Recent Reads: January

Given that January sucks, you’d have thought I might at least have got some good reading done. Turns out, not so much. So this is a nice brief list for any of you who are time poor. My most recommended are the two at the top.

Books and chocolate. Standard.

Always the Children – Anne Watts ***** ¦¦ This is a memoir written by Anne Watts, a nurse from Wales who ended up working all over the world from war zones to refugee camps, primarily with children. It does follow her life in chronological order, but it’s not a strict autobiography because there are some chunks of time that are skipped over, or missed. That’s ok though, because the scenes she does describe are so vivid, and she does so without judgement or political motivation either way. I found this both interesting and eye opening, and although the writing wasn’t the absolute best (it was a little repetitive at times), I’ll forgive it because the content was so good.

Seriously… I’m Kidding – Ellen DeGeneres ***** ¦¦ Another non-autobiography; in fact this isn’t even a memoir at all. It’s just a random collection of outpourings from the brain of Ellen, who I find hilarious. I listened to this as an audiobook, which I’d highly recommend because things are always better read by the author, plus she’s tweaked it to make it funnier for the audiobook, plus it’s Ellen. I found this a brilliant piece of light relief, and it had me laughing out loud as I walked. This is especially good if you need cheering up and not to think about anything hard for a bit.
Beth Chatto’s Garden Notebook – Beth Chatto *** ¦¦ As part of gearing up to being able to read normal books again, I started off slowly with a nice book about plants. This really is a book about gardening. If you don’t like gardening or plants in any way then move along, there’s nothing for you here. I don’t have a garden but I do like plants a reasonable amount, and I found this a nicely comforting amble through English things.
Mrs. Zant and the Ghost – Wilkie Collins *** ¦¦ This was a free short story from Audible and I’ve included it because why not. It was pretty entertaining, although the best thing was that it was read by Gillian Anderson. If you’ve got Audible and you can download this for free, go ahead. It was a pleasant way to spend an hour and a half.
The Year of Taking Chances – Lucy Diamond **** ¦¦ This was my first book of the year and it was very fitting. It follows the lives of three women who meet by chance one NYE and whose lives become entwined with each other. I enjoyed the fact that the book contained relatable yet strong female characters, and even though it was a happily-ever-after type of book it was done relatively sympathetically. This one I listened to as well, and the narrator was annoying so I recommend reading this one or not picking the Audible version!
Chasing the Dragon: One Woman’s Struggle Against the Darkness of Hong Kong’s Drug Den – Jackie Pullinger *** ¦¦ This was a holiday read, and I had finished it by the time I got off the plane. Oops. It’s another non-fiction, this time following the exploits of Jackie Pullinger as she tries to work with heroin addicts and their families in the infamous walled city of Hong Kong back in the 60’s and 70’s. Whilst there were some fantastic stories of people coming to faith, it got a little repetitive after a while and I’d have welcomed some reflection on what was going on on a deeper level.So there we have it. I’m slowly gearing back up to reading again in 2016, and the good new is I think I’m ready to start reading real books again! Wish me luck.


Life According to Steph


  1. Kerri Taylor
    9th February 2016 / 14:30

    good roundup! that first one sounds interesting – i think i could get into it 🙂

    xoxo cheshire kat

  2. 9th February 2016 / 14:43

    yay good luck with real books! the year of taking chances sounds right up my alley.

  3. 9th February 2016 / 14:49

    Love audiobooks from comedians. I bet Ellen’s book would be really funny.

  4. 9th February 2016 / 17:14

    I read Ellen’s book a while back and seriously loved it. I mean, it’s Ellen! And she’s hilarious on paper too. Always the Children sounds really interesting too, thanks for sharing!

  5. Jen
    9th February 2016 / 18:40

    I am slacking big time in the reading department, maybe once baby comes I will start again haha.

  6. 10th February 2016 / 10:25

    The Hong Kong Walled city was not just infamous in the 60s and 70s. David and I lived and worked in Hong Kong in the late 80s and the Walled City was pretty infamous then too. It was one of the few places we never went simply because it was much too dangerous for ‘gweilos’ to enter. I’m going to track down Chasing the Dragon – it sounds like a great read.

  7. Kristin
    13th February 2016 / 15:04

    No shame in Audible. I’ve listened to two books already this month just by painting walls and walking dogs. Not to mention commuting.
    And candy on the side, too, is always good.

Leave a Reply

Just so you know, I reply to comments via email so we can continue the conversation. Catch you in your inbox!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *