Friday 13 April 2018


What I Read in March 2018 – Round-Up & Mini Reviews

After reading just four books in February, in March I smashed through my TBR a little quicker again (though, to be fair, a few of the reads were quite short). Unfortunately I'd picked up some titles on a whim and they weren't quite for me. But despite March being a month of reading highs and lows, the ones I enjoyed, I REALLY enjoyed. Particular highlights include the essays in Notes on Nationalism by George Orwell, the beautiful nature descriptions in The Last Wilderness by Neil Ansell, and Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl, which is a highly imaginative YA set in limbo.

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim (Penguin Living)

This book comprises of a series of inspiring essays by Zen Buddhist teacher and author Haemin Sunim, interspersed with thought provoking quotes by him and other influential people in the world of mindfulness. Alongside these there is also stunning art by Youngcheol Lee, which not only beautifully compliments the writing but provides a serene backdrop for contemplation in its own right. Divided in eight distinctive chapters this is a book that can be read back to front (like I did to be able to review it), but I would advise instead to dip in and out of relevant chapters depending on your own current needs. That way you can soak up the inspiring words much better and apply the teachings and ideas within your own life, rather than all of the advice and 'aha' moments blending together. I'll definitely be returning to a few of the chapters that are particularly poignant to my own life right now to be able to get more value out of the wise words captured within. (Read my full review.) 4 stars. Get your copy here.

The Last Wilderness by Neil Ansell (Tinder Press)

Neil Ansell's astute observations and eloquent descriptions of his solitary journey through the remote Scottish highlands was a sheer delight to experience – bringing a sense of calm to my hectic days with the sheer power of his words. Even to someone like me who cannot possible imagine leaving modern amenities behind for the wild, his writings about the tranquil landscape and animal life he came across on his path sounded like a very tempting alternative to having my weeks and months fly by in a busy city where the bird sounds are drowned out by human noise. What I particularly enjoyed within this memoir was Ansell recounting travel stories from throughout his life, linking, for example, an animal encounter in the present to one from years before on a different continent. Having spend some time in similar places to Ansell I recognised certain locations, but his perceptive observations far exceeded my own, creating a far richer experience; even second-hand through his wonderful words. (Read my full review.) 4.5 stars. Get your copy here.

Notes on Nationalism by George Orwell (Penguin)

Part of the new collection of Penguin Modern Classics (of which each title is just £1), the very first I knew I had to pick up was Notes on Nationalism by George Orwell. Having only ever read 1984 (one of my all-time favourite books) and Animal Farm (back in school) by this author, I was interested to see how his voice would translate to non-fiction – and it's phenomenal. Of course his political and social ideologies weren't exactly hidden in his fiction novels, but reading his blunt analysis on nationalism, antisemitism and the behaviour that comes with fanatical sport supporters was enlightening and eerily apt for where our society is (yet again) in 2018. A must-read for anyone to create a greater understanding of the deep-seethed prejudices that while perhaps not spoken out loud still persevere today. 5 stars. Get your copy here.

When I Loved Myself Enough by Kim McMillen (Pan MacMillen)

This is a tiny little book that packs a powerful punch. Starting out as a hand-made gift to friends and family, Kim McMillen has collected years of her wisdom within the pages. When she passed away, her daughter Alison continued the tradition, slowly creating a best-selling book in America through the sheer power of word of mouth. In snippets of text it shows one women's journey to self-acceptance and finding happiness, while at the same time providing an incredibly amount of insight for others to take to heart. The words of wisdom don't follow a linear journey, making this the perfect book to dip in and out of when you're in need of a spark of inspiration or a boost to your happiness. I did find that the inspirational words that helped Kim didn't resonate with me personally (especially the religious elements) but I can see that this can be a very helpful little collection for the right person. 3 stars. Get your copy here.

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl (Scholatic)

I thought this was going to be a cool and interesting read as it focuses on a group of teenagers that after getting into a car accident end up in limbo, but it was a far more layered and unexpected book than it even sounds from that short description. I've never read anything quite like it and as I was uncovering its mysteries alongside protagonist Bee and her friends I was continuously in awe with author Marisha Pessl's world building and imagination. Not to mention the frighteningly realistic impact their bizarre and uncertain situation had on the characters' change in behaviour and inhibition; like a supernatural social experiment. Neverworld Wake is unlike any other book I've ever read, YA or otherwise, and it's all the better for it. It's eerie, intriguing and extremely well put together, it'll have you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. Out on June 7. 4.5 stars. Pre-order your copy here.

Savage Island by Bryony Pearce (Little Tiger Press)

A group of teens join a competition on a remote island without any way to communicate with the outside world for three whole days until one team wins the game and with it a lot of money – and some of them are willing to do anything to get there. This book was a whirlwind and fast-paced read, that actually got my heart racing just by reading it! From everything I had heard about this novel before going in, I should've known that I was in for a shocking and horrific read, but despite all the signs pointing to doom and gloom, I was right there with the main characters at the start, hopeful that they'd be going on an exciting adventure rather than one that might kill them all. While Savage Island was a bit too gory for my liking, it was also eerily realistic in its execution – and absolutely unputdownable. 3.5 stars. Get your copy here.

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (Hodder Children's)

I picked this one up purely for its enticing cover and the fact that Jennifer Mathieu's previous book released in the UK, Moxie, received such a positive buzz in the book blogging community but man I really didn't get on with this one much at all. The story focuses on Alice, a teenage girl in Texas who allegedly slept with two guys in one night at a party and was texting one of the guys while he was drunk driving leading to his death. Not only is 99% of the book slut shaming and blaming Alice for the guy's accident (but absolutely no negativity towards the guys involved or about drunk driving), but there was also no depth to any of the characters. The only redeeming quality in the book is Kurt who does not go along with everyone and gives Alice a chance, but even he was stereotyped as the no-friends geek that the rest of the school avoids. And despite his kind attitude there was little depth to his story in the end either. 2.5 stars. Get your copy here.

Have you read any of the above books? And what did you read in March?
Let me know in the comments below!

🎵 Listening to: Jason Mraz – I Won't Give Up
🔹 Mood: Tired


  1. Like the sound of The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim

    1. I really enjoyed that one, definitely pick it up if you can! :)


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