What I've been reading: January and February

For once, I've recently been reading quite a bit of non-fiction than fiction, and unintentionally to begin with, they have all featured mental health. 

How To Be Champion by Sarah Millican was a Christmas present to myself - I've loved her comedy for years (Mum and I have seen two of her tours and have tickets to see her again this summer) and this book had me laughing most of the way through.  She has lots of advice for being champion, and is honest about her mental health.  An insightful read.  I followed this with Cheer Up, Love by Susan Calman - I admit I didn't really know much about her before she appeared on last year's Strictly Come Dancing but I enjoyed watching her and wanted to read what she'd written.  She too is incredibly honest about her history with depression. 

Having read those two, I requested a copy of Matt Haig's Reasons to Stay Alive from the library.  It's short and powerful, recounting his story, his journey, and offering advice and practical suggestions.

In between reading these books, I requested How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne (aren't libraries brilliant?  50p to request a book).  It's the second in her Spinster Club trilogy (although I haven't read them in order and I don't think you need to) and focuses on Amber, who spends the summer in America working at a summer camp and falling in love.

Vikki recently sent me post featuring Into The Water by Paula Hawkins. I've already forgotten the characters's names.  Hmm.  What can I remember?  I think that tells you everything! I recall enjoying it, but clearly it's not been very memorable, sorry.

A book I have remembered is Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon.

Florence, who is 84, has fallen in her sheltered accommodation and is waiting to be rescued.  The book then jumps about in time as she reminisces about her past, her friends (including Elsie), and worries about the new resident who looks like someone from her youth, who died.

It's quite moving in places, covering as it does the perils of old age, the value of true friendship, and the major impact of seemingly minor events.  I enjoyed this much more than Goats and Sheep (her debut novel) and I'm looking forward to her writing more in the future.  I don't often get excited by a book cover, but I do love this one, and it positively forced me to go out and buy some Battenberg!

Once again, Ben and I have been visiting our favourite charity shop warehouse, which Vikki is currently appreciative of as I found her a knitting pattern booklet she was after for the grand sum of 20p.  I had 50p on me so I spent 30p on a book called Doctor in Love by Richard Gordon.  Published in 1957, it's a bit of a rom-com featuring a junior doctor training as a GP.  He is strongly advised to acquire a wife, and sets out to do so.  A genuinely good book and I'm on the look out for more by him.  There were two other books in the shop, but I didn't get them at the time and of course they had gone when Ben went to check for me later on that week.  Moral of the story: when you have the opportunity to buy something, do!

So, what have you been reading?


  1. Ooh, Three Things About Elsie sounds good!

    I want Sarah Millican to come to Switzerland so I can see her.

  2. I'd love to read How To Be Champion, and Cheer Up Love. I've liked Sarah Millican for ages too, and only know Susan Calman from SCD but I really liked her. Having said that I already have far too much on my to-read list already!

    1. Always the way! I read one book and four more appear to take its place.


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