Recent Reads: April

This month was not stellar for me, reading wise. I don’t really know why. Maybe because I read so much (for me!) last month? Or maybe because I’ve had a jam packed few weeks of intensive 30 before 30 completion tasks. So far I’ve attempted doughnuts (fail), been to the V&A (success!) and done some UK weekend breaks.

OxburghHalllibrary

This month’s National Trust property: Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk. A beautiful moated house with a killer library. I mean, it’s got a secret door. Tell me that’s not the coolest thing?

The Secrets of Happiness, Lucy Diamond **** ¦¦ I found this book fairly similar to the last Lucy Diamond book I read, The Year of Taking Chances. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as I quite enjoyed that one too. Basically it centres around a largely female cast, getting out there and doing things for themselves. When we join the book the two main characters, stepsisters, aren’t in great shape. Throughout the course of the book we follow them as their fortunes change. This was a positive book, a bit fluffy, but left me feeling like I could do anything with my life if I wanted to.

The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman **** ¦¦ This is one of those books that people always tell you to read. Well, it’s a good book but it took me foreeeeever to get through. There’s just so much thinking and reflecting involved, there’s participation bits, you have to write down how you’re feeling… Sometimes that was all a bit much but generally I did get more of an insight into the way I work and some things that might help my marriage work better. Sometimes it was overly American (sorry) but I just tried to push past it and focus on the message. There’s also an app which I feel may be less of a faff than the book.

Never Mind, Edward St Aubyn * for story **** for writing ¦¦ Here we have a deeply, deeply unsettling book. The description was very vague, but basically it follows an ensemble cast over the course of about 24 hours. There’s lots of character development and it all builds slowly, with hints of unpleasantness from the characters, and then it all gets very disturbing.  Some pretty horrific stuff happens in this book so it’s not for the faint hearted. I did not know that was coming and am a little disturbed by it… However, the writing was done excellently and the author spears the British upper class mercilessly. It’s a really skilful piece of literature and social commentary but not pleasant to read.

Sarah Thornhill, Kate Grenville ** ¦¦ Sarah Thornhill is an early settler in Australia and this follows her life through various twists and turns. It’s got some interesting historical points about the treatment of Aboriginal people by the early settlers, and what life was like in the early days of colonisation. However, I found the main love story a bit tiresome. The ending was a bit more interesting than it could have been, but this just passed the time. I didn’t find it thrilling, unfortunately.

What did you read this month?

-Rachel

Linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books

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35 Comments

  1. Jasmine @makingrestorations
    9th May 2016 / 03:25

    Sounds like you weren’t a fan of the love languages. I read it on the beach during my honeymoon and I think that book drastically altered my relationship with my husband for the better. I might grab the secrets of happiness

    • 9th May 2016 / 21:19

      It had some good content I think, I just feel it took a lot of getting to. I am glad I read it, but I’m not in any rush to read it again! I’m glad it helped you so much though. Different strokes, etc. Maybe I’d go better with the app….

  2. Jen
    9th May 2016 / 14:40

    The Five Love Languages isn’t a favorite of mine, it took me a long time to get through it as well.

    • 9th May 2016 / 21:20

      Well I’m glad I’m not the only one! I kept wondering why it was taking me so long. It’s not a difficult book per se…

  3. 9th May 2016 / 15:44

    I’ve had Gary Chapman’s book on my shelf since I got married… 20 years ago & still havent read it 🙂 haha

    • 9th May 2016 / 21:20

      Haha! It only took me 5 so I’m taking that as a win! I’d set aside the next 20 to get through it if you’re anything like me 🙂

  4. A Mindful Migration
    9th May 2016 / 16:55

    Well, now you have me extremely curious about Never Mind but also a little scared. LOL! The Secret of Happiness sounds like a good, light summer read and I’ve been looking for some books that fit that description. Adding it to my TBR.

    • 9th May 2016 / 21:21

      Oh no it was deeply disturbing. Just… not for me. Yes The Secret of Happiness is definitely a light summer read, and it’s pleasantly English as well which I enjoyed. I like it when books reference things I know 🙂 I really hope you like it!

  5. 9th May 2016 / 17:56

    The Secrets of Happiness sounds like my type of book! I love a good chicklit book, and sometimes you just need one that’s filled with lots of fluff! Somebody gave us the 5 Love Languages book for our wedding, and I still haven’t read it almost 6 years later. I think that it would be interesting to see if I could pick up on what my husband’s love language would be.

    • 9th May 2016 / 21:23

      It was a great easy read, nice and gripping but nothing too serious. I think that’s why I took so long with the book- the content has become such common parlance in marriage preparation, church talks, etc etc that I kind of already knew what it was going to say before I read it. And I really don’t like predictability so it turns out! I might do the app instead and see if that goes better…

  6. 10th May 2016 / 12:55

    You’ve piqued my interest on Never Mind!! It sounds scintillating, horrifying, and juicy. I like all of those things in a book.

    • 10th May 2016 / 15:14

      It was very good at developing the characters and letting you get a real feel for them, and it all built up to an event which was just awful. I can’t describe it because I don’t want to get my site blocked but it was difficult subject matter let’s put it that way. Excellent writing though, but one of those utterly depressing books where everyone’s horrid.

