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must read

Normal People quickly became one of the most beloved books since it was first published in 2018.

The book has kept people entertained on their long commutes to work. It has been enjoyed by readers lounging on a beach in Spain. Bookworms have gotten lost in the pages as they drank an early morning cup of coffee. Readers have kept it next to them on their nightstand and failed to go to bed on time because they were so wrapped up in the tale.

It has been sitting merrily at the top of bookshelves all around the world, especially here in Dublin, where the story itself takes place.

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It has received heaps of love, praise and adoration from readers and critics alike from every corner of the globe so it’ll come as no surprise to hear that author Sally Rooney has won the top prize at the Britsh Book Awards.

The Irish writer’s second novel was crowned book of the year at the prestigious awards, beating former First Lady Michelle Obama’s book Becoming.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Sally, who was unable to attend the awards, was described by the judges as a “generational talent.”

The best-selling author gushed about the honour: "It's an enormous privilege and an honour for me to receive the overall Book of the Year Award at the British Book Awards.

"I want to say thank you, specifically, because I feel I had an extraordinary lucky experience with this book.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"I've received such enormous support and generosity from my own publisher, Faber & Faber, of course, and also from the bookselling community generally, from libraries and librarians, and the community of people who love books.

"It has been a really privileged experience for me, and I do feel astonishingly lucky."

Feature Image: : Richard Saker for the Observer

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There are many books out there that helped mould me into the person I am today, but my latest read Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig has opened my eyes more than any other book.

The best-selling author analyses our relationship with the Internet and how it affects our mental health.

Matt is often vocal about his mental health struggles, which is something I admire most about the author.

 

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His honesty is heavy at times, but necessary. He filled Notes on a Nervous Planet with words of wisdom that are bound to change the way you view the world.

I simply couldn’t put the book down, it was practically glued to my hands for 24 hours.

As someone who struggles with mental health issues, I found Matt Haig’s honesty reassuring and comforting. His words made me, and many others, realise that you are not alone in your battle.

One of the most thought-provoking parts of the book is the chapter in which Matt discusses the pressure we put on ourselves to do everything. He advises readers to change the way they think about what we can do in life.

We often worry about the things we’ll never get to do, but he urged us to focus on what we can achieve and what we can enjoy.

“To enjoy life, we might have to stop thinking about what we will never be able to read and watch and say and do, and start to think of how to enjoy the world within our boundaries.”

We need to cut ourselves some slack. Sure there are millions of movies to watch and books to read and places to visit. Realistically, we’ll never be able to visit every single place or tune into every single movie, but what we can do is revel in the ones we do have time for.

 

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Maybe I’ll never visit Asia or Texas.

Maybe I’ll never get time to read War and Peace or Lord of the Flies.

Maybe I’ll never watch Star Wars or The Princess Bride.

However, this book helped me accept that we just can’t do everything in our time on this nervous planet and that is perfectly fine.

You can purchase a copy of Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig here.

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Summer is the perfect time to drag yourself out of a reading slump. I know how easy it is to give up on the book you’re reading and waste hours away watching Netflix. There have been many times when I’m curled up on my bed, with an episode of Queer Eye playing on my laptop, when all of a sudden I spot the abandoned book at the end of my bed.

I am the biggest bookworm, but I have to admit there have been days where I toss my book aside so I can binge watch a new medical drama or re-watch Gossip Girl for the thousandth time. However, my latest read has dragged me out of that lazy reading slump.

I picked up a copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society from my local charity shop for a mere €1. I’ve heard wonderful things about the historical novel, and once I discovered that it was an epistolary novel I knew it was going to be such an enjoyable read.

An epistolary novel is written as a series of documents, most commonly letters, which makes the reading experience that little bit easier as it feels more personal.

The story is set during 1946 where we meet Juliet Ashton, an accomplished writer. In the past, the writer has penned a book full of comedic columns that she wrote during the second world war under the pseudonym, Izzy Bickerstaff.

Juliet realises that it’s time to write a story under her own name and her creativity sparks when she receives a random letter from Dawsey Adams, a member of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which began as a cover for residents who broke curfew during the German occupation of Guernsey.

Juliet realises that this is a story the world needs to know and starts writing to the rest of the society.

After exchanging letters with the society for some time, Juliet decides to head to Guernsey to conduct research for her book, but her life will change drastically when she steps foot on Guernsey.

What you’ll love the most about this book is how the characters feel like old friends. The authors reveal so much about everyone in the novel in a subtle but powerful way.

Plus, the book is packed with information about World War II so history buffs will love it. There are times when details about the occupation of Guernsey can be a tad overwhelming, but they only add to the story.

The characters, the plot and the style of the book are a joy, but what really gets you is the lesson it teaches you.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society teaches us about the importance of standing up for others no matter what.

One character, in particular, Elizabeth McKenna, will show you that loyalty means everything, especially in times of distress. She showed me that you should never let anything or anyone strip you of your character, even in the darkest and most dangerous circumstances.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society published by Dial Press is available here.

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Holly Bourne captured the hearts of millions of young women with her gripping and honest YA novels. The writer is about to release her first adult novel and we are unbelievably excited about it.

How Do You Like Me Now? has been described as today’s answer to Bridget Jones. The story follows best-selling author Tori Bailey, whose self-help memoir has become a bible for women across the globe.

The author’s wise words may be worshipped by her readers, but Tori hasn’t been entirely honest with them. She is in an unhappy relationship and as friend after friend settles down, she worries that she will be left behind.

She’s about to turn thirty and the fear is slowly creeping in. “Turning thirty is like playing musical chairs. The music stops, and everyone just marries whoever they happen to be sitting on.”

Will Tori find the courage to follow her own path, or will she give into the pressures of society?

Holly’s debut adult novel is raw and a true breath of fresh air. Her brutally honest words about the pressure to settle down is a welcome tale in today’s society.

The pressures we face to achieve x,y and z by a certain age need to be left in the past. This refreshing and witty book about the reality of life in your thirties is a must-read for every woman out there.

Make sure to treat yourself to a copy of How Do You Like Me Now? on June 14.

How Do You Like Me Now? is published by Hodder & Stoughton and is available for pre-order here
 

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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the one book you have to add to your reading list. This unusual heroine’s story will teach you the most valuable life lesson.

The best-selling novel by Gail Honeyman has captured the hearts of people around the world. Eleanor’s strange sense of humour, her dark past and blossoming friendship with Raymond the computer guy will make this book an addictive read.

Eleanor is a hopeless and lonely soul, who you can’t help but feel sorry for. The quirky protagonist is a welcome change from the stereotypical female characters.

She’s no girl boss or hopeless romantic, and that’s what we love about her. Eleanor lives a mundane and quiet life but you can’t help but want to find out more about this odd character.

The story follows the 30-year-old as she grapples with her troubled past, an obsessive crush and her hope for a brighter and ‘normal’ life

What keeps you reading is the mystery surrounding Eleanor’s past. From the get-go, Eleanor is portrayed as an odd individual, who is clearly dealing with the ghosts of her past. Gail Honeyman trickles hints about Eleanor’s history and her relationship with her mother in the early pages of this book, and as time goes by we learn more and more about her disturbing family life.

Despite the drama, what keeps you turning the pages is the main theme of the book, and that is the importance of being kind to others.

 

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Eleanor is often singled out by her office co-workers, who like to mock her and point out her flaws, but along the way, this glorious character meets people who only want the best for her like Sammy, Raymond and Laura.

The book shows us that no matter how many battles life throws at you, you will get your happy ending one day, even if it does take longer than you hoped.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine published by Harper Collins is available to buy now. 

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