Top Reads of 2016 (so far..)

I’ve read some great books so far this year, in fact I don’t think I read a dud! So I thought I’d pick my top three reads so far:

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

What can I say about this one? I loved every page, every word, every second. I’ve seen the film a number of times and loved that too, but I didn’t expect just how much I was going to enjoy the book. I actually read it through twice! I didn’t realise that it was a true story and that made it all the more enjoyable, knowing that these amazing characters are actually real and that Susanna Kaysen lived this experience.

For those of you who don’t know the story, Susanna is an 18 year old who finds herself in a psychiatric hospital after a brief visit to a psychiatrist in 1967. She’s initially sent there to get some rest to deal with depression, but ends up staying there for 2 years with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. She has some clear psychological issues (a previous attempted suicide and self harm by ‘wrist banging’) but overall I could sympathise with a lot of her other ‘symptoms’ – such as apathy and promiscuity. I think that these traits are normal for a lot of 18-year-old girls (and some 29 year olds at that!) It got me to thinking that if I lived in 1967 would I be considered mentally ill? I’m single, not looking for a boyfriend, don’t have a clear career path, pretty much apathetic to most things (apart from fiction, obviously!) and at stages in my life I have been what would have definitely been classed as promiscuous! Her story made me imagine what it would be like to be away from society for years, living with women with a range of issues, from Lisa the self diagnosed sociopath to Daisy who lives off a diet of roast chicken and laxatives. I wonder whether these girls would be much different to the people we spend time with everyday, other than the fact that their issues are laid out in front of us for all to see?

I must confess, the Forensic Psychologist in me might have analysed this text a bit too much, but for the non-psychologists I would still thoroughly recommend this book! It’s very short and can be read in one sitting – consider it for your next train journey!

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies is the perfect mixture of comedy, drama with a bit of thrill thrown in. I’m a sucker for book with a strong female lead, and this one gives you three. Madeline is flamboyant, overbearing but good willed. Celeste, Madeline’s best friend, is rich, beautiful whose perfect life might not be as it seems. Jane is a nervous single mother new to the area who is taken under Madeline’s wing.

We know from the beginning that someone has died at a parents evening, but we don’t know who, or how, other than Madeline, Celeste and Jane are probably involved. This book explores the role that secrets play in each of the characters lives, and how these affect themselves and others. I was gripped until the end and would highly recommend this to anyone looking for an engrossing page turner – the perfect holiday read (preferably the Bahamas which is where I read it!)

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Gerald’s Game by Stephen King

Obviously I had to get a Stephen King book in here! I had actually tried to read Gerald’s Game a number of years ago but couldn’t get into it so I wasn’t 100% looking forward to this one, but I decided to give it a go anyway. And I am so pleased that I did! This book follows the story of Jessie who is in a deadly compromising position. Her and her husband Gerald have gone to their lake house to have kinky sex. Things get out of hand and Jessie accidentally kills Gerald, leaving her handcuffed to the bed alone with only the body of her dead husband and a starving stray dog to keep her company. Or at least that’s what it seems until Jessie suspects something else might be keeping her company. The story follows her physical struggle to release herself from the handcuffs, and her emotion struggle with traumatic memories that come floating back.

This book has the scariest moment of any King book I have read and left me reeling for days. The story is very uncomfortable at times but it is really worth sticking with it if you have the stomach for it. Definitely not one to choose if you are looking for light read!

 

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