It is autumn here and it has rained a lot lately, that means I’ve had a lot of time indoors to read. I’ve strayed outside of my normal reading habits the last two months. Some of the books I found in the office, one was given to me and a couple I chose myself. As a result it was a mixed bag in terms of enjoyment. Some were good and some less so…
+ The Noise of Time, Julian Barnes
My dad bought this for me which was lovely because books are the best gifts. It was however a bleak book. It is sort of biographical fiction and focuses on the life of composer Dmitri Shostakovich who lived his whole life in Russia under the rule of the Soviet Union.
It is a story about this one man’s life and his constant struggle between making the music he wants to make and keeping himself and his family safe under an oppressive regime that believed all art must appeal to the masses. It’s about the decisions he makes under difficult circumstances, cowardice, integrity, fear, regret and aging.
I like Julian Barnes writing, though sometimes he can come across as pretentious and sometimes I find him downright boring (I would pay money not to have to read Arthur & George again but would read The Sense of an Ending time and time again.) I would recommend this one though.
+ Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry
This book was lying around my office so I decided to pick it up and give it a go. The book goes through the basic 4 tenants of emotional intelligence: self awareness, social awareness, self management and relationship management and shows you how you can master all of these areas to be a better employee, manager and/ or all round better person.
I liked the structure of this book, the information is very digestable without being too repetitive. While some of the ideas were not new to me, I feel as though I learnt a fair bit. There are a few practices I will be trying to implement and I think this would be good reading for most people in the workplace. I don’t think it would hurt anyone just to think a little more about how your your emotions effect others and in turn help to build better relationships with others.
+ How Full is Your Bucket, Tom Rath
This book was also lying around my office but I wish I hadn’t picked it up. It took me about 5 hours to read and it was good that it didn’t take me any longer because during that five hours my boyfriend asked me “how full is your bucket Emma?” about ten times.
The basic premise of this book is that if you fill other peoples bucket, you’ll have a full bucket (a full bucket = happiness). While I reckon that’s a great premise, the book doesn’t dig too much deeper than that and I don’t think I should have given it 5 hours of my life.
+ The Hand That First Held Mine, Maggie O’Farrell
This book was £1 on the kindle bookstore and it seemed ok so I thought I would try it. There are two story lines, one following a couple in the present day who’ve just had a baby and are trying to manage their new life and a young girl in the 60s who moves away from her native Devon to try her luck in London. These two stories eventually intertwine and we have some drama but it took awhile to get to that point.
This book was ok, nothing mind blowing, just ok. There are a few good passages and there were moments where I found myself getting into it. However the story was a bit slow and I didn’t think this was compensated by great writing. Some of the characters were flat and some quite far fetched. I was mainly relieved when it ended.
+ Breath, Tim Winton
This book is about surfing and a man looking back on his experience of growing up. These are not themes that would normally be of interest to me but I picked this up mainly because of the author. I first heard about Tim Winton when I lived in Australia as he is basically a national treasure there and everyone says wonderful things about his writing. Breath was the was the first book of his that I read.
I can now say myself that Winton’s writing is mesmerising. His characters are complex but relatable and his writing is so descriptive that reading this I had such a clear picture of how those massive waves looked and I could feel the emotions and fear of the boys as they paddled out to ride them.
I really enjoyed this book and while reading it I felt as though I had been transported to the West Coast of Australia. I imagine if you are male and you like surfing you would get this book even more.
Now I am not sure what to read next. Recommendations please!