A mini round-up of March books! And a popular controversial one by HRH…
This has the tendency to split parties, but instead of being careful to fit both sides of the argument, I can’t lie when I say I am so on the fence, and have been ever since the Megxit Netflix series came out. It’s very difficult to judge when we’re only hearing one side of the story, which is probably all we’ll ever hear.
I can only imagine how difficult and boring it is to be born into royal life – much like this book at the start. He takes ages to get to the point (if there is one) and much of the content is everything we’ve heard in the media and TV series. To me it came across as annoying and whiney, with the first two-thirds being quite dull. Unsurprisingly the final part where Meghan is introduced is a bit more interesting as he provides an insight into the beef of events that have happened over the last few years.
The whole premise of wanting privacy and then doing a TV series and book deal screams hypocrisy, but then I can understand wanting to speak out after decades of being told to keep schtum, especially where racism is involved. Reading parts of that was awful, where it’s clear how the British media can brainwash us.
It’s quite sad that such family dealings have aired in the media, where he no longer speaks to them as much – but it’s no surprise: who knows how those conversations will be used as ammo in future revelations?!
My (slight) sympathy continues: imagine being born into such bureaucracy, where the line between family and duty/royalty is so fine, if not there at all. No thank you!
Overall, it seems the media need to stop giving them coverage, but at the same time, they should probably stop feeding off the stories to ‘stay relevant’. Surely they’ve already run out of stories/content for future books, TV series and what not?
The Discomfort Zone by Farrah Storr*
This is one of the better self-help books I’ve read, but not the best. Sadly, Storr’s book has been on my bedside for over 2 months, my bookmark stuck right in the middle as I’ve got distracted by other books (what’s new?). As the title suggests, this is about pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone: get comfortable with being uncomfortable and you’ll grow. I’d like to think I’ve subconsciously done this throughout my teens and career, where the way to get ahead is to keep pushing through, adjust your mindset and get feedback from others. I also like her use of anecdotes of business leaders and athletes and how they’ve got to the top of their game.
The teeny bit that grated me was the irony that this is the former editor of Women’s Health and Cosmopolitan magazines, yet there were multiple spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, including facts. I’m pretty certain the 2012 Olympics happened in the UK and NOT Rio de Janeiro… Nor am I a fan of ‘you should do this! Try that!’ as she sometimes did. Anyway, I digress.
Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors*
As a result of the hype and flamboyant title, I presumed this would be a literary fiction book. You’d think one would be used to not judging a book by its cover by now, so more fool me as this turned out to be one of my favourites book of the year so far. I was relieved to see it is in fact a mixed, joyous piece of fiction which follows Cleo and Frank. I have a feeling Cleo portrays the author’s own life living between the UK and New York, but whether the same could be said for it being the truth, I don’t know.
Set in the early 2000s, it follows young British Cleo who is at a New Year’s Eve party in NYC, where she bumps into Frank, 20 years older than her. They end up hitting it off and – getting married! It’s handy it so happens when she needs a green card, but then follows them (and their friends’ lives) through married life, the ups and downs, betrayals and revelations. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Novelist as a Vocation by Haruki Murakami*
A recommendation by my favourite multi-hyphenate Emma Gannon. Surprisingly, I’d not heard of the famous Murakami, but this ended up being my favourite book of 2023 so far. It’s like having a long coffee with him, where his recollection of becoming an author is full of wit, wisdom and unpretentiousness. Part memoir, part manifesto for budding writers, it’s very chatty and inspirational, where I found myself nodding and ‘mm hm’ing very frequently, engrossed to see my own feelings felt by someone else.
‘You write because it’s who you are.’
Even though I’m not a novelist, I related to pretty much everything he said. For instance, he recalls writing a chapter, losing it and then rewriting it, over fear it wouldn’t be ‘as good’ as the first draft. I’ve experienced this and, like him, ended up finding the original, only to find the rewrite is much better (of course). That’s why the draft and review process takes so long – but is so worth it.
Overall, it provides hope, something waning a little for me.
The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano by Donna Freitas*
Another Emma Gannon recommendation, based on the ‘what-ifs’ of being child-free. It follows super savvy, headstrong Rose, but throughout 9 different versions of her life due to slight adjustments in certain events: if she had a baby; not had a baby; had a baby and cheated; stayed with her husband; left her husband, and so on.
The story is quite repetitive, but Freitas manages to balance this with and show the different sides of what could have been.
It turns out Rose needs to look beyond having a baby and more so at the growing problem with her husband Luke, no matter the situation.
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