My Favourite Reads of the Year So Far

Wednesday, 24 July 2019
"Wait is that Hayley writing a blog post?"

Yeah you're just as surprised as I am. My final year of uni was a toughie but I'm now a fully qualified Master of Chemistry (with Environmental and Sustainable Chemistry with Industrial Experience). Now that I'm a graduate with a nice certificate with my name on it (and the longest degree title in the world), I've got free time and really want to get this blog up and running again. You may notice it's even got a new design! I've decided to ease myself in with a little reading wrap up. Instead of including every book I've read since I stopped writing my monthly wrap-ups, I thought I'd include my favourites from what I've read so far this year. 

Almost Love by Louise O'Neill
This harsh contemporary fiction novel follows Sarah. A girl who is so hopeless in love with Matthew. But Matthew is twenty years older than her and treats her like shit. This book isn't necessarily an easy read. Sarah is frustrating. Again and again, she makes decisions that are hard to agree with. Everyone has a friend like Sarah. And at times I'm pretty sure we've all been Sarah. This book presents you with reality, like all of Louise O'Neill's books. It's harsh, raw and beautifully written.

On the Frontline With Women Who Fight Back by Stacey Dooley
In this non-fiction book, BBC journalist Stacey Dooley tells us stories of the strong women that she's met all over the world whilst making her documentaries. I'm a big fan of Stacey's documentaries but this book gave me an even greater respect for her. She can expand more in this book and share opinions/anecdotes that would have been inappropriate in a documentary. Some of the chapters in this book are heartwarming, some are heartbreaking. But after reading it, one thing stands true for all the stories: females are strong as hell. 

You and I Eat the Same by Chris Ying
This collection of essays tells stories of how food transcends cultural and political borders. What does that mean? It's hard to describe in a small paragraph. But basically, it looks at how different traditions are quite similar when you strip them down. We all wrap meat in bread (tacos, gyros, pancakes). Everyone's grandmother feeds them too much. We all love fried chicken (yet we do not all share the judgment for this). If you're interested in reading about food and the sociology of how humans interact with it, then you'll love this. 

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Time for something a little more lighthearted don't you think? This fiction novel about some of Singapore's wealthiest socialites made quite a storm as it was made into a movie last year. I went to go see it at the time, with my old flatmate, who was a massive fan of the series. The movie was fantastic, it just took me a while to get around to reading the book. This book follows several characters but really focuses on Rachel, a young Chinese-American academic who is dating Nick Young. Rachel is under the impression they are just normal young academics until Nick invites Rachel to spend the summer with his family in Singapore. When she gets there, she realizes that his family is not just rich, they're crazy rich. She also doesn't get a warm reception from his family, they think she's after his money. This book is silly, fun and the perfect easy read. 

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
This teen fiction novel follows 4 teenagers who are in detention when another student who takes an allergic reaction and dies. It's later found out that his water was laced with peanut oil and all 4 students are now suspects in his murder. Despite being a teen novel, I think the characters in this are all really well written and the mystery makes it a total page-turner. I guessed some of the twists but some of them really took me by surprise. I also really liked how the characters developed across the novel. This was a fun easy read. Something I couldn't wait to sneak away and read on my lunch break. 

And those are my 5 top favourites from what I've read this year so far! As always, leave your recommendations in the comments.

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