Yep, it won’t have escaped your attention that today is World Book Day. It seems to come around with alarming speed every year and send parents into a complete panic as schools issue edicts about what children can and can’t dress up today. I have heard of some saying no super heroes. Say what?! Not even Bananaman?
World Book Day mostly passes me by now since my three are all out of education but it is still a day I love. Especially when it coincides with a snow day for many. What better excuse do we have than putting the kettle on, grabbing a slanket and sneaking off to the sofa for an hour or two with a good book.
I have had a pile of books on my shelf for a few months now that I wanted to share with you. Some are not out yet so I highly recommend bookmarking them to buy when they do. All of them are belters.
Eat Up by Ruby Tandoh.
I am currently reading this after being tipped off by my friend Fiona who thought I might enjoy it. You weren’t wrong Fiona. It is Ruby’s manifesto for making us enjoy food again. Reminding us that food isn’t intrinsically good or bad, that we shouldn’t dismiss entire food groups in order to pursue an unrealistic body type. What we should do is enjoy food, eat with the seasons, not feel guilty for drinking an ice cold can of Fanta.
Food really matters, from breast milk, to prison meals, what we eat is a part of who we are
Never has a book felt more necessary than this one right now.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I am late to this party and if you haven’t heard about it, where have you been?! It seems to have been on my Instagram feed for months. It’s an award winning book and now that Reese Witherspoon has optioned it for a film I am sure it wont be long before it is the next box office smash.
Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day, and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.
This is a book that will make you cry, and when I mean cry I mean properly sob. It will make you cheer. It will move you. It will make you root for Eleanor every time you turn the next page.
Unputdownable is an oft used phrase but it this one truly is.
I need to Know by Karen Cleveland
Now this one is not in the pile above because the day I finished it, I was seeing my dad for lunch. I handed it to him and said “you need to read this immediately”. Another debut novel (like Gail’s above) it has also been optioned as a film produced by and starring Charlize Theron.
Vivian is a CIA counter intelligence analyst whose job it is to uncover Russian sleeper cells in the US. She has been working on it for years. She finally accesses the computer of a Russian operative and finds a secret dossier. It contains five photographs. One of them is her husband.
He’s your husband. He’s a Spy.
I devoured this book in one sitting. Karen, the author, was a CIA Analyst so this story is believable, there are details revealed about the workings of these secretive organisations that make you really believe this could happen. That draws you into Vivian’s family and understand how her life, and that of her four children has now been turned upside down.
I absolutely loved this and hope Karen is now working on another
You Think It, I’ll Say It, stories by Curtis Sittenfeld
This is a collection of 11 short stories, perfect for a commute or read before bedtime. Each one a stand alone story, with different characters in different situations. The only connection is that it tells us even the cleverest people have a tendency to mis read other people, and about how much we can all deceive other people.
In ‘The World Has Many Butterflies’, a married woman flirts with a man she meets at parties by playing You think it, I’ll say it, putting into words the bitchy things she guesses he’s thinking about their fellow guests.But she is in for a shock when, in time, she finds out what was really in his mind. ‘The Nominee’ sees Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail, confessing her surprising true feelings about a woman journalist she has sparred with over the years. In ‘Gender Studies’, a visiting academic sleeps with her taxi driver, for what turns out to be all the wrong reasons.
Out in May
The Personalised Diet by Dr Eran Segal and Dr Eran Elinav
This book is fascinating. And I know it slightly contradicts the Ruby Tandoh book above that I am currently reading but I found this a really good book for understanding more about how foods can make us feel. Not just better for five minutes after eating a chocolate bar, but why certain foods make us feel sluggish or bloated, whilst other people can live on them and not have the same effects.
Ever heard someone say “WeightWatchers didn’t work for me” well this will explain it. It is the results of a huge scientific study so it is not just two people musing, but is backed up by facts, and delivers the results without any histrionics or sensationalism. It also talks about the politics of food, of how some studies in the past have had skewed results. Such as a 1960s report by the Sugar Research Foundation where three Harvard scientists were paid to skew the research into the effects of sugar and fat on heart health. They were told to emphasise the role of saturated fat and de-emphasise the role of sugar. This belief that dietary fat and not sugar is the primary cause of heart disease is still widely believed today.
It’s not a light read, it is one to read a chapter at a time with no other distractions so that the information can be absorbed, but if you have ever wondered about diets and food and how they impact the body, it is well worth a read.
Never Greener by Ruth Jones
Yes, that Ruth Jones. Gavin and Stacey Ruth Jones. Her debut novel, this rocks. Another one I read in a weekend.
We spend most of our lives wishing we were somewhere else or someone else, or looking forward or harping back. Always thinking the grass is greener on the other side. It never is. It’s still grass. Just a different patch of it, that’s all
Imagine being a happily married mum, almost forty, living in London, all is hunky dory. Then one night you bump into an old flame. A man who was married when you had an intensely passionate affair with him 17 years ago. Who broke your heart and you never thought you would get over him. Now he is standing in front of you…..
Walk away? Or risk finding out what might have been?
Don’t think I am going to spoil it and tell you!
Out in April
Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
This is a perfect plane read, or beach book. Sylvie and Dan are the perfect couple. Been together for ten years, they seemingly have it all. The two kids, the lovely home, good jobs, they finish each other’s sentences. And then one day they have a routine medical which tells them they will live long lives, and therefore be together for another seventy odd years.
How on earth can you keep a relationship fresh and on track for that long? Sylvie and Dan decide to embark on Project Surprise Me. Small things to keep their relationship fun and exciting. Small gifts, restaurant dates. And then the small surprises become big shocks. Before a long buried scandal is uncovered.
A really easy read, but then Sophie knows how to write a book we will love doesn’t she?!
Still Me by JoJo Moyes
As if JoJo Moyes needs any introduction. She can do no wrong in my mind, every book she has ever written has been superb. And of course this one is no exception.
Lou Clark knows too many things. She knows how many miles there are between her in New York, and her boyfriend Sam who lives in London. She knows her employer is a good man, but that his wife is keeping a secret from him. What Lou doesn’t know is that she is about to meet someone who turns her world upside down. She doesn’t know what to do next, but she does know that whatever it is will change her whole world.
You know that this is going to be an astonishingly good book the minute you pick up. 470 pages later you feel you have gone through every emotion possible. That your heart is a little bit broken that Lou won’t be in your life anymore and will now sit on a shelf. That it will take you a while to pick up the next book because you just need a minute to finish digesting this one.