So last week was my 22nd birthday, and following that my friends came up to stay in Bath. We had the best time, and alongside eating lots and having a good catch up we made our obligatory trip to Waterstones! I think we were in there for over an hour in the end which is pretty standard for us, and to begin with I was pretty disappointed as I couldn’t find a single book that I went in there wanting to buy (swear this is always the way). However, I soon stumbled on a couple of gems and ordered in another. I’ve also added two books I received for my birthday, and my family obviously know me well because they were both by Matt Haig.
‘The Humans’ by Matt Haig
When an extraterrestrial arrives on Earth, his first impressions of humans are less than positive. Taking the form of Professor Andrew Martin at Cambridge University, the visitor is eager to complete his task and hurry back to his own utopian planet. Disgusted by the way humans look, what they eat, their capacity for murder and war, he is equally baffled by the concepts of love and family. But as time goes on, he starts to reconsider.
‘Notes on a nervous planet’ by Matt Haig
Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index.
– How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad?
– How do we stay human in a technological world?
– How do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious?
After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig. And he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him. Notes on a Nervous Planet is a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the twenty-first century.
‘Little Fires Everywhere’ by Celeste Ng
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town – and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at an unexpected and devastating cost...
‘The hate you give’ by Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.
‘Eat Pray Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert
It’s 3 a.m. and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She’s in her thirties, she has a husband, a house, they’re trying for a baby – and she doesn’t want any of it. A bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair later, she emerges battered and bewildered and realises it is time to pursue her own journey in search of three things she has been missing: pleasure, devotion and balance. So she travels to Rome, where she learns Italian from handsome, brown-eyed identical twins and gains twenty-five pounds, an ashram in India, where she finds that enlightenment entails getting up in the middle of the night to scrub the temple floor, and Bali where a toothless medicine man of indeterminate age offers her a new path to peace: simply sit still and smile. And slowly happiness begins to creep up on her.
‘A simple favour’ by Darcy Bell
When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son from school she happily says yes. Their children are classmates and best friends. And five-year-olds love being together – just like she and Emily. As a widow and stay-at-home blogger mum living in suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a glamorous and successful PR executive. The trouble is that Emily doesn’t come back. No matter what the police say, Stephanie knows that she would never leave her son. Terrified, she reaches out to her fellow mummy bloggers. And she also reaches out to Emily’s husband – just to offer her support. What Stephanie hasn’t shared are the secrets buried in a murky past.
Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments below 🙂