THE PRETTY NORMAL ME BOOK BAG: NOVEMBER 2018

Hellooo, it’s your resident life-gets-in-the-way-a-bit-too-often-but-god-do-I-love-reading book lover here, with a list of cracking books currently filling my book bag for you to get stuck into this November.

Eat, Drink, Run – Bryony Gordon

This is Bryony’s third book, her first being The Wrong Knickers, her second being Mad Girl and since I adored them both, I knew I would love this one too

This book is the story how Bryony battled her alcoholism and trained to run the London Marathon (in her own words, she signed up for it at a time when she couldn’t even run for the bus), all in the same year.

I am inclined to blame Bryony and this book for my recent decision to run my own marathon (oh did I not mention that I signed up to run Edinburgh marathon next year??? read about it here!!) – to say she is inspiring would be a gross under exaggeration.

Anyone who feels they might need a kick up the arse that feels a bit like a warm cuddle, this is a book for you.

I read the hardback, it has since come out in paperback but I reckon it would make a really great audiobook too.

The Goldfinch – Donna Tart

This is a book that all the ‘book people’ in my life seem to have read, which is always a good sign. It’s massive and it’s beautiful. A huge story in so many senses of the world.

Although it’s an easy read, a fictional story following the tragic life of a pre-adolescent boy into adulthood, it is beautifully written and layered with poignant complexities.

I’ll be the first to say I don’t know shit about art but the significance of it in the book is beautiful.

If you haven’t read this: READ IT. Men and women alike, it is a story to be totally absorbed by and although I started it in August and didn’t finish it until October (very unlike me), it’s a story I wanted to go on forever.

Very sad it’s over and yes, before you say it, I have bought Donna’s other book: The Secret History and will report back in the next Book Bag post.

This Is Going To Hurt – Adam Kay

HOW HAD I NOT HEARD OF THIS BOOK BEFORE?! It was staggering and should be mandatory listening for anyone ever using the NHS or who thinks they might have cause for it in the future.

The book is a ‘very secret diary’ of a junior doctor, Adam Kay who is now a comedy writer having hung up his stethoscope five years ago.

I decided to do this one as an audiobook as I had a big day of driving ahead of me. I only realised, five minutes into the drive, that listening to a book all about the massive pressure on the NHS was probably the worst thing to listen to on the way to a hospital to visit my auntie but thankfully, and I really do mean thankfully, Adam is very much funny enough that I laughed nearly the whole way there.

It is funny, but it is also desperate and honest and utterly eye-opening. I had it finished in a day. Alex did it the next day. We ABSORBED IT.

Get it, please. Read it. Listen to it. We HAVE to help our junior doctors.

And when you have read it, come back to me and we can talk about ‘the kinder egg’… if you know, you know.

A Better Me – Gary Barlow

Another audiobook, since I’d loved Adam’s so much, Alex was away for a few days and I needed some background noise for my Spring(/Autumn) clean.

I ought to preface this review by saying this is not normally my kind of book – I’ve never done autobiographies before, especially not for people I know little about. I’ve never really been a Take That fan and know little of Gary and yet, having read the book, I’d still wholeheartedly recommend it… even to those of you that couldn’t name a single song.

No doubt thanks to the millions of die hard Take That fans, Gary had to talk a lot about Robbie and the albums and the shows and the musicals. I don’t massively give a shit about any of that, but the rest of it was fascinatingly brilliant.

Gary has struggled with disordered eating his entire life and talks incredibly honestly about not just his bulimia (yes, really) but his controlling tendencies. He has also been through a lot personally, losing his dad and baby in recent years.

It was very empowering, quite educational and it sent me down a massive Take The hole afterwards, and that’s been great.

It was also cowritten by the wonderful Kate Spicer who I love very much, and it was read by Gary. If you like to listen to adorable Northern men try their hands at accents, this is definitely something that you need in your life.

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink – Scarlett Curtis

Everyone. E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E, needs to read this.

Put together by Scarlett Curtis, this book is made up by 52 different women on what the ‘f-word’ means to them.

Women like Helen Fielding, Emma Watson, Jameela Jamil, Dolly Alderton, Zoella, Jodie Whittaker, my fave activist Tasha Bishop have all written great essays.

I think I read the first 70 pages in half an hour.

Kat Dennings’ chapter in particular had me cracking up – something that rarely happens when I read books.

It’s not threatening, as so many ‘feminist’ pieces of writing are, it is welcoming and comforting and educational and fun. I cannot recommend this highly enough, it will just make you THINK. It is obviously empowering and exciting but more than that, it’s just desperately, importantly, thought provoking. 


Although I do currently have a book bag to-read list as long as my torso, I’m always on the hunt for new books to get stuck into so if you’ve got any recommendations, please do send ’em over.

Depending on how often life gets in the way over the coming weeks I hope to make the book bag posts as frequent as once a month, bimonthly at worst – watch this space!

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