It was such a treat to be able to get some summer reading done whilst we were on our holiday recently. I love a good mix of fiction and non-fiction and these books were a perfect blend of the two. Book Club is going to break for the summer soon so I’m planning to conjure up my own reading list to plough through in the coming months – including A Man Called Ove which Liv recommended in May. I want to read some Bill Bryson and the new Harper Lee novel (major excitement!). If you have any suggestions for me to add to my list then please pop them in the comments section below!
Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Lives by Gretchin Rubin
Our lives are shaped by our habits, whether good or bad. This book seeks to understand the psychology of habits and suggests how we can create positive, lasting habits in our daily lives. The research is fascinating and many of her ideas really stuck with me (eg. having a ‘finish line’ often wrecks a habit – we train for a marathon and then stop running as soon as it is completed, or we give up junk food for a month and then go back to eating just as much as before). At times I felt that Rubin took too long to convey an idea but mostly I found the book extremely helpful. Since I read it I have barely touched sugar, I make a point of flossing everyday and I have got into a much better routine with running my home which allows me more time to have fun with Jacob. I would highly recommend this book if you are seeking a more productive and orderly life. 4/5
This book was recommended by the library so I picked it up without having heard of the book or author before. It is the story of a social worker, Ellen Moore, who has worked on some of the most harrowing cases in child protection. One day, in the blink of an eye, she makes a mistake with her own child that means the tables are turned on her and she is suddenly at the mercy of the system she works for. I thought it was an interesting concept and the narrative is gripping from beginning to end. It sometimes seemed a little implausible but it was better than I expected it to be. 3/5
I enjoyed reading the memoirs of the Duchess of Devonshire, one of the Mitford sisters who married the Duke of Devonshire and lived in Chatsworth. Her description of her early years is a lively and wonderful tribute to a bygone era of debutantes and coming out balls, a wartime wedding and scandals amongst her sisters. Her later years are spent running Chatsworth whilst attending hugely famous events such as the inauguration of President Kennedy and the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. They knew everyone who was anyone and met some real characters. It is a very interesting read but I did feel at the end as though there was still quite a lot that she was holding back. She barely mentions her marriage in any depth and is not very introspective which I feel is a bit of a shame in an autobiography. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating portrait of a life lived to the full. 3/5
Have you read any of these? What did you think? I would love to hear what has made its way onto your summer reading list!