New Year: New Book Haul

The ones that are stopping me scrolling at nighttime

‘READ MORE BOOKS’ or more specifically ‘read at least one book a month’ is a resolution that I’m pretty sure featured on 90% of people’s list of intentions for the year ahead. I feel like I’ve had it on mine since I stopped borrowing Sweet Valley High books out the library (if I’m honest, nothing has quite grabbed me like that series did since). It’s one of those resolutions for me that when coupled with move more, meal plan and nourish yourself in a wholesome way, aim to be a more considerate friend/daughter/sister/partner and ‘drink water you dehydrated prune!‘, it becomes a low priority item that I push to the side and tell myself that scrolling through twitter is a fine and dandy replacement for physical pages.

The thing is though, it isn’t. There is nothing quite like getting yourself lost in a book. A story so captivating that you look forward to going to bed, not just because bed is the best place in the entire world, but because you actually want to read. It forces us into a screen-free space that inches us up the spectrum of self-care, relaxation and ultimately a more balanced daily grind. I say this last sentence with passion because this year (yep all six weeks of it), it’s really clicked into place for me and I’m already on my fourth read of 2018. I’ve sacked off the scrolling – well, at least minimised it – and read in bed most mornings and evenings, to the point where Mark has already fallen asleep and kneed me in the ovaries at least twice as he snores away. So I thought I’d share how my current night stand situation is shaping up…

‘Little Fires Everywhere’ by Celeste Ng. Right, I’m kicking it off with the two of the books that I’ve read so far in 2018. This is my most recent read and I flew through it in about week because I was that invested in the outcome. I love Celeste’s books. I previously mentioned ‘Everything I Never Told You’ which was ACE, and her latest novel is no different. I’d say the ending wasn’t as satisfying as her first, but it was still a great read that explored family relationships, this time with a focus on adoption, along with race, culture and motherhood – all themes that she dissected in her first book too. At some point in the book you’re going to love and then possibly hate every single character, but Celeste has a way of writing that ultimately allows you understand the complexities of each one. I’m ready and waiting for her next book already.

‘Call Me Buy Your Name’ by André Aciman. I’ve never read a book like this before. It’s almost like one long poetry-style love letter. I must admit that I took me a while to get into the way it’s written, but once I did it was like a little Italian drawn-out soap opera that I’d tune into each night. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to go to Italy so badly. There’s a underlying ‘coming of age’ theme, but the emphasis is on forbidden love, passion and pleasure. I don’t think I’ll ever look at a peach the same way again – read it and then come back to me on that one. I was worried halfway through that the ending was going to leave a lot of unanswered questions, but the outcome was truly beautiful. A real tear-jerker for sure. Also the soundtrack to the film is AMAZING. Do yourself a favour and download it immediately.

‘Self Care For The Real World’ by Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips. If I’m not reading fiction, then I’m knee-deep in some kind of self-help book that promises to make me into the best green-eating, long and limber, chill AF, meditative human that I can be. Of course it usually results in approximately three days of me attempting to be some kind of wellness warrior until I slope back into my Domino’s eating, sandwiched in the sofa ways – but I still like to dabble in these reads from time to time to remind me that balance is what it’s all about. I’ve yet to have a proper read of this, but from the flick through that I’ve done this looks to be chocker with practical tips on how to slice out some time for you and your happiness into each and every day. A good one if you’re currently running from pillar to post like a headless chicken.

‘How To Break Up With Your Phone’ by Catherine Price. I NEED TO READ THIS BOOK ASAP. I ordered a copy after reading this Sali Hughes article and I’ve been nervously mulling over breaking up with my mobile ever since. It’s next on my list read, but I have taken the first steps as at the beginning of the month I downloaded the Moment app, which tracks just how long you use your smartphone for each day. The aim is for under two hours of scrolling (side note: two hours still seems like quite a lot!), but I’ve been sick in my mouth as some days I’ve teetered at the six hour mark. BLEURGH. Obviously it’s a hard one to detangle as things like posting Instagrams, IG stories, answering emails and replying to comments are intertwined with what is (bizarrely) my job – but I know deep down that there’s a lot of wasted hours that I can claw back. Since downloading the app I sit more around the three hour mark which is definitely an improvement, but I’m hoping that by putting the lessons from this book into action, I’ll be able to chop it down even more.

‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman. If I had a penny for every time someone had recommended this to me, then I’d have nailed early retirement and would just spend my days lounging on the sofa reading this bloomin’ book. Compared to other meatier reads that I have on my next-up shelf, this seems slightly more comical and light-hearted, but correct me if I’ve got completely the wrong end of the stick. The blurb doesn’t give much away, although it looks like it could be a story of change or coming of age perhaps? There looks to be nods to themes of kindness, loneliness, but a fair amount of rib-tickling chuckles along the way. I’ll report back.

‘Everything I Know About Love’ by Dolly Alderton. At the time of writing this post I am due to start reading this tonight, although from the reviews that I’ve been seen online, I have an inkling that by the time this post goes live a week from now, I’d have zipped through it and be nearing the end. Formally the dating columnist at The Sunday Times and child of the nineties, Dolly knows the odd thing about bad dates and the teenage intricacies of MSN. I’ve heard through the grapevine that it’s one of those ‘will make you laugh, will make you cry’ autobiographical reads, so I look forward to devouring this in the most public places I can find. If you see me on the train wiping away a tear then I’m either reading this, or the Spice Girls reunion tickets secretly went on sale and I DIDN’T GET ONE (my most frequent reoccurring nightmare as of right now).

Photos by Lauren Shipley

Photos shot at the Artist Residence Brighton