Friday, 15 April 2016

My 'To Read' Pile // The Spring Edition

Happy Friday everyone! I hope this week hasn't dragged on for too long and that you've all got something relaxing planned for this weekend. I've got a lunch date with my Mum and one of our good friends penned in the diary for Sunday which I'm really looking forward to, but apart from that I haven't got much on. 

A few weeks ago now I was feeling really burnt out from having had so much academic reading over the past term and was desperately wanting to pick up some books that would get me excited about reading again. With this in mind, I popped into my local Waterstones and found a few that had either been on my book wishlist for a while or caught my eye then and there. They all look right up my street so I thought I'd share them with you today on the off chance you're looking for some new reads this Spring too!


1 // The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt - "Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and an absent father, miraculously survives a catastrophe that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Theo is tormented by longing for his mother and down the years he clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld." 

That's a gripping premise for a story if I ever heard one, right?! In January I finished The Secret History, also by Tartt, and absolutely *loved* it. If you're ever in a reading slump, Tartt is the author to go to. I had a feeling from having read The Secret History that picking up another of her novels would interest me in reading again and I was so right about this. I'm only a couple of hundred pages into The Goldfinch but I'm so intrigued to see what happens!

2 // Heartburn by Nora Ephron - "Seven months into her pregnancy, Rachel discovers that her husband is in love with another woman. The fact that the other woman has 'a neck as long as an arm and a nose as long as a thumb', is no consolation. Food sometimes is, though, since Rachel is a cookery writer, and between trying to win Mark back and wishing him dead, she offers us some of her favourite recipes. Heartburn is a roller coaster of love, betrayal, loss and - most satisfyingly - revenge."

Again, having read that blurb, how could you not want to find out what happens in this book? I've heard such amazing things about Ephron and her writing (both in novels and in writing screenplays) and have always loved reading about relationships and their intricacies so I can't wait to get stuck into this soon. 

3 // On Beauty by Zadie Smith - "Why do we fall in love with the people we do? Why do we visit our mistakes on our children? What makes life truly beautiful? Set in New England mainly and London partly, On Beauty concerns a pair of feuding families - the Belseys and the Kippses - and a clutch of doomed affairs. It puts low morals among high ideals and asks some searching questions about what life does to love. For the Belseys and the Kippses, the confusions - both personal and political - of our uncertain age are about to be brought close to home: right to the heart of the family."

I've heard a huge amount of praise for this book and so it's been on my list for a while. But it was reading those first three questions of the description in the bookshop that convinced me to take it home. I'm such a sucker for novels that discuss the big questions and really anything that looks at human nature in depth through fiction. I think these novels are where we can find pieces of ourselves and our own experiences and I don't know about you but, although I like to read to escape for a while, it's always comforting to not drift too far from the real world in being introduced to characters who have relationships which are similar to ones we recognise in real life.

4 // Get the Glow by Madeleine Shaw - "Nutritional health coach to the stars Madeleine Shaw shows you how you can transform your attitude to food and overhaul your health. With over 100 exciting, mouthwatering recipes packed with bold flavours and nutrient-rich ingredients, you'll be amazed at how easy it is to nourish your beautiful body. With inventive breakfasts, simple snacks, lunches for those on the go, speedy suppers, weekend feasts for the family and deceptively healthy desserts, this book will inspire you to fall back in love with food, life and yourself."

I've never written about cookbooks before and, while it's definitely not convential reading for me, I have been enjoying leafing through Get the Glow over the past few weeks. Coming home from uni having been catered and eaten so much crap over the past few months has actually made me crave healthy food for possibly the first time in my life... it's a miracle! A friend recommended this book to give me a bit of inspiration for new meals and, so far I've only tried a couple of dishes from it, but I've loved both of those (tomato turkey meatballs & chickpea and lentil dhal) so I thought I'd share it here. It's a little bit mad how much I'm enjoying cooking for myself while being at home and how much better I feel for eating more healthily. Madeleine Shaw seems to have such a good attitude to food and health - I really admire her take on things so if you're looking for a new cookbook I'd recommend having a look at this!

I hope these recommendations are helpful. Please let me know if you've read any of these/have used Get the Glow and what you thought, I'd love to hear your opinions!

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