Firstly, I’d like to congratulate myself on exceeding my self-set Goodreads challenge for 2019. My original goal may have been a mere 12 books, but that’s only because I wanted to be realistic. I used to be able to read that many in a month, but over the last few years reading for pleasure has sadly taken a major backseat. Once I started consciously making time for it again, I realised how much I’d missed it.
It turns out that I’ve read a total of 17 books throughout 2019, with 5 days to spare. Some of these have entertained cosy nights in whilst others have tucked up neatly into hand luggage, accompanying me on my travels to Paris or the Dominican Republic. If you’re in need of some literary inspiration then look no further. All of the below are worth picking up and adding to your own Goodreads ‘want to read’.
by MICHELLE OBAMA
When Barack Obama was announced as the new American president, I remember feeling triumphant. As a white girl from the British countryside, I had no real right or reason to be moved, yet I was. I’m neither qualified or relevant enough to talk about why I think that the Obamas are one of the best first families to grace the Whitehouse. I can, however, recommend this book.
‘I’ve been lucky enough now in my life to meet all sorts of extraordinary and accomplished people. What I’ve learned is this: all of them have had doubters. Some continue to have roaring, stadium-sized collections of critics and naysayers who will shout I told you so at every little misstep or mistake. The noise doesn’t go away, but the most successful people I know have figured out how to live with it, to lean on the people who believe in them, and to push onward with their goals.’
If I was asked to name an inspiring woman, Michelle Obama would be one of the first names to come to mind. The story she tells comes across as incredibly genuine yet equally empowering and she touches on so many important topics. From gun violence, education, and race issues, to the difficulties of being a hard-working mother and wife to both a presidential candidate and then to a president.
If you’re looking for an interesting, thought-provoking and inspiring read, pick this up.
THIS IS GOING TO HURT: SECRET DIARIES OF A JUNIOR DOCTOR
by ADAM KAY
Memoirs from an ex-NHS Junior Doctor. Despite a serious aversion to all things medical, I was utterly gripped (and shockingly not nauseated) by this book. It’s a startlingly honest account of working for the NHS and it manages to tease out almost every emotion.
Heartbreaking, hilarious, wince-inducing and outrageous are all words that immediately come to mind. This Is Going To Hurt also acts as a major reality check to anyone who woks typical hours at a typical job.
I found his humour a little try-hard to begin with but soon warmed to him. A read I’d recommend to absolutely anyone, particularly those who are interested in politics surrounding the NHS or medicine as a discipline.
THE LANGUAGE OF KINDNESS: A NURSES STORY
by CHRISTIE WATSON
After hearing how much I loved This Is Going To Hurt, my parents gifted me this for my birthday. Initially, I was a little worried that the whole medial memoirs trend may be a ‘once you’ve read one, you’ve read them all’ type deal. I was wrong.
This offers a whole other perspective. Touching on sexism in the workplace amongst other important topics, I enjoyed this in a completely different way. There’s a little less humour and a little more of life pre-NHS career, the decisions leading up to it and personal life.
LET ME LIE
by CLARE MACKINTOSH
I’m surprised at myself that this is the only thriller I’ll be recommending as the best of my Goodreads 2019. I read a few, but I didn’t like the others quite enough to actively recommend them. This, however, had me gripped from the first page to the last. I felt that every character was relevant and every plot twist came as a surprise.
THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND
by JOJO MOYES
One of the best books I’ve read. Ever.
If you already follow my Goodreads, you may have picked up on my new found love for Jojo Moyes. I’ve read a few of her books now and the rest are on my TBR list. The Girl You Left Behind is entirely unique and the effortless transitions between two different time periods are so cleverly written. Keep your tissues at the ready, this one’s a tear-jerker.
THE ME BEFORE YOU TRILOGY
by JOJO MOYES
My Goodreads review of the first of these books, Me Before You, is two words: ‘Utterly heartbreaking’. It’s within the last third or so that this gets really good. A controversial storyline written with consideration and without a rose-tinted perspective.
Honestly, after such a dramatic ending, I didn’t understand the need for the storyline to continue. Although I view After You as a good book in its own right and still enjoyable, it was slightly anticlimactic.
I liked the third book, Still Me more and actually appreciated the second book in retrospect because of it. Once I’d gotten over the most moving storyline, I started to appreciate that I was following the protagonist, Louisa Clarke, through grief, life after love and everything that comes with it.
Although I’d recommend each one of these books in a heartbeat, I do want to note that the series is quite chick-flicky. A few times I found myself thinking ‘that would never happen’. Ultimately though, it didn’t deter me from reading on and immensely enjoying every word. I turned the final page of the last book with sadness, I’ll miss Lousia Clarke.
I’d sincerely recommend adding these to your ‘want to read’ on Goodreads. If you don’t have Goodreads then I sincerely recommend getting it. If you do, then you can follow mine here. I’ve found it imperative in encouraging me to read more often and it’s lovely to be able to track your reading and look back at your favourite books.