It's been a good reading month for me; talking to more people about books has reminded me how much I love reading, so I've been carving out a little more time for it - I might hit that 52 book target after all, despite being woefully behind. There's still plenty on my to read list, but it feels good to be finding new stories and diving into new worlds more often.
The Wives by Lauren Weisberger*
Lauren Weisberger is the author who penned The Devil Wears Prada, and sent a million girls into daydreams of working at a glamorous fashion magazine (even with an... ahem... difficult boss) and this book brings back ex-assistant Emily for another biting, glamorous read.
Emily is a stylist and image consultant to the biggest stars, but her career's under threat. So, when her old friend, Karolina, wife of would-be-president Graham Hartwell, ends up dumped and with a false DUI to her name, Emily moves into the New York suburbs to help her... and to kickstart her career again.
This is pure chick lit indulgence. Greenwich is reminiscent of Desperate Housewives, with image-obsessed, wealthy women falling over themselves to one-up the neighbours. Emily is delightfully catty as ever (although I could do without all the fat-shaming) and the story is pleasantly gossipy. It's pure escapism, and it was nice to revisit some old favourite characters - but one to avoid if rich people problems get your back up!
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Whilst recording episodes of my new book podcast - Readers Gonna Read - this book came up time and again, but the reviews of it that have come my way have been really mixed. It seems this is a love it or a hate it sort of book, and so I borrowed it off the book swap shelf at work to see for myself.
And it turns out... I love it. I love it, I love it, I love it. It reminded me a little of The Rosie Project, a little of A Little Life (in a small way) but it was so uniquely itself. I'm a little bit bereft that I've finished it now, so in love am I with this book and these characters. Eleanor Oliphant has a rather peculiar way of looking at the world, and as you spend the whole book in her head, I think that can be off-putting if you don't particularly like her - but I found her to be charming if a little bit blunt every now and again.
Nothing much particularly happens in the book, it has a gentle pace, but Eleanor starts the book thinking she is completely fine with no one else in her life and soon realises that is very much not the case. As she makes changes to her life and starts to make connections, her past comes back to haunt her, and the whole thing is utterly heartbreaking. There are so many sweet little moments that brought a tear to my eye, and other moments where Eleanor's perspective, bruised as it is by her history, had me choked with sobs - just when I least expected it. Believe the hype, this one is worth reading.
The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
Ironically, I picked this book up because I have a (not great) habit of purchasing any books on my wishlist that are 99p on Kindle... and often never reading them. But, after Cait featured on the There Are Other Ways podcast (well worth a listen!), I remembered that I had it lurking in my folders and dug it out. And I'm really glad I did, as it was a real eye-opener.
As suggested by the title, Cait spent a year on a shopping ban in an effort to get control of her finances and see if she could really live with less. Of course, it's never just about the problem you think you have, it's about what causes those problems, and not being able to fall back on her habit of a lifetime means Cait's forced to confront her life and what she wants it to be like. It's a transformative year for her, and a bit of a transformative reading experience which came at just the right time for me - my expenses have never been higher and I've definitely been shopping more than I should for a myriad of reasons, so this book really made me take stock. I think it's one I'm going to be coming back to time and again for a reminder of why spending money isn't really the solution that it sometimes seems.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and buy something, I may receive a small commission. Books marked with a * were provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.