Life has been pretty hectic lately, so I haven’t had as much time for reading, or writing blog posts for that matter. In exciting news, we got solar panels and a battery installed and are now running our electric (mostly) off grid! As part of this process, we had a lot of work done on the roof and have only just recently had the scaffolding taken down. I’ll try to share a post on this project soon! We’ve also done some renovations in our staircase hallway, and I’ve been busy planting vegetables in the garden. Aside from being busy, I have read three brilliant books this year. Here is a short review of my favourite books of 2023 (so far)!
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
This was such a wonderful book to experience. O’Farrell’s writing is beautiful and the story is very much an emotive case study on grief. I read Hamnet for book club and we all agreed that it has wonderful writing, dynamic characters and relationships. I enjoyed the focus on the house as the scene of Shakespeare’s family history. Maggie IO’Farrell did a good job researching the house, and I truly got a sense of Shakespeare’s Stratford and London. The work isn’t really about Shakespeare at all, it mainly looks at Agnes (Anne) and the children. The parts that I enjoyed the most where the chapter on the travels of the flea carrying bubonic plague, and the ending. Plus, the book gets bonus points for featuring herbal medicine!
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Braiding Sweetgrass is a nonfiction work about appreciating nature. Dr Robin Wall Kimmerer’s specialism is environmental and forestry science. She is also a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Her book offers an oral history or storytelling of our relationship to nature, with a North American indigenous focus. Wall Kimmerrer’s beautifully-woven stories help readers to recognise and celebrate a reciprocal relationship with the natural world. Much of her focus is what the natural world can teach us, and respectful stewardship of the land. I particularly enjoyed her story about the three sisters. This is how beans, corn, and squash grow as companions in a symbiotic way, and is told through an indigenous storytelling lens. The work is partly autobiographical and offers an intersecting perspective of nature from both indigenous wisdom and Western science. My only criticism is that it was a bit long and repetitive in places. Take your time with this book as it’s meant to be savored.
Girl A by Abigail Dean
For my readers who are thriller fans, this book shouldn’t be missed! Girl A is a about a woman who, as a child, escaped from her parent’s abusive home and freed her siblings. She has to come to terms with her current relationships with her siblings and her past at the infamous “House of Horrors”. Girl A was enthralling from start to finish, and I would classify it as a psychological thriller. It is more of a plot-driven novel, than character focused, despite the title. I read it as an e-book borrowed from the library, and it’s fairly popular, so you should be able to get yourself a copy easily!
I am a bit all over the place with my reading at the moment, with several books on the go! For book club, I’m readying The Lido by Libby Page. So far it’s cute, but not really my preferred genre. I’m also part way through Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead, which is an epic book about a woman aviator. Lastly, I’m reading Neon Gods by Katee Robert, which I like to think of as “smutty drivel”, but it will appeal to anyone who likes steamy romance and/or Greek myth re-tellings. I’d love to know what you’re reading – feel free to share in a comment!