat and vegetables from a farm shop, I cook mainly from scratch and have now started to take vitamin and mineral supplements. I just wish it would stop me from baking and eating cakes and biscuits!
Now I am about a third of the way through reading Jenny Colgan’s book The Endless Beach. It is the follow up to The Seaside Kitchen where the main character Flora returns to the remote Scottish island where she grew up. She is living in London but ends up being sent back to work on the Island of Mure. She ends up back living with her widowed father and brothers who are incapable of looking after themselves. As she spends more time there she gets back into island life and opens up a cafe The Seaside Kitchen. The Endless Beach continues the story of Flora running the cafe and her new relationship with her former boss, Joel who has come to the island to work for an American billionaire who is planning on developing hotel complex on the island.
What are you currently reading and what can you recommend?