Here we are again, start of the new year where you’ll make promises to your future self you’ll probably forget by March. At least I know that’s definitely the way it goes for me – this year I decided to read 52 books; one for every week. I’m not sure why I’ve done this to myself but I’m sure by the summer time I’ll be adding adverts I see on the bus as a win and pop it on my ‘completed’ pile.
If you’ve made a similar impractical promise to yourself, and like me have already told everyone in the office about, your entire family and strangers on the street then fear not. A good book doesn’t have to be a 700 page classic, I’ve popped together a list of easy reads to kick you off, they’re all at least two years old too so shouldn’t break the January budget (so you can still afford that slice of bread you were going to treat yourself to for dinner).
If you’ve read most of these or have a taste for more, check out my blog of Women Who Changed the World. I have tried to include as many Trigger Warnings as possible. Please let me know if I can add more, and just a warning – some have to include ‘spoilers’.
1. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
PLEASE DO NOT SKIP IF YOU WATCHED THE FILM AND IT OFFENDED YOUR EYES AND VERY EXISTENCE. If you haven’t read this book then I’d seriously give it a go. I’m a hater of (and guilty of being) a book snob and if you look down on this then you’re depriving yourself of a good paced, good length thriller. It was the first thing I read after I graduated my English degree so I wanted to soak myself in trash but I really enjoyed it. If you like crime thrillers then give this a read.
TW: abuse, rape
2. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
Again – please don’t be put off this book if you watched the film! It’s definitely not without it’s faults, and there are times when it looses it a little but once you get into it, it’s great. And if you haven’t watched the film; DON’T. Or at least read the book first, I love Emily Blunt but the book’s character is much more likeable (maybe because I had the option of closing forever the book and throwing it in the sea if I wanted to but the film – there is simply so escape). It’s also fairly short, really great for commutes (ironically) because the pace is quick so you can just pick it back up without having to work out where you left.
TW: alcoholism, infertility, abuse, trauma, murder
3. Nina is not OK – Shappi Khorsandi
OK, so this was definitely a book I thought about for a while after reading it. It’s tragic, yet hilarious and you fall for the character instantly and want to wrap her up in cotton and keep her in your pocket forever. That’s all I’m saying without spoiling it.
TW: alcoholism, sexual consent, familial death, emotionally abusive relationships, mental health, anorexia, rehabilitation, rape culture, sexuality
4. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
Right. So, everyone raved and raved about this book and yes it’s good, although it took me a little while and the pace sort of dipped in the middle. Then there’s the big finale at the end (won’t spoil it) but I know a lot of people thought the whole book was genius but I finished it and was genuinely just filled with rage and felt like the sigh I let out would last the rest of my life. It was a little clumsily put together but I did enjoy reading it. I thought I’d put it on here though because a lot of people really liked it.
TW: physical and emotional abuse, sexual assault, self harm and alcoholism
5. This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
An ex-Junior Doctor stumbles across old diaries in the days of his NHS career, in this book he’s collated them all in chronological order. They’re well written, witty and emotional. I can honestly say this is one of the best books I have ever read, I’m not one to react physically to a book but I laughed and cried all the way through it.
TW: graphic descriptions of surgery, childbirth, infertility, infant death, miscarriages/abortion, childbirth, blood, maternal death
6. The Sun and Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur
So I know Rupi Kaur sometimes comes under the firing line from a lot of poetry lovers, but her collections are incredibly accessible so if you want to get into poetry this year then I’d definitely recommend The Sun and Her Flowers.
TW: rape, physical and mental abuse, suicide, mental illness, pregnancy
7. Harry Potter – JK Rowling
Yep, the classic. If you haven’t read them then trust me they’re super light, easy to read and, well, magical. I have some critiques of it, and of Rowling, but if you are after a quick read to start your target then Philosopher’s Stone is a great place to start.
TW: child abuse, genocide, familial death,
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick
Whether or not you’ve seen Bladerunner, this is a must-read. Androids is a classic, it’s different from it’s screen adaptation in so many ways it’s an opportunity to delve deeper into the world Dick created. I think I read this in a couple of days so super easy to read and a great story line – perfect if you’re into post-modernist, dystopian style books.
TW: rape and sexual abuse, murder, rape culture, animal abuse, animal death
9. The Hand Maid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
I’ll admit, I might not recommend any other Atwood books if you’re not big into reading and just want a few easy, light reads. And although the themes are neither easy nor light, The Hand Maid’s Tale is really digestible and a real page-turner (sorry for the cliche but I had to stick one in somewhere). That’s sort of the poetry with this book, Atwood makes it so easy for you to throw yourself into this world and how it’s come to be – perhaps showing we’re a little too good at understanding it.
TW: rape and sexual abuse throughout, murder, genocide, child abuse, pregnancy/childbirth, mental illness, infertility, torture, animal death, kidnapping, suicide
10. Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
I haven’t seen the film adaptation of this yet, I think I enjoyed the book too much really. It’s super warming and lovely, and the characters are very well developed and sustained. I broke and cried at the end. No spoilers but it’s very sad – would not recommend this if you’re struggling with grief.
TW: death, familial death, car accidents, depression, suicide, self-harm