09/05/2020

What I've Been Reading During Lockdown

One of my biggest goals for 2020 was read at least one book every month, I set this goal after I finished 2019 having read a grand total of about 3 books. I've been a bookworm all my life but it seems to be one of the first things that goes out the window for me when I'm busy, and 2019 was a very busy year. I started January with the mindset of making it more of a priority though and found that I'd fallen out of love with reading a little because I wasn't reading things that interested me. One of the first books I read this year was a dystopian novel called Vox by Christina Dalcher and it truly was the book that kicked it all off for me, it was exactly my kind of story and it helped me to find others that would grip me just as much. My girlfriend Jemma also helped to recommend some books that would be my thing and so far I've already read 15 books this year! I don't know how I'd be coping without books during lockdown so I thought I'd share some of my highlights from the past 6 weeks.


THE BEES BY LALINE PAULL

This was a recommendation from Jemma that I bought after she spoke so passionately about it that I couldn't not give it a try! The Bees is about exactly what it says on the tin, it follows one bee in particular called Flora as she navigates the hierarchy of a bee hive. It was a fascinating read from the perspective of learning more about bees themselves and all these little things they do, but it was also an enthralling read that captured my imagination. It took me a little while to get really into it as picking up all the bee language took a while but once I had I was glued to it. It also made both Jemma and I cry at the end, it really is a beautiful story.

UNNATURAL CAUSES BY DR RICHARD SHEPHERD

If you follow me on Instagram and have seen my stories where I document every book I read then you'll know that I'm a big fan of medical non-fictions, books written by surgeons, doctors, nurses etc. For most of my childhood I wanted to be a doctor and that fascination has never left me, in fact my own experiences with hospitals and medicine from the perspective of a patient has made me even more interested. I'm a big fan of the show Silent Witness which follows the work of forensic pathologists so when I came across this book written by one of the UKs top forensic pathologists I knew I would love it, and it really did not disappoint. I finished the 441 page book in 4 days after I simply could not put it down. If you're squeamish then this isn't the book for you but I loved hearing in great detail about the cases Dr Richard Shepherd had worked on over the years, including some very high profiles one. I was also fascinated by all the different processes that are involved when someone dies suspiciously, and how these have changed greatly over the years. It really was such a gripping read!

WHY I'M NO LONGER TALKING TO WHITE PEOPLE ABOUT RACE BY RENI EDDO-LODGE

Just before lockdown began I went through all the books that live under my bed, I don't have space for a bookshelf in my room so they live in storage boxes and this often means I forget about books. This was one of the books that I'd completely forgotten I had and it was quickly added to my 'to be read' pile when I found it! It's one I've been meaning to read for years and I'm glad I finally got around to reading it because it was truly an eye opening read. In the UK we are taught next to nothing about the messy parts of our history, including slavery and the general treatment of people of colour and this book covers it all. I really think that every white person should be reading this, because I guarantee that despite how 'woke' you think you are, this book will show how much more you could and should be doing.


THE PRISON DOCTOR BY DR AMANDA BROWN 

I'm pretty sure every book I'd read by doctors up until this point had been by men so when I came across this book about a female prison doctor I knew it would be exactly my thing! I didn't set out to read it all in one day but I got so hooked and soon enough I'd finished it in a day. Dr Amanda Brown gave up her position as a GP in a community she worked in for years and ended up moving to working in a men's prison where she seemed to find her calling. She also went on to work in a women's prison too. This book gives you so much insight into prison life and for me, a renewed empathy for a lot of prisoners. I really felt for the women she talked about at the end who found themselves stuck in a cycle of crime after rough starts in life. I definitely went into this book thinking a lot of her job would be patching up prisoners who have been fighting but that couldn't have been further from the truth! It was truly an incredible read.

AN ASTRONAUT'S GUIDE TO LIFE ON EARTH BY CHRIS HADFIELD

Alongside medicine the other thing that fascinates me is space, specifically space travel. One of my favourite films is Apollo 13, I love reading up about past space missions and life on the international space station and I keep up to date with all the advances that are happening. I can't get enough of it! I read astronaut Tim Peake's first book a few years back and raced my way through it, so when I found Chris Hadfield's tucked away in a box unread I knew it would make it's way on to my to be read list. I didn't think it possible but I enjoyed this one even more than Tim Peake's, it went into a lot of detail about the whole process and journey that is becoming an astronaut. It's one of the toughest jobs in the world to attain and for Chris Hadfield as a Canadian it was even tougher and it was so interesting to hear that your chances of visiting the ISS depend on how much money your country contributed to it. Which is why most astronauts are Russian or American! This book really did give me all those little details that I was eager to find out and now there are several other books written by astronauts sat in my Amazon wishlist.

SWEETPEA BY C.J. SKUSE

This final book is another recommendation from Jemma and wow was it a good one! I don't read a lot of crime novels but this one had me hooked from the start. If you're a fan of Killing Eve then this will be a great book for you as it follows a female serial killer. I very quickly found myself rooting for her! There's a sequel to it as well that I also read very quickly and I really cannot recommend both of them enough. I also love Skuse's writing style and I'm currently reading another book by her called The Alibi Girl that has the same recognisable and easy to read style and I am loving every page so far. If there's one author you check out as a result of reading this post, let it be her!

If you're a bookworm too then I'd love to know what you've been reading during lockdown! I'm always looking for more recommendations now that I'm back to reading everyday, that's certainly one good thing that's come out of being forced to stay at home more.

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