Updated: May 20, 2019

It's a scorching day in Kilkenny and I've been working in the back yard all morning and trying to resist the tempation to put down the laptop and pick up a book. My ultimate sunny day activity involves a sun lounger and a good read. I did however promise to myself that I would get my May book recommendations blogged today and these are them. This month I have three books for you to read. A little less than my usual four or five, but for the last few weeks I, and I know a lot of you here in Ireland too, have found it hard to concentrate on anything that wasn't Referedum related. When I'd usually be reading, I found myself scrolling through Twitter instead. Last week in particular, I had absolutely zero interest in any content that wasn't related to Repeal. After the weekend, we're slowly getting back to normal and so I thought I'd start with my monthly book post. As I said, I have three books. One is a memoir and the other two are fiction. I know that a few of you prefer non-fiction books, so I'm trying to include at least one in every post. This month's isn't an easy read but it is a remarkable read and one I would encourage you all to try.

Keep scrolling for my May book recommendations and as usual if you have read any of them already, let me know what you thought in the comments below. Also if you have any recommendations of books that you have read and loved, pop them in the comments section too. The more recommendations the better. Happy reading xx

The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil

This book is a memoir writen by Clemantine Wamariya, a Rwandian refugee and co-written by Elizabeth Weil. It tells the story of Clementine's childhood as a refugee having fled the 1994 Rwandan genocide with her older sister Claire. Clementine travelled from refugee camp to refugee camp until her and her sister were eventually granted refugee status in America. Six years after arriving in America, Clementine wins an essay competition to appear on the Oprah Winfrey show. Unknown to her and Claire, the Oprah show had tracked down her family in Rwanda and flown them to America for an on-air reunion. This is a must read book. It is not a fairy tale or happily ever after book. Nor is it a feel good story. How could it be when you look at the journey that brought Clementine to America. This book is a remarkable read and a total eye opener into human endurance and the challenge of trying to build a life after living through unspeakable experiences.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

This is a finish-in-a-weekend type of book. I was drawn to it as it has a remarkably similar name to one of my all time favourite books, All the Light We Can Not See. However, they aren't all that similar in story or in impact. That's not to say I didn't like this book, because I did. It's captivating while you are reading it, but in my opinion it's not a memorable book. As I read it, I kept thinking that this has movie adaptation written all over it, so I wasn't surprised to hear afterwards that Hollywood has already got its hands on this story. The story starts on September 11, 2001 when the two main characters Lucy and Gabe first meet. From there, they embark on a whirlwind romance that ultimately wasn't to be. The story follows them over the years as the fall in and out of contact. The book is beautifully written and effortlessly readable, making it an ideal holiday read.

The Cows by Dawn O'Porter

I'm a big fan of Dawn O'Porter. She is outspoken and honest. She also comes across as a very nice person. I hadn't read The Cows, but was prompted to do so when an Honest Project reader recommended it to me. Thank you Mairéad. I really liked it. The tag line for the book is #DontFollowTheHerd and wouldn't we all do well to heed that advice to some extent or another and do our own thing a bit more. The story is set in London and follows three women, Tara, Cam and Stella as they navigate the challenges that life throws at them and try to overcome society's expectations of how women should live their lives. The book tackles so many subjects that are relevant to women today: motherhood, childlessness, abortion, hereditary cancer, masturbation, dating, trolling and public shaming. Like The Light We Lost, The Cows is such an easy book to read and one that you will fly through. Another good option for holidays.


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DESIGNED BY Frances Walsh 

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