While it wasn’t quite as good a reading month as January, March was much better than February.
It was full of thought-provoking, interesting and quirky reads. Hopefully my choice of books for the rest of the year will be as good!
HHhH, by Laurent Binet
After I wrote about watching the movie Anthropoid in Prague, a couple of people recommended I read HHhH, which also tells the story of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich during WWII.
As well as telling the story of the assassination, the author also tells the parallel story of his journey towards writing the novel. Binet was always fascinated by Heydrich’s assassination and spent years learning as much as he could about it and all the people involved, down to minute details like the colour of the car the Nazi was driving on that fateful day.
The two stories weave in and out, adding an extra perspective to the historical tale that serves to keep the reader just slightly outside the story, watching it with a critical eye. While not as moving as the film, this is still a fascinating story that includes so many tragic details of people who fell victim to the Nazi’s during this period in history.
Quiet, by Susan Cain
If you’re an introvert, you’ve probably heard of this book. If you haven’t, you’re missing out.
In Quiet, Susan Cain explores what it means to be an introvert in a society that prizes the ‘extrovert ideal’. Much of the book focuses on the science behind personality and it makes for really interesting reading.
I was familiar with a lot of the theory around introversion, but still found plenty of new insights in this book. Cain writes in a measured way, giving plenty of real-life examples of people who have struggled with their quieter natures, as well as plenty who have gone on to be high-flying business executives or experts in public speaking.
If you identify as an introvert or you’ve ever felt frustrated by other people telling you to speak up or be less quiet, then this is something you should definitely read. Not only will it give you a better insight into yourself, it will also allow you to look critically at some of your personality traits and decide whether it’s worth trying to push yourself to become more outgoing and fit in with society’s ideal.
Nasty Women, by 404ink
This collection of feminist essays was funded on Kickstarter and came out a few weeks ago, so it’s bang up-to-date with women sharing their thoughts and fears about current events.
Essays include racial divides in America under Trump, Brexit, the downside of contraception and writing online.
There are some unique voices here discussing a wide range of issues that relate to modern feminism. Worth reading if you’re at all interested in feminism and women’s rights.
Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult
When African American midwife Ruth is ordered not to touch the baby of a white supremacist couple, she is angry and upset that her colleagues chose to put the parents’ rights above her own. But when she is left alone with the baby and he becomes gravely ill, she must decide whether to follow orders or whether to help the infant.
Jodi Picoult’s latest is incredibly topical and makes for a powerful read. It will force even the most liberal minded to step back and assess their attitudes to race and racism, and shows that it is still a huge social issue. Plus it’s an entertaining and emotional read that will have you racing through the pages desperate to learn what happens in the end.
Hold Back the Stars, by Katie Khan
Carys and Max are adrift in space with only 90 minutes of air left. As they struggle to find a way to survive, they look back at the world they left behind and how they came to end up alone in space.
This is a genuinely unusual but beautiful love story about two young people in a future version of the world that won’t allow them to be together. In the future, young people are encouraged to build their own individualism. They learn multiple languages and move from place to place without putting down roots. It’s only when they’re older that they’re permitted to marry and start a family.
So when promising twenty-something pilot Carys falls for Max, the heir to one of the new system’s most prominent families, the couple know they aren’t allowed to form a permanent bond. But they just can’t help themselves.
Despite the consequences, they’re determined to be together. But is their relationship doomed?
I bought this on a whim after seeing the beautiful cover art on Instagram and raced through it on the train home from London. It’s part romance, part science-fiction, part speculative fiction, but it’s also beautifully written, imaginative and bittersweet.
Very much enjoyed it.
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