“There is no greater escape than in the pages of a book…” I think we could all do with a little escapism right now. This month’s list is more in touch with the basics of being human, being a decent person, and the way emotions can get the better of us. From characters learning their true identities to ones revealing their most awful experiences. This list may not be the kind of books you need right now, but the top one is so important. If we reconnect with our inner most beings, we could save oursleves. Or maybe just take this list for what it is, a list of books I read in the month of May.
16. Humans an A to Z by Matt Haig
Find it: 9781782115427
‘Do you: Know a human?; Love a human?; Have trouble dealing with humans? If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, this book is for you.’ One of my earliest reads this year was The Humans. A heartwarming, humorous read, that I couldn’t get enough of. This short dictionary is written from the perspective of the main character in The Humans. Just like its novel partner, it’s humorous, heartwarming and reaffirming. If you’re looking to reconnect with the true meaning of being human or take a look at our weird species from an outside perspective, add this one to your wish list.
17. The Radleys by Matt Haig
Find it: 9781782116882
Simply because I can’t get enough of Haig’s work. I loved this just as much as his other works I’ve mentioned here on my blog. I believe I read the others at a good time in my life, but I wish I’d discovered this one when I was 13/14 (when it was first published). It’s a coming of age, learning who you are, fitting into your family, and personal growth. Whilst yes it’s primarily a novel about a vampire family, living amongst humans. It is also so much more than that. An easy read with a heck lot of meaning, emotion and valuable insight into emotions. This one is for the younger teens, or perhaps the adults like me who are still willing to learn a lot about our own weird species.
18. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Find it: 9780141328294
I remember when this book was first published. It popped up on my Amazon recommended and I added it to my wish list. I think I ordered some books by Lauren Oliver instead, and so this one was left behind on the list. Over the years it kept cropping up, and I told myself I would get around to it one day. Well, that day came around in May. I spent a day and a half reading this one. I was gripped all the way through. Recently this novel has been a hot topic on social media as a new Netflix series has been created based on Asher’s work. There is no denying this book covers some of the core mental/emotional battles teenagers are currently facing. With the rise of social pressures growing, so is the correlation of anxiety and depression. As this story is centred around the build up to the main character’s suicide, this one is not for the light-hearted. It’s a build up, and you know what’s coming, but you don’t know why. Thankfully, it’s all about explaining the why. When events similar to those in this story happen in real life, it’s not always so easy finding out the why. Sometimes you may never know. It’s a reminder that we never know what is going on in another person’s mind. We don’t know what they are thinking or feeling. We don’t know their next move or necessarily their last. On the other hand, we can all try to listen more, to be kinder, and to think before we speak or do. I hope to one day watch the new series and see how the story has transformed onto the screen. Whilst this would have been a good read for fourteen year old me, I think it still holds strong messages now; always remember that our actions have consequences, and simply listening to a person can change their entire life.
19. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Find it: 9780007874712
At the end of April, I took a trip with one of my friends to Cromer. Whilst there we discovered a small independent book shop, that I all but dragged my friend into. I stumbled across this version of Wuthering Heights, which I had never seen before. The text inside was what drew me in the most. My previous copy of this novel contained writing that would give even the most avid reader a headache. For the sake of £2, I thought buying this copy would be the final push to finally motivate me into reading Brontë’s work. I wasn’t wrong. By the middle of May, I had finished the above three books and was ready to move onto this one. Unfortunately, it took me a long time to get through. I found nothing within the story to grip me. If it had been any other book I probably would have stopped reading halfway through. However, I wanted to see what all the praise and who ha was about.
There is no denying how advance Brontë’s writing was. At A-level, I would probably have loved studying this one in depth. I’m sure I’d have a greater appreciation for it as well. Without taking it apart to critically analyse it, I have to say this work wasn’t for me. To the people who describe it as a romance/love story, it is definitely not! The famous line reads “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same”. This might sound romantic, but really it’s another sign of the obsessive idolisation that Heathcliff and Catherine share. In some ways, their ‘love’ for one another can be argued to be a form of narcissism. If what these characters share is ‘love’ then I don’t ever want a piece of that with anyone.
Getting through this book felt like a marathon. I felt like I needed a reading break after finally turning the last page. However, one day I hope to run through it again. Sophie (another one of my friends) told me that she hated Wuthering Heights the first time she read it. Today, it is her favourite book. She was partly my motivation for reading this story this month. Thanks to her I hope to read through it again one day and hopefully find a new appreciation for this well loved classic.
A month of light-hearted reading, turned challenging. Whilst my last read was definitely not my favourite, I’m pleased I can finally say I have actually read it. Unlike most classics, this can be added to my completed pile. Now it’s time to move onto the next one.