Books I’ve Read in 2019

by AmyBroad

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As a teenager I was always reading books, however as I grew up life got busier and I just couldn’t read as much as I had used to. I would read here and there and take forever to finish a book. As soon as we started travelling in September 2018 I had so much more time to read, and I’ve been loving it! Every time we travelled from place to place it would involve a good few hours of time where I could pick up a book. And I have even more time now that we have been living in Christchurch for the past few months and working at a hostel. I have managed to read 13 books so far this year! That must be a record for me. So I thought I would post some mini book reviews on what I’ve read in 2019 so far…

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

A bit of an emotional one to start this off with I know, but I think everyone should read at least one book about the Holocaust in their lives. It follows Dita, a 14 year old girl imprisoned in Auschwitz. She is asked by a fellow prisoner to take charge of some books that have been smuggled in past the guards into the children’s block. She becomes the secret librarian of Auschwitz, a responsibility that brings with it a massive amount of risk. It is a heavy topic and not the lightest read, but I always find myself wanting to educate myself as much as possible about this painful moment in history. 4/5

My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

I wasn’t ever a big fan of Lily Allen’s music growing up, but since reading her memoir I have gained a lot of respect for her. She has written about her life so honestly, even owning up to the mistakes she has made along the way. It is fair to say that she has gone through quite a bit in life. But she has worked through the mistakes and rough times and come out a much stronger woman. I really enjoyed her writing, I managed to get through this in just two sittings! 3.5/5

Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

If I’m ever not sure what to read, I will always gravitate towards a thriller. They never really disappoint me, and are a good option if you want a book to speed through as they are usually pretty gripping! This one by Caz Frear did just that, nothing groundbreaking but a solid thriller. It follows a London-based detective who grew up in Ireland. A woman is murdered and they of course have to find the killer, which becomes complicated when the detective knew the victim. She questions her fathers involvement, and whilst getting closer to finding the killer, is scared to find out the truth. It is definitely worth a read, I think I sped through it in a matter of days. 3/5

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

This book by Dolly Alderton is a great option if you are after a lighter read. She tells you stories of her previous relationships, uni life, friendships and heartbreak in a way that feels like you are chatting as friends. There are some hilarious tales and is a book that I got through so quickly! 3/5

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

If I had to pick one book out of the bunch I’ve mentioned in this post, it would be this one. The story follows Auschwitz prisoner Lale Sokolov who became the tattooist, who would tattoo numbers onto the new prisoners as identification. I have previously read a few books of the stories from Auschwitz prisoners, and this one has stuck with me the most. Even during those horrific years, Lale found love and was ever hopeful to have a life on the outside world. 4.5/5

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Right up until the end of this book I thought this was a true story. It wasn’t until I googled the band and couldn’t find anything that I realised it was not! Which just proves how well this is written! Daisy Jones and The Six were a band who faced their fair share of drama, it is set in the 1970’s and is written in an interview format. You learn the story of the band through each member telling little snippets from their own point of view. This was really clever as not only did it tell different sides to the story, but it was written so each member of the band had their own personality which came across in their answers. 3.5/5

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

I am 100%, no doubt about it, an introvert. And finally after nearly 26 years of life I feel like I am starting to realise that it isn’t a bad thing. I am happy the way I am, and although yes maybe I should be a little friendlier to strangers so I don’t seem rude, I’ve decided to no longer care if people think I’m too quiet. I have always felt embarrassed to come across as shy or awkward, mainly due to teachers wanting me to ‘come out of my shell’ and school mates asking me why I never spoke. But if you have ever felt this way, this book will open your eyes to just how powerful introverts are! It is one of the few non-fictions book I have read, and I was amazed to read that so much of our modern lives are geared towards extrovert personalities! 4/5

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My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

This one is set in Nigeria and follows Korede and her serial killer sister Ayoola. Korede is a respected nurse, but if called upon by her sister for help will do whatever it takes, even if that means covering up a murder for her. I still haven’t quite made up my mind on this one, I enjoyed the majority of it but I felt it was ended way too abruptly for me. I was left thinking “Oh, is that it?!”, I would much rather know the outcome than be left guessing. 3/5

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

So the next two books by Sally Rooney had A LOT of hype surrounding them, so I was really excited to get stuck into them. Out of the two I definitely preferred this one, it only took me two days to get through as it was such an easy read. The story follows two very modern best friends who perform poetry together and who become friends with a married celebrity couple. I enjoyed how the author didn’t make it this massively dramatic tale, instead just keeping it true to real life and the hard truths and realistic situations that come with it. Saying that, I was expecting it to wow me due to all the talk about it, which it didn’t so I was left feeling a little disappointed.  3.5/5

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Similarly to the previous instalment by Sally Rooney, the story follows a couple of pretty normal friends from school. One being part of the popular crowd, the other a quirky girl who doesn’t have many friends. Despite their different lives they secretly become romantically involved and eventually end up heading off to university. The book tracks their ever changing relationship and how they have grown as people throughout their years at college. I felt a better connection with the characters compared to the previous book. However by the end I found myself getting frustrated at the lack of communication between the characters, it felt unnecessary and really unrealistic! 3/5

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

This one really took me quite a while to get into, and I had to be in the right mood to want to pick it up. It follows an American mother who is sent to prison where she will spend the rest of her life. It intertwines her memories of her previous life before being arrested and also her journey throughout prison. For me, I found the beginning had too much scene setting, and I just wanted the plot to pick up, which unfortunately it never really did. I think the way it described her time in prison felt quite realistic and didn’t over-dramatise it, but by the end I was left wanting more. 3/5

The Woman in the Window by A J Finn

Now this is one that kept me turning the pages! It is a thriller that follows a middle aged woman who becomes agoraphobic after a traumatic event. She doesn’t leave her house, and entertains herself by watching her neighbours. I felt quite invested in the characters from pretty early on, I found myself reaching the end of the chapter and just having to carry on until I really had to stop and get on with something else. A great read, it even made my jaw drop a couple of times! 4/5

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

I had heard of Jodi Picoult, but never before read one of her books. So thought I would give her newest release a read! At the beginning of the story you are thrown into the action. An anti-abortion activist has taken hostages in the last remaining women’s reproductive health clinic in Mississippi. It turns out one of the hostages is the daughter of the policeman negotiating with the shooter. Each new chapter goes back one hour in time from the shooting, as you learn more about how the events unfolded. You also find out more about each character who has been taken hostage, and their different paths that led them to this moment. It is very thought-provoking and is of course a very current topic right now in the US. 4/5

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Lesley 15th July 2019 - 2:20 pm

Just realised, I have read The Woman in the Window too, it was good wasn’t it, kept you guessing. Your reviews are good, I’m going to read the Tattooist of Auschwitz next, looks very interesting.

AmyBroad 15th July 2019 - 9:29 pm

Hi Lesley! Thank you so much for you lovely comments! You should definitely read the tattooist of Auschwitz one next, although it might make you cry! X

Lesley 17th July 2019 - 2:44 am

Yes guessed it would have some sad bits, will get this tonight on my kindle, speak to you on Sunday morning our time xxx

Lesley 16th July 2019 - 1:12 am

Hi Amy

Will have a good look through your reviews and take some of these away on holiday. I don’t have time to read much either, but have read Lily Allen’s autobiography which I must agree with you, was so well written and honest, great read.

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