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summer books

There are many books out there that helped mould me into the person I am today, but Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig 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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I’ll put my hands up and admit that I’ve always been hesitant about YouTubers releasing books. There was a stage when Alfie Deyes, Zoella and co. were taking over the shelves at local bookstores. It was a little disheartening to see because I couldn’t help but ask was this just another way for them to make money?

This view has now changed since reading She Must Be Mad by Charly Cox and interviewing the endearing Savannah Brown earlier this year.

And now following in their footsteps is Irish author Melanie Murphy.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The YouTuber has just released her first novel If Only and readers are going to adore each and every page.

If Only follows the story of soon-to-be thirty-year-old Erin, who is extremely unhappy with how her life has panned out thus far. She’s miserable in work, she just called off her wedding and she can’t help but yearn for the ‘perfect’ life her flatmate has.

She decides to return to Ireland for her momentous birthday and to visit her dear grandmother. Everything changes forever when Erin is given a secret family heirloom that may hold the key to the happy life she has always longed for.

We spoke to Melanie on the day of If Only’s release about her inspirations, fears and nerves as she enters the literary world as a first-time fiction author.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Melanie hopes If Only will do is re-introduce her followers to the joy of reading that has been lost in this digital age.

“I hope that some of my YouTube and Instagram followers (ones who've found themselves with mild to severe cases of Internet addiction) will pick up If Only and discover, or re-discover, a joy of reading. I’d also really love for people to come away from the novel with some optimism, with a deeper understanding of what truly matters (to them) in life and with a sense that they've been properly entertained. “

Writing a book is certainly no easy task, especially when you’re managing your own business, creating content and dealing with your personal life like Melanie. The author struggled with avoiding self-insertion during the writing process, but luckily she found a way to move past this hurdle.

“It was more difficult than I anticipated. The thing is, I'm not like most authors who experience the luxury of writing for people who may not even know what they look like. Many people who'll read If Only know a lot about my life from my vlogs and my years of YouTube content, and so the idea of writing a fictional character who appeared as an idealised version of me scared me senseless.

“I didn't want reviews about how Melanie wrote a self indulgent fanfic about herself, I wanted reviews about the story, the plot structure, the character development or lack thereof, the voice, the ending. Constructive feedback is to a writer what water is to a plant, and I knew that a self-insert would dominate reviews. I ended up deciding to add bits of myself into ALL of the characters and for everyone populating the story to be made up of a combination of me, friends, family members, acquaintances and characters I love myself.”

If Only is a truly magical tale so it came as no surprise to hear Melanie turned to the stunning romantic-drama About Time and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for inspiration. Talk about the dream duo.

“The story was inspired by my tendency to wonder how life might look if I'd done things differently and by the slow burn romance between myself and my fella. I felt most inspired to write while listening to movie soundtracks and eighties music, which dominates the pages of the story.”

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There’s no doubt Melanie has poured her heart and soul into this book, sharing glimpses of the writing process with fans along the way, but the fear of being judged as a ‘YouTube writer’ hung over her, despite the mass praise and excitement from her adoring followers.

“I've been chewing the insides of my cheeks from the second the book was sent out for advance reviews on NetGalley! There are always going to be plenty of people who accuse me of having a ghostwriter, or who think I'm good for nothing but filming and editing videos in my bedroom, and that's okay. Because at the end of the day I'm doing something I love, and I'm hoping to do it for the rest of my life. My work will speak for itself and it'll improve as the years roll out. So I'm doing my best to swallow the nerves,” Melanie shared.

If Only has been swiftly swept up off bookshelves across the country. Melanie’s debut novel will warm your heart, reassure your mind and help you see the true magic of life.

You can pick up a copy of If Only here.

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I wandered into one of my favourite bookstores on Friday and within minutes I had three books in my arms. I continued to scour the shelves despite the stack of books I was ready to buy.

It’s impossible for me to leave a bookshop empty handed. I am the ultimate bookworm and can’t just browse through the shelves.

There’s always a new release that catches my eye or a classic tale that I’ve been meaning to read forever.

I easily could’ve spent a small fortune in that bookshop because there are dozens of incredible new stories out at the moment.

If you’re on the hunt for a new read then look no further. I’ll be splurging on the following books this month and you should too. They’re just too good to leave on the shelves.

The Weight of a Thousand Feathers by Brian Conoghan:

I think it’s important to remember that anyone can read YA books. We should never underestimate these tales just because they’re aimed at young adults. In my opinion, the genre is one of the strongest and most moving. Some of my favourite books hail from the YA section and will continue to do so for many years to come. I spotted The Weight of a Thousand Feathers in store thanks to the striking cover, but what really peaked my interest was the question the book explores- what lengths will we go to for the people we love?

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig:

I have oodles of respect for author Matt Haig and his ability to discuss mental health disorders in such an honest way. His book Reasons To Stay Alive holds a very special place in my heart, so I was thrilled to see his latest release sitting on the best-sellers shelf this week. Notes on a Nervous Planet focuses on how to be happy on a planet that makes us feel alone, anxious and nervous. Matt Haig looks into the public’s desire to constantly be connected to the digital world and the impact it is having on our mental health.

This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay:

My best friend purchased this book at the end of our trip to Scotland and flew through it by the time we touched down in Dublin airport. I’m a Grey’s Anatomy addict, so anything medical related fascinates me (I blame McSteamy and McDreamy) so this book soared to the top of my books to-buy list. Adam Kay gives readers a brutally honest look at life as a junior doctor and what life is really like on and off the hospital ward.

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