#37 - REASONS TO STAY ALIVE // Matt Haig
I've had this one on my shelf for a while, waiting to be revisited. It's an honest account of Matt Haig's experience of depression and mental illness, but I didn't really take much more than that away from this book. It's billed as an "important read", but my book club friends and I all agreed that we felt it didn't offer that much past personal experience and would have been more valuable had it read as a self-help book of sorts, with a bit more research, strategies and tips on coping mechanisms. That said, the nature of mental illness is that it's a very personal journey, but I just felt this book was lacking slightly in something.
#38 - THE SECRET HISTORY // Donna Tartt
I mentioned this one in my summer reading list post and am so pleased I finally got round to reading it! It's a 600+ page tome which wasn't as intimidating as it seemed once I got into it. Set in an American college, it's a story of a dangerous friendship group which resorts to murder. It was a really dark, complex book which explored various themes in depth; one of the benefits of such a large book. Although at times I did feel the story was dragging and perhaps could have omitted certain chunks, the consequence of this was incredibly well-crafted narrative with really fleshed out, gritty characters. I imagine it's one I'll get more out of if I ever decide to read it again, but wouldn't say it's hit the top of my "best reads" list as it seems to have done with so many others.
#39 - THE BLOODY CHAMBER & OTHER STORIES // Angela Carter
Angela Carter is renowned for her fairy tale retellings so I figured this collection was a good starting point...and I'm sad to say I really didn't enjoy it! There were a couple of stand out stories (I really enjoyed The Bloody Chamber) but overall the collection fell flat. On the plus side though, Carter does a good job of invoking the darker, true nature of fairy tales (which was a bit of a shock sometimes!) which I enjoyed.
#40 - MILK AND HONEY // Rupi Kaur
As part of a reading challenge I'm completing this year I was due to read a poetry collection. I was in a mild state of confusion, as poetry really isn't my thing and was anticipating getting a book from the library, when I found myself (accidentally) in the poetry section of Waterstones. I'd heard a lot about Milk And Honey and after a quick flick through was pleased to find that the poems I read really resonated with me. This isn't a book filled with lengthy, rhyming poems....a lot of these read almost as short quotes....and I read this from cover to cover in under an hour. It's a raw and honest collection, focusing a range of topics including love, break ups and family. I am *so* pleased to have given poetry a try as I really enjoyed this book and would love to read more in the future! Any recommendations on where I should look next?
#41 - THE ANTIDOTE: HAPPINESS FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN'T STAND POSITIVE THINKING // Oliver Burkeman
Sadly I finished the month on another book I really didn't enjoy. This one starts well, explaining that the chase for positivity sets us up for failure as we place so much value on it that anything less is a disappointment we're unprepared for. So far so good, but as the book progressed it discussed more and more in-depth theories which I couldn't really link back to the overall premise and honestly felt as if the bulk was going right over my head. I have tabbed a few pages and there were a few bits of advice I'll take on board, but I felt this book was a whole lot more complex than it needed to be.