2020, it’s been a weird year. During lockdown and the months to mid July I found peace in reading. I finished one book and was straight onto the next. I was following along with Beth’s Book Club, and found a love for reading that I never really knew I had.
Reading has always been a slight chore, despite studying English Literature at A-Level and my slight love for buying books but never really reading them. Then I went to university, and had time to read when you were too busy making friends, lectures, and somehow writing essays. Studying politics probably didn’t help either. On my year abroad I read one book, the only book I took with me in September, which I ended up reading on a plane to LA in the following february. Then I went on to do a masters and still had no time.
Then lockdown happened, and suddenly I had time to read. Fast forward to July, and I had landed an internship and the reading stopped, despite an hours train journey there and back.
But I did pick up a book, one that I had started reading in June ‘Our Stop’ which to be honest I wasn’t a huge fan of and that’s probably why it took me so long to read. I got bored, and I had no enthusiasm to finish it. Then one day on the train I just thought you have time to read, now read the damn book instead of falling asleep with airpods in. So I did. Our Stop wasn’t great, wasn’t bad either, just dragged. Cute story although if that happened in real life I would probably be scared shitless that some guy on the tube fancies me and writes to a local paper (I’m assuming the metro). Although it does explore friendship, love, your twenties and living in London, it just didn’t do it for me. The only thing it did do was make me realise I should be spending my time on the train reading instead of sleeping.
Next on the train reading list was The Lido. Now The Lido was special and a book that I highly recommend. It was full of joy, friendship, love, drive, memories and the heart whelming moments that made you want to finish the book in one go. Again, set in London, but it was about community and friendship of any age. It made me smile, it made me cry, but because it was so well written I just wanted more and maybe if the lido was real to go for a swim. On that note it did also make me want to go for a swim, and like a swim, the book helped me to stay calm and I realised then how much a book is an escape from reality but also amazing for mindfulness. It gave me a chance to relax again, and although I am no longer reading in a book in the garden on a beautiful, hot summers day, reading on a train while it is raining is also quite peaceful (minus the 16 year olds going to sixth form who are far too energetic for 7:45 in the morning, and now I feel old).
Now for a book I should have read in March, prior to watching the BBC 3 version. Yes, it’s Normal People. What else can I say, I loved the TV series but I also adored the book. I read it in 4 train journeys. So easy to read, and so brilliantly written. Yeah not much else to say as it was great. And that is my equivalent to a 5 star review.
Then we have Daisy Jones & The Six which is very different to what I was expecting. Actually I had no idea what to expect. The way it is written is from an interview, play style commentary. You read from each character’s perspective, which is an interesting read to say the least but it grips you. Some chapters are long, and some are so short, but it compels you into the story. It maybe filled with sex, drugs, additions, music, friendship, love and based vaguely on Fleetwood Mac(?), but wow what a book. It is also being made into an Amazon Prime mini series, which is quite ironic as while reading I was thinking this would make an amazing film or series – let’s just hope they give it the justice it deserves on screen.
The final book as off late is Airhead by Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis. The book tells a behind the scenes story of different news events and interviews that Emily has done, from meeting Trump in 2010, to the Grenfell Tower fire, and interviewing Bill Clinton in India to name a few. It is a fascinating insight into live interviews, journalism and the news stories that we can all remember, from elections, to terrorism, and protests around the world. It is a current affairs book with a difference, and I would highly recommend.
Next up on The Reading List… The Nightingale, The Choice, Prisoners of Geography and Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.