2016 Books ~ Chapter 3


There’s something deliciously indulgent about jumping into another world, tucked under a blanket with a hot drink and my favourite scented candle burning in the background. July to September feels like a distant memory as I get cosy and dip into the depths of autumn. It’s just so easy to forget one season and embrace the next when it’s as beautiful as autumn.

But for one post, I’m  going to travel back in time and attempt to remember what I was reading as the summer reached its peak and the sunshine stretched into September (it’s hard to believe we had a bit of a heatwave!)

The Girls – Emma Cline

I definitely got caught up in the hype when this book launched, to the extent that when I eventually came round to reading it some weeks after downloading I couldn’t remember what it was about. Evie’s story swings between her adolescent youth in the 1960s and the present day. Her past recollections of life as a teenager in Northern California, easily sucked into a cult as she tries to figure out adolescence in the wake of her parents separation, draw you into a dark and murky world.

It took me a little while to get into the book, but about a third of the way in I was strangely hooked. It makes you feel uncomfortable in so many ways, perhaps there’s a reminder of the awkward phase of being a teenager in there, but mostly it’s in the details, the way the cult survives, the gross male characters and the violence that ensues. It’s dark and intense. I think the switch between past and present stops it from becoming just another teenage angst story. It’s difficult to say whether I liked it, but I thought it was well-written and an era I’d not really come across before.

You might like it if you enjoyed The Goldfinch.

Everything I Never Told You – Celeste NG

I think this book came up either on Goodreads or Amazon. Whilst the story revolves around Lydia, the family favourite, her death unravels the family dynamic and reveals her parents’ persuit for the things they could never achieve themselves, whilst raising the question of race in modern society.

I really enjoyed this book. Whilst I felt the reaction to Lydia’s death by her father was a little predictable and disappointing, I liked how the story looks back over the path the parents have taken and how it shapes their childrens’. At the same time, it explores a difficult family dynamic that covers three generations. It also considers what it was like being an ethnic minority in the US both now and in the past.

It’s hard to compare this to another book, but I think you’d like it if you’ve read some of the other books I’ve shared on the blog.

My Grammar and I – Caroline Taggart

I had a goal to read a few non-fiction books that might help develop my skills. I decided to focus on grammar because although I think I know it pretty well, I’m not all that confident about some of the more tricky aspects.

My Grammar and I is written in a light-hearted tone, similar to that of Eats, Shoots and Leaves, which makes it much easier to read. It covers quite a lot of detail in a fairly short number of pages and I’ll definitely be going back to it again. The only thing I realised was, as nerdy as it sounds, I felt like I needed an exercise book to test whether I properly understood some of it and could apply it in practice.

If you want to brush up your grammar, not just your punctuation, and learn a little history about the English language along the way you should try this book.

Behind Closed Doors – B A Paris

A friend of mine recommended this book after a summer shout out for book titles on Facebook. I downloaded it in a sale sometime in June and it was only in September that I actually got round to reading it. A thriller seemed like the perfect book for reading under the covers as the temperature turned. Grace falls into the trap of a seemingly perfect marriage, only to find out that her husband isn’t all that he seemed.

The story doesn’t have a lot of depth or anything particularly noteworthy, except that it’s an absolute page-turner. I was pretty gripped from the beginning and read it in just a few days.

It’s not as good as Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, but I think you’d like it if you’ve read and enjoyed those books.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? As always, please do share any recommended books in the comments below!

I was quite excited to realise when writing this post that I’ve already read 12 books this year! I’ve covered 11 books in blog posts and I’m currently on my 13th book of 2016. I’ve really noticed how my approach to finding my next book has made such a difference in how much I read.

I downloaded the Goodreads app (iPhone/Android) recently and this has been great for checking out books I’ve seen whilst on the go (I’m always nosey about the books other people are reading on the tube!) Maybe I should double my target next year?!




  1. October 30, 2016 / 8:08 am

    Oooh you are going well! I aimed much too high with my goal for this year – but maybe with the holiday I can catch up a bit 🙂 I just finished the second book in the Hangman’s Daughter series, which I really enjoy because it’s well-written but fairly light. I’m about to start The Girls and I too have largely forgotten what it’s about, so now I’m looking forward to diving in!

    • ThisCityLifeLondon
      October 30, 2016 / 11:03 am

      Always better to aim high! I reckon you’ll get through a good few books with long hall flights and the Christmas holidays! I think all the travel for hen dos and weddings has helped me a lot this year!

      I haven’t read a series for a while and the Hangman’s Daughter looks interesting. I’ve just remembered you’re recommendation for the Invisible Library series too. Plenty to keep me going! 😃