In my first month in my new apartment, I managed to finish seven books. In the Netherlands everything is still closed due to the pandemic, so for me there isn't much to do other than reading and cooking. Bérengère Cournut's De piedra y hueso was the January book at Spanish book club Bookish, while Cho Nam-Joo's Kim Jiyoun, Born 1982 was my February choice at Rare Birds Book Club. I also picked up Elizabeth Day's The Party (a previous book by Bookish), Gary Vaynerchuk's Crush It (recommended by my brother), Nicholas Lesica's A Conversation About Healthy Food (interesting title and very cheap as eBook), Mary Karr's A Liars' Club (huge Mary Karr fan) and I FINALLY finished Almudena Grandes' La Madre de Frankenstein. The majority of these were great books!
The Party - Elizabeth Day ⭐⭐
Elizabeth Day's The Party was one of the 2020 books chosen by Spanish book club Bookish. Back then, I hadn't yet joined them so when I saw the Dutch version on discount in the eBook store I decided to give it a go. This book is about a friendship between two guys who meet in high school. One is there on a scholarship (Martin), while the other is from an aristocrat family (Ben). Both guys are pretty unlikeable I have to say, including their wives at a later age. At the beginning of the book the four of them are at Ben's sophisticated 40th birthday party where some mysterious violent incident happened. The book explains all the events happening until this party, from high school until their late 30s. I was kind of waiting for something big to happen or some kind of twist, but it never really happened. Unlikeable characters and a boring plot didn't do it for me unfortunately.
Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion - Gary Vaynerchuk ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This book was recommended to me by my brother. Gary Vaynerchuk talks about how to make money out of your passion with the power of the internet. At times, this book was a little outdated (published in 2009), but I could still see what his point was. This is a short and powerful book that inspires me to take action myself and put the hours of work in.
La madre de Frankenstein - Almudena Grandes ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I am a huge fan of the writing style of Almudena Grandes and I wanted to read her latest book for a while now. One of the things that Almudena excels in is bringing her characters to life on paper. This is mainly because she describes their emotions and thoughts in a lot of detail. Unfortunately, this is also means that her books are very, very long! As Spanish isn't my first language, I lost interest a little bit in the middle section and it therefore took me almost four months to finish this book. The book is about a psychiatrist who returns to Spain in 1954 to work in an institution for women, a patient who has killed her own daughter, and a nurse who is the only one that cares about that patient. The stories of these three characters, sometimes interwoven, are very interesting and told in great detail.
Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 - Cho Nam-Joo ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Cho Nam-Joo's Kim Jiyoung was my February pick at Rare Birds Book Club. The book tells the story of Kim Jiyoung, a Korean everywoman who experiences misogyny throughout her whole life: in her childhood, in school, at work, as a wife and as a mother. The book caused a lot of controversy and outrage in Korea. I gave this book four stars because the subject of it is just so important, but I wasn't a big fan of the writing style though. The story was told in a very clinical way, which in the end made a lot of sense, but it wasn't necessarily nice to read.
De piedra y hueso - Bérengère Cournut ⭐⭐
I couple of weeks ago I finally signed up for a subscription at Spanish book club Bookish. However, I just missed out on their January book: De piedra y hueso by Bérengère Cournut. In my excitement I decided the buy the book myself. The story is about the way of living of the Inuit. The writer put a lot of research into this book for which I have a lot of respect, however I just didn't click with this story at all. The Inuit religion and beliefs are very interesting, but they also seem a little ridiculous to me. There was also a lot of poetry in the book which just isn't my thing and I found myself skipping most of these parts.
A Conversation About Healthy Eating - Nicholas Lesica ⭐⭐⭐⭐
In the last couple of years I've become very interested in learning about healthy foods and healthy eating habits. I stumbled onto this book as my next read, which is actually currently a bargain as an eBook (€ 1,42). In this book the writer explains the process of eating in the form of a conversation between a scientist and a friend. Based on research, the writer explains topics like metabolism, digestion, gut bacteria, hormones, neuroscience and the immune system in a very clear and simple way. I hugely recommend this book to anyone who want to change their eating habits and don't want to be deceived by the so-called health recommendations in the media.
The Liars' Club - Mary Karr ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I previously read Mary Karr's Lit which I absolutely loved. I'm a fan of Mary's honest and direct writing style so I planned on reading The Liars' Club, her first big published success. While I preferred Lit, I still really liked this book. The Liars' Club is a memoir about Mary Karr's dysfunctional childhood and it includes some really disturbing events. While both of her parents have issues with alcohol, her mother is also mentally unstable. At the end of the book, Mary explains partly why her mother has these issues, something I didn't see coming at all. Mary is an excellent writer and I love how she uses her sense of humour while talking about some serious, troubling events. Her other memoir, Cherry, is already sitting in my book case and will definitely be one of my next reads.