My resolution to read more in 2017 is going well so far (one book down, nineteen to go!) Here is my reading list for this year.
Five on Brexit Island (Enid Blyton for Grown-Ups) by Bruno Vincent (Out Now)
This was a Christmas present from my lovely sister. She knows how political I am and how obsessed I’ve been with Brexit since the referendum, so I’m not surprised she picked it up for me.
We join The Famous Five on the morning after the Brexit vote. George, furious at the result, declares independence for her beloved Kirrin Island. Another referendum is on the cards, and one angry tweet causes the Five to hit the headlines. Naturally, chaos ensues!
At first, I found the superior tone of this book irritating. It does get better though; it shines a light on just how ridiculous the whole referendum business is, and after all, taking the piss is how the British cope with trauma! It’s very nostalgic and it did feel good to be back with The Famous Five again for the first time since childhood.
I gave Five on Brexit Island 3 stars.
The Happiness Riddle and the Quest for a Good Life by Mark Cieslik (Out Now)
This is a textbook by my dissertation supervisor. I did his module on the sociology of happiness and wellbeing last year and I loved it so I’ve been waiting impatiently for this book to come out. I bought the e-book from the Palgrave MacMillan website with a £30 off discount code (thanks Dean!) The book presents a sociological analysis of happiness and wellbeing. It explores questions like what is happiness? What makes us happy in modern society? Can we make our own happiness or are our wellbeing levels controlled by our social circumstances? I forgot how much concentration academic reading can take, but I’m fascinated by the way society tells us how to be happy, so I can’t wait to get stuck in!
My interest in society’s obsession with happiness is also reflected in my next two books.
Happy: Finding joy in every day and letting go of perfect by Fearne Cotton (UK release: 9th February 2017)
The aim of this book is to give the reader ‘practical ways of finding joy in each and every day.’ I feel slightly dubious about this one as the sociologist in me is sceptical of the value of self-help books and the celebrity culture in which even TV and radio presenters are releasing books on wellbeing. I’m still excited to see what it’s like though, as I’ve been watching Fearne since I was tiny and I really admire her so I want to see how her experiences of depression and happiness shape her advice.
Happy Mum, Happy Baby: My adventures in motherhood by Giovanna Fletcher (UK release: 23rd February 2017)
This one isn’t an advice book, but a memoir on Gi’s experiences of being a mum. I adore the whole Fletcher family. Tom, Giovanna’s husband, is my favourite musician and Carrie, her sister in-law, is an awesome actress and writer. All three of them also make fantastic YouTube videos. I am in awe of how generous Giovanna and Tom are in sharing photos and videos of their sons Buzz and Buddy. Their antics and giggles always put a massive smile on my face! I can’t wait to read more about Giovanna’s experiences as a mum and find out her opinions on what makes a happy family.
The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry (Out Now)
This book examines what it means to be masculine, and explores ways that society could reshape masculinity to make the world a better place. It’s another sociological one. I’m interested in what defines ‘manliness’ and how stereotypes contribute to the ongoing problem of sexism. I’ve seen Grayson Perry’s documentaries on class and D/deafness and I thought they were really interesting and accessible so I’m looking forward to reading his take on this subject.
All That She Can See by Carrie Hope Fletcher (UK release: 13th July 2017)
Do you see what I mean about loving the Fletchers?! I don’t know much about this book as no synopsis has been released yet, but I enjoyed the warmth and magic in Carrie’s previous works, so I’m just as excited for this one!
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson (UK release: some time in 2017)
Maureen is probably my favourite author. She writes stories about teenage girls that go on awesome adventures and generally kick ass. This one is about Stevie Bell, a girl who enrols in Ellingham Academy, a school for the most gifted of students, and ends up attempting to solve murders both past and present. I’m intrigued by the mystery in this book, and I can never put Maureen’s novels down, so I’m sure this one won’t disappoint!
Kid Normal by Greg James and Chris Smith (UK release: 13th July 2017)
Greg James is my favourite DJ and Chris Smith reads the news and generally helps out on his show (he’s often funnier than Greg!) They can be incredibly silly, but they are so funny and warm. Their radio shows and podcasts have helped me through many a difficult time over the years so I’m thrilled that they are releasing a book together. Kid Normal is a children’s book about a young boy named Murph who is accidentally enrolled in superhero school but finds he has no special powers. I love works that challenge what it means to be normal and celebrate difference so I’m especially looking forward to this one.
That’s what’s on the top of my reading pile for 2017. Tell me if you want to see full reviews of these books on the blog, and please let me know if you have any recommendations on what I should be reading this year!