  7. 10th May 2016 / 15:09

    Never Mind sounds like my kind of book. I like disturbing and unsettling.

    The Five Love Languages is one of those books I hear about a lot but just can’t bring myself to read.

    • 10th May 2016 / 15:16

      Well… This was one step beyond. That’s all I’ll say. I think I’d have benefited from the love languages book early on in our relationship, most of the content was a bit old news now. I guess a refresher is always a good thing but I found it tough going.

  8. 10th May 2016 / 17:18

    I liked The 5 Love Languages, but they don’t really apply well enough to us for me to relate to them. I think it’s because I like to analyze things like that with a psychology background, and my husband is a logical engineer so he just doesn’t care. haha. 🙂

    • 10th May 2016 / 22:45

      I mean I liked the principles, and I’m glad I read it, but it was very slow going! I can see how you’d struggle to apply it with that dynamic 🙂 I’m more the logical type myself but I did try and force myself to get in touch with my emotions. Maybe that’s why it was such a struggle!

  9. 10th May 2016 / 18:00

    Haha, What do you mean by overly American? Too touchy-feely? We do love our self help! 🙂 I read 5 Love Languages a long time ago and I remember thinking, I’m all of them! I’d like to be loved in ALL these ways ThankYouVeryMuch!

    • 10th May 2016 / 22:47

      It was just a bit like, “Well Betty-Sue, how did you feel when Billy-Bob mowed the yard and took out the trash for you?” “Well Gary, it made me feel really special inside because…” etc. Just contextual references to American things that we don’t really do/get over here – and yes, quite touchy feely! Not a bad thing, just a bit strange to translate to UK culture sometimes. And oh yes, all of them would be nice 🙂

    • 10th May 2016 / 22:48

      I really hope you like it! It’s a nice easy read 🙂

  10. 10th May 2016 / 20:18

    The Secrets of Happiness sounds like a nice light read! 🙂

    • 10th May 2016 / 22:48

      It is! And I do enjoy a female led cast. It was very sisters are doing it for themselves, which is always good in my books! Oh and pleasingly British 🙂

  11. 10th May 2016 / 20:24

    I have never read The Five Love Languages, but it cracks me up that it was very American. Never mind sounds good but I don’t know how much disturbing I can handle.

    • 10th May 2016 / 22:49

      If you’re not sure how much disturbing you can handle then DEFINITELY don’t read it. Just very out there subject matter. Like, it wasn’t overly descriptive or gory or anything just contained an event that was very shocking. Anyway.

      The love languages book was extremely American! My friend has the audiobook and says it’s even worse, haha.

  12. 10th May 2016 / 21:58

    i have that 5 love languages book on my shelf, i know a bit about it but now i really want to read it to see if i agree with your overly american opinion hahaha

    • 10th May 2016 / 22:50

      Ha! I actually would like you to read it and tell me what you think, is it just me? Or are you now assimilated into the culture and you’ll think it’s totally normal?!

      • 11th May 2016 / 16:58

        hahaha dont worry, i still think americans are weird 😉 just kidding americans, calm down. i’ll read it and let you know!

        • 11th May 2016 / 23:13

          Cool thanks! I look forward to your verdict 🙂

  13. 11th May 2016 / 00:04

    A friend gave me the 5 languages of love years ago, and I read it. But, I honestly remember not one lesson from it.
    I’ve never read Kate Greenville, but an Australian friend of mine has made me promise I will read A Secret River (I think that’s the name) because it’s her favorite book.

    • 11th May 2016 / 23:09

      Ha! Maybe you knew them all already?!

      The Kate Greenville I read was an audiobook, and sometimes it’s the narration that I don’t get along with I think. So I might try a real book version of A Secret River and see how I go with that. I so wanted to like it!

  14. 11th May 2016 / 01:15

    I’ve never actually read The Five Love Languages book, but when my husband and I were taking “couples coaching” classes prior to our wedding, our officiant took some things from that for a couple of the lessons. We both actually thought it was pretty helpful and interesting, though I don’t know how either of us would feel about reading an entire book devoted to it!

    • 11th May 2016 / 23:10

      Yes that’s exactly what happened to us, and we found them really useful too. I think that’s why the book fell a bit flat for me, because we’d already heard all the best bits! There was just a lot of explanation and going away and thinking about things when I just wanted the applications, if you know what I mean?

  15. 11th May 2016 / 21:04

    i’m hoping to read the 5 love languages soon! I’m getting married in January so there’s no time like the present! my parents (who have been married 35 years) still reference it all the time, so it’s gotta have at least some useful content in it 🙂

    • 11th May 2016 / 23:12

      Ooh congrats in advance for January! It does definitely have some useful content, I just found a fair bit of filler in there as well which made it drag for me. Also we heard a lot of the content in our marriage preparation classes. But don’t let me put you off!

  16. 16th May 2016 / 19:21

    I read the Love Languages a while ago. I think I was in a relationship-book phase when I also read Men are from Mars and I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Anywho, I think it’s a great book with good practical stuff!

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