The Book Review: February 2018
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Erm, okay, so February has disappeared pretty darn quickly, hasn't it?! After what felt like the longest January in the history of ever, February has zipped by in the blink of an eye, and here I am writing another book review post already.
Despite having a super busy month, I've been able to stay on track with my reading challenge and I've read some absolutely brilliant books that I would thoroughly recommend. Here goes...
The first book that I read this month was a perfect little mid-winter pick me up. Delight is a book about the little things that bring us humans joy, the small moments that give us something to be cheerful about. Penned by J.B. Priestley in the years following the second world war, what stood out to me was how many of his little odes to delight still rang true today - reading in bed during miserable weather, for example, or supping a gin and tonic in the pub on a Friday afternoon.
Each delight has it's own dedicated essay, and with 114 in total, this is a perfect book to dip in and out of when you need a little bit of cheer. The writing is so eloquent and the descriptions so vivid that you can really immerse yourself in the joy - plus, it will get you thinking about all of those little things in your own life that bring you delight.
I first fell in love with Zadie Smith's writing when I had to read White Teeth for an English Literature essay at college, and ever since I've been hungrily devouring anything and everything she puts her name to. So I was really excited when I saw that she'd published a new collection of essays this month, titled Feel Free.
The subject matter of the essays is varied, from politics to critique of art and films, but each was written with that incredibly style that Zadie Smith has. My favourites were Fences: A Brexit Diary, and North West London Blues, an essay about the closure of her local library in Willesden. Both managed to evoke such emotion and feeling, while still adding valuable commentary about our current social and political climate.
As soon as I read the blurb for Eat Up I knew I'd love it, and I can hand on heart say that I wasn't disappointed. This book is the perfect antidote for the hundreds of diet and wellness books that have been published over the past few years. It's a joyful celebration of food, and an acknowledgement that it's worth more than it's basic nutritional value.
Eat Up was a genuine pleasure to read. I loved the recipes, the anecdotes, the descriptions of favourite childhood meals. It reminded me how much food is weaved into our memories and our relationships - from the food our mother's lovingly prepared from us when were toddlers, to the meals we've shared with friends or partners. But most of all, it was just genuinely refreshing to read a book about food that had no other agenda than to celebrate it.
I picked this book up after hearing Leïla Slimani's author interview on The High Low podcast earlier in this year - the hosts were both raving about this book, and after reading it, I can totally see why! You probably all know by know that I like my fiction to be gripping, believable and with plenty of twists and turns, and this book ticked all of those boxes.
But Lullaby is deeper than your average crime thriller - this is a page turner with substance. It really made me think about lots of important topics, such as how society treats mothers who still want to have a successful career. This book is an exploration of power, race and motherhood, with a plot that weaves these subjects together seamlessly.
That's all for my book review this month - I hope you've enjoyed it. Let me know if you've read any of these books, or if you've added any of them to your list!