Recently Read #1 – The Refugees, Eleanor Oliphant, and More

Since I’ve started my new job and spend quite a bit of time commuting, I’ve had the chance to read more books. I’ve always loved reading and anyone who knows me, knows that I can spend a lot of time in bookshops. I thought I’d start sharing my thoughts on some of the books that I’ve been reading recently. Also if and have any you’d recommend me checking out I’d love to know about them! There’s a couple of books not pictured here as I’ve passed them on to other people to read.

Books - One fine day, into the wild, Alice and not working

Not Working – Lisa Owens

Not Working tells the story of Claire, a millennial woman who decides that to leave her job in order to find “find herself”. After handing in her notice, the story follows Claire through her time of unemployment. Written in an almost diary style format, offering Claire thoughts and observations in everyday situations, it can take a little while to get used to the style. I found this book a bit of a mixed bag to be honest. There were parts I found funny and relateable and at other parts I found some of the context lacking and the character to be more than a little whiny. I feel like Not Working had the potential to be a great book, I loved the style and the comedy however it falls a little short.

Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer

Author Jon Krakauer follows the route taken by a young man called Chris McCandless, who after graduating university gave away his savings abandoned, most of his possessions and decided to create a new life for himself. In his last trip, McCandless headed out into the Alaskan wilderness where he sadly died. Nonfiction isn’t normally the type of book I’d go for but my boyfriend told me I’d like it and I’m so glad he recommended it. The book is filled with quotes from McCandless friends and family and attempts to give an insight into what his life was like and the challenges that he would have had to overcome during his time on the road. After reading the book, I feel that McCandless came across as an intelligent and opinionated young man however I have to agree with all of the people who said that it was foolish to go into the Alaskan wilderness so under-prepared.

Beware the Claws that Catch Alice – Christina Henry

A much darker, twisted retelling of Lewis Carroll’s classic, Alice in Wonderland. Being a fan of the original I couldn’t wait to read this one. If you want you’re after something that sticks closely to the original then I’d give this a miss. The book starts with Alice being in an asylum in Old Town with little memory of the events which cause her to be housed there. It follows Alice’s search for what happened to her with a little added adventure along the way, looking for a creature called the Jabberwocky. I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next one in the series. It is pretty dark and there is quite a bit of violence throughout so it’s definitely a more adult representation of the tale.

The Refugees – Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Refugees is a collection of short stories by Pulizer award winning author Viet Thanh Nyguyen. I loved this books and it’s one that I’ve started passing around people I know (which is why it isn’t in the photo). The short stories are told from the perspective of a number of different people, of different ages and in different times. What I loved about all the short stories is that it although only with each character from a short amount of time it was easy to connect with them. The eight stories range from a young man who has arrived in America as a refugee to live with two gay men in San Franciso, to a women whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuses her for a former lover and to a young girl living in Ho Chi Minh city whose half-sister comes back from American to tell her family of what her life is like.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

I have been recommending this book to everyone, and it’s also not pictured as someone else has it. Eleanor Oliphant goes to her office job during the week and at the weekend treats herself to a bottle of vodka and a frozen pizza. But she’s fine and completely content with the way her life is. I loved the way that this book drip fed you information about Eleanor’s life as you went along. I was a little sceptical about whether this book would live up to the level of hype that it’s received but it definitely does. If you only read one book this year, then I’d recommend that you make it this one.

One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night – Christopher Brookmyer

This Brookmyer novel sees a high-school reunion taking place on an oil rig which is being turned into a floating hotel. Hosted by Gavin (who’s they guy from high-school that no one can really remember) the night takes a turn for the worst when the party is gate crashed by some terrorists. In typical Brookmyer style the book is jam packed with comedy and has plenty of Scottish dialect too. This book is a brilliant read and I’d highly recommend it.


What have you been reading lately?
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