What I’ve been reading lately #15

I’m trying to get in the habit of not reading consecutive books from the same genre and, so far, I’m pleased with how diverse my reading has been this year. The last three books I’ve read were all written by women; one is an autobiography, one is a narrative based on actual events and one is an award-winning work of fiction.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I received a copy of Michelle Obama’s Becoming for my birthday back in November and I can’t believe it took me this long to read it. It’s such an insightful book and I fell even more in love with her.

If you’re looking for secrets from the White House, this isn’t the book from you. Yes, she discusses Barack’s road to Presidency and what it was like to spend two terms living in Washington, but this book is about so much more than that. It’s about the importance of a good education, strong ethics, family values and being strong in the face of adversity. It’s also a beautiful love story.

I particularly warmed to her desire to remain focused on her own career and ambitions, even when starting a family, and later when her husband’s own career was prioritised. As FLOTUS, she was able to use her platform to benefit the lives of so many others, as she had spent her earlier career doing. A true inspiration.

Anyone else got a massive girl crush on Michelle Obama?

Buy it on Amazon

Women Talking by Miriam Toews

I had to pause my reading of Becoming halfway through as someone else had reserved my library copy of Women Talking – and library etiquette implies that it’s polite to return it ASAP. I’m glad I decided to prioritise it rather than simply return it unread.

This was an interesting imagining of a shocking real-life story where a village of women were drugged and raped by the men at night and led to believe that they were being attached by demons for their sins.

In this story, eight of the women convene to discuss what to do next, while the remaining men of the village are in the city bailing out the accused. Should they stay and fight, stay and do nothing, or leave before the men can attack any more of the women?

The women in the story (and perhaps ‘in real life’?) are illiterate and know very little of the work beyond their border. Yet they’re smart, funny and articulate. They’re strong. They’re protective of their own. And as the story progresses over the course of two days, it’s interesting to see the lengths that some of them will go to.

Recommended for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Power.

Buy it on Amazon

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Normal People really surprised me – for all the wrong reasons.

I have serious FOMO when it comes to books and, having read a lot of positive things about it, and seeing it receive so much critical acclaim, I added it to my library reservation list. I have to admit, I didn’t see what the fuss was about. You know those indie films where not a lot happens and everyone raves about it and you just can’t figure out what you’re not seeing? That’s what this felt like for me.

Normal People starts with Connell and Marianne in secondary school. Marianne is from a wealthy family and Connell’s mum is her cleaner. They don’t talk at school but Connell starts coming to meet his mum from work and they start talking. Their secret friendship develops into something more but Marianne is destined for heartache. Then they end up at the same university and the book follows them as their friendship with benefits stops and starts, usually centred around a miscommunication (or total lack of communication).

It’s like One Day but with whiny, self-involved leads. I didn’t find either character particularly likeable, although both had their moments, and while I appreciate the semi-analysis of identity and class, this book didn’t do anything for me at all.

Buy it on Amazon

What have you been reading lately?

4 thoughts on “What I’ve been reading lately #15”

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