I’ve been reading a lot recently.
This is largely thanks to easy access to audiobooks via the BorrowBox app and my local library.
If you’re not familiar with BorrowBox, I strongly recommend checking it out. Basically, you download the app, sign in using your library card and pin number, and you get instant access to all the eBooks and audiobooks that your library has to offer.
I’ve been wanting to start listening to audiobooks for ages, but I was reluctant to sign up to a subscription service due to the cost. BorrowBox is a free app and there are absolutely no in-app charges. It’s genuinely free. Plus, you don’t have to worry about late-fees with your library, because the book just times out and returns itself when your loan has finished (unless you renew your loan, of course).
I should mention that I’m not at all being sponsored by BorrowBox or anyone else for this post! I just absolutely love the app and want to share it with others.
So, what have I been reading?
I recently broke into the forties in my Goodreads Challenge for 2020, but today I’m going to focus on the top five books that I’ve read so far this year (5/5 stars).
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Founded in 2004, the PostSecret project was an important part of my teenage years. People would anonymously mail their secrets on a postcard to Frank Warren in Maryland, USA. Frank would then upload the postcards to the PostSecret website every Sunday.
This book is a huge collection of some of the secrets Frank received over the years. With a mixture of sadness and humour, the secrets range from the relatable to the bizarre. I loved this project when I was younger and reading this book inspired a bittersweet nostalgia of teenage angst and self-discovery.
As the last poem in this audiobook ended, I sat, exhausted and speechless. Aija takes the reader on an incredibly powerful journey from girlhood to womanhood, made all the more brilliant by her commanding performance of each poem.
Struggling to form coherent sentences to review the book, I simply listed the following words:
Powerful. Resounding. Confident. Deliberate. Booming. Strength in softness. Explosion. Relatable. Empowering. Unapologetic. Camaraderie. Sisterhood. Hope.
I sped through this 12-hour audiobook in two breathless sittings. Tara Westover tells the unbelievable true story of growing up in rural Idaho, where her parents believed that the apocalypse was imminent, that herbal remedies would cure anything from third-degree burns to a traumatic brain injury, and that things like attending public schools and having birth certificates were entirely unnecessary for their children.
I listened to the audiobook, which really made the story come alive, but it wasn’t just the voice acting. Tara’s words paint an exquisite portrait of pain and joy, grief and celebration, fear and security, ignorance and enlightenment, as she smashes through numerous overwhelming barriers to get the education for which she longed.
Trigger warnings for physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual abuse, graphic violence, animal abuse, death, trauma, and I’m probably missing out more potential triggers but basically, it’s an incredibly raw, brutally honest book, so take care.
This one is relatively short, but don’t let its brevity fool you into thinking it’s an easy read. It’s a powerful story of a sibling bond that transcends death; a poignant tale of grief, love, and letting go.
This story touched me in a way that I really didn’t expect. It’s beautifully written and I absolutely raced through it but didn’t want it to end. Be ready for tears – my eyes were certainly not dry by the end of this book.
Trigger warning for death/bereavement.
Well, here we are – the best book I have read so far this year. I wrestled with my decision to make it my number one because this audiobook inspired in me a rage I didn’t know I could feel.
Packed with real-life stories of sexism – from the irritating to the terrifying – Laura Bates has selected just a few of the myriad of stories she has received since she founded the Everyday Sexism Project in 2012.
If you’re ready to get angry, to learn, to grow, and to join the fight against sexism, you need to read this book.
Trigger warnings for sexism, misogyny, and sexual harassment.
Have you read any of the books on my list? What are your top five for the year so far? Let me know in the comments.