I love to read, I find it a perfect way to relax, ‘escape’ and learn.  I probably read 2-3 books a month on average and always have a big list of back up recommendations stacked up behind whatever I am currently reading.

I like all types of genres and try to mix it up with fiction vs non-fiction, my book choice is quite eclectic and wide reaching. The only type of books I’m not overly fussed about are fiction romance books or anything that is described as a ‘holiday read’. I like a bit of grit and I like books that teach me something. Time is precious and my list is long, so I want books that are special and powerful.

I know it’s a GREAT book over an ‘OK’ book by the following clues –

  • Finishing the book quickly because I can’t put it down
  • When I ‘learn’ something
  • That I am sad that it’s finished
  • If I remember the book for weeks, months, years to come and feel its left an impression on me
  • When I WANT other people to read it so we can talk about it together

Here are my TOP 5 Books of 2018 so far

When Breath Becomes Air Paul Kalanithi

This book perhaps made me appreciate life more than any other book I have ever read. It has also reminded me of what is important in life, and why we should all find a job that isn’t just a job but a passion. Written posthumously (not giving it away you know the author passes away) Paul Kalanithi a leading neurosurgeon tragically gets diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour. His passion is not only medicine, but writing and he pens this poetic life story so beautifully after finding out about his illness. His journey with treatment and how he manages his career, family and life throughout his final years is inspiring. If anyone needs reminding just how delicate and precious life this is the book to read. You will hug everyone you love that little bit tighter. Very sad of course, but equally insightful, inspiring and uplifting so don’t let the heavy subject of death put you off.

How We Learn to Eat – Bee Wilson

This book caught my eye as I am fascinated by people’s relationships with food, both adults and children. Why do some people refuse second helpings and others are unable to say no? Why do some people get caught up in faddy diets and constantly feel guilty about food? Why do some children love vegetables and anything going, and others eat only white foods that can’t be touching on a plate? This book is written in a really easy to read way, so even if you don’t like typical ‘fact based’ books its really accessible. It covers food relationships from infancy to adulthood, as well as food history and psychology which was really insightful. This makes a great read for anyone starting out weaning babies as it addresses common challenges that parents face when trying to create a healthy relationship with food.

Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari

Obama has read it, Bill Gates has read it … You might remember me banging on about this book, I just *need* people to read it because it just made me think and rethink everything in the world and my life. The book covers so many topics, from how Homo Sapiens (Us) started and evolved to be the dominant human species, to how our diets evolved and how we created and built communities leaving behind our natural nomadic hunter-gathering lifestyle. I have also read the follow-on book ‘Homo Deus’ which was equally good and hints to the future, in particular how the internet will affect our lives and how the job market may change and evolve as technology advances. If you like history and books that really make you think, as well as debating topics at dinner parties – this one’s for you! But don’t blame me if you rethink everything about the world and feel a bit sad and lost needing hug… I’m still not sure I have recovered! This will provoke every thought you have ever had.

Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

Ok, I am very late to the party with this one. I haven’t watched the Netflix series, but I heard about it and thought I would read the book. Wow, I read this so quickly and I was glued to it, I read it solidly and even during precious baby nap time. I could barely breath between pages. The main character Hannah tragically commits suicide due to a collection of events which spiral her into a pit of depression. Hannah, rather than leaving a suicide note records audio tapes of her ‘reasons why’, which have to be listened to by everyone who wronged her. The book is written from a different character’s point of view depending on who is listening to the tapes, which made for a gripping story line. Controversially I didn’t overly connect with Hannah, however I’m not sure if that was the authors intent or not. In the generation of internet bullying and low self-esteem this is a great book to remind everyone to be kind and to always know your actions have consequences.

The Handmaids Tale – Margaret Atwood

Again, totally late to the party, I don’t have Netflix so I read the book instead! The writing technique of Margaret Atwood is spot on – I felt like I was there. Set in a dystopian future of a reformed USA where many women have been left barren due to a recent nuclear disaster. Women are set into ‘classes’ the unfortunate but fertile ones are turned into ‘Handmaids’ and made to wear red cloaks and white bonnets. They are ‘given’ to a married couple high up in the (new) society and basically forced to have a baby with the high-ranking husband to help repopulatethe country. The new USA named Gilead rules it’s people by fear, with anyone jeopardising the State and its plans sentenced to death or forced to work in the nuclear contaminated fields which will cause a slow and painful end.  It is at times extremely graphic and was definitely not an ‘easy read’ but this will be a book that stays with me forever. I am now glued to series 2 as its has come onto ‘normal telly’ and I hear there is a third series in the making!

Happy reading everyone !