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What I've Been Reading Recently

What I've Been Reading Recently

The Actual One: How I Tried, and Failed, to Remain Twenty-Something Forever by Isy Suttie
Comedian, Isy's friends are suddenly growing up. They're having babies and running further than the bus stop. Isy's not ready to join them. When she breaks up with her serious boyfriend, her mother and friends become determined to find her somebody new; she's determined not to let them. I loved this book so much. I snort-laughed over and over again. I didn't even take internet-on-my-phone breaks whilst reading it. Highly recommended.

What We Didn't Say by Rory Dunlop*
Jack and Laura have separated. Jack's run off to Strasbourg where he spends his time typing up his version of events; Laura reads them and sends them back with corrections. This is a convincing story of two believable characters tearing their relationship apart through jealousy. They're both sometimes likeable, sometimes irritating, sometimes sweet and sometimes selfish, and the fact that I occasionally wanted to shake them both and give them a piece of my mind should tell you how absorbed I was. For most of the book, I wasn't entirely sure about the interrupted diary format (would they really have written to each other like that? would they really have emailed it to their kid, years later?) but, in the last few chapters, it suddenly made total sense.

The Life Assistance Agency by Thomas Hocknell*
FFS, no book needs this many metaphors. The plot sounded amazing but I found it so exhausting trying to fathom what the hell the narrator was talking about that I gave up well before my usual (25%) cut off point. Somebody write an abridged version in the comments section, eh?

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple*
Yes! A book I could hardly wait to read which lived up to my expectations! Eleanor Flood uses humour to distract herself and others from how disconnected she feels from the world; Maria Semple uses humour to explore this. The story is one increasingly ludicrous day in Eleanor's life as her husband vanishes, son pulls a sickie, career takes a nosedive and family feuds are revealed. It strikes a perfect balance between complete nonsense and spot-on emotional depth, and is the book which finally made me see the point of the Kindle's highlight function (not that I could remember how to use it).

Hygge by Charlotte Abrahams*
Okay, I know: there are SO MANY books about hygge at the moment. This isn't one of those ones which tells you to spend a fortune on candles and blankets, though; it isn't a list of rules for creating a hygge living room. It's about the author's attempts to bring more hygge into her life and, basically, it turns into a big rant about diets, competitive hobbies and Britain's fairly shoddy attitude to work-life balance. There was one chapter about expensive Danish designer furniture which didn't seem to fit with the rest of the book, but the rest of the book? It was like listening to an intelligent, witty friend getting a bit worked up after a glass of really good wine.

The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church*
In the 1940s, Meridian put her academic dreams on hold to move to Los Alamos with her husband. As time wore on, her resentment grew, but what could a woman do if she felt bored, unchallenged and unappreciated? The Atomic Weight of Love follows Meridian through her life as she faces lazy sexism, loneliness, lust and the realisation that most of her dreams are going to go unfulfilled. It sounds - and sometimes is - depressing but Meridian is smart, brave and resourceful; her path might not be the one she would have chosen, but it's not the one society expects her to take, either. This is written in a very sparse, restrained style which echoed Meridian's carefully controlled emotions; because of that, I didn't feel much of a connection to the character, but I did find the story engaging.


*Provided for review.

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