book meme

WWW Wednesday | 04 Aug

Welcome back to another WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and the three Ws to be answered are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

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I’m currently reading How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie. This has had a lot of hype around it’s recent release, and I was very much looking forward to it. It tells the story of Grace, who is writing from prison, jailed for a crime she didn’t commit. The twist is that she has actually killed 6 family members.

Despite really looking forward to this, I’ve been finding it very slow, one-note and overall disappointing. You’re told the conceit about her having killed 6 family members in the blurb and in the prologue, and then what follows is a really long and quite tedious recounting of how she did it. It’s not particularly fun, or funny, or interesting. I’m almost at the end and I don’t foresee my opinion changing on this one, unfortunately. It’s just not for me and I’m struggling to see what others are seeing and loving in this one.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Since my last check in, I finished Scenes of a Graphic Nature by Caroline O’Donoghue (2.5 stars), Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn (4 stars), The Mountain Sings by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai (rtc, 5 stars) and Summerwater by Sarah Moss (rtc, 5 stars). I was blown away by both The Mountain Sings and Summerwater, and I heartily recommend them both!

What do you think you’ll read next?

I think once I’ve finished How To Kill Your Family, I’d like to pick up either Cecily by Annie Garthwaite (a historical fiction that follows Cecily, mother to two future kings of England) or Plain Bad Heroines (a gothic horror following a secret society in a girl’s boarding school in 1902, and then also set 100 years later when a book is written about the events at the school and then adapted into a film). Have you read either of these? What did you think?

book review

Review: Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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TW: miscarriages, bereavement, infertility, terminal illness, suicide

Thanks to Tandem Collective and the Viking Books UK for the gifted copy and the chance to take part in the Tandem Collective readalong.

Conversations on Love is a nonfiction book all about love. Natasha Lunn has interviewed a wide range of experts and journalists, interspersing these interviews throughout essays that span romantic love, friendship, family and all the issues you can face with these kinds of love. Lunn writes eloquently and engagingly, and no topic seems off-limits for her.

The book is split into three parts: how we find love, how we sustain it, and how we survive when we lose it. These parts are then broken down into smaller essays. I found the structure somewhat confusing, often meandering and repetitive. The essays were inconsistent in length and I don’t necessarily think they were broken up in the most organised or logical way.

The third section, how we survive when we lose love, was by far my favourite – and is the reason I’ve rated this book four stars, as I think that section would be five stars just by itself. I really appreciated Lunn’s openness and honesty in this section – it was equal parts heart-breaking and hopeful. The interviews were also inspiring. Of course, I think that perhaps people will feel more connected to different parts of the book depending on their personal situation – having lost someone relatively recently, this final section really spoke to me. If you are currently looking for love, the first section might be just for you.

There were a lot of interesting and thought-provoking points throughout the first two sections – things that I nodded my head to, or wanted to underline – but I also found it slightly repetitive, and sometimes too self-help-y. I found the essay on friendship particularly frustrating and unrelatable – I thought Lunn was looking for people to back up her point of view, and didn’t do her interviewees justice, as she only wanted to ask them about what was related to her.

It’s a really big thing to write a book as open and honest as this one – I think Lunn will have poured a lot of herself into this, and I find that really admirable. For me, I found this book hit and miss – some parts were inspiring, others not so much. I would suggest it’s one you dip in and out of, based on your need or interest, rather than read straight through, as I did. That last section on loss and grief, though, is well worth the ups and downs of the rest of the book.