52 Books Challenge: February

Disclosure: not only is this roundup over a week late, but it’s a little thin on the ground. You see what with one thing and another February was SUCH a slow month for reading. As I’ve mentioned, both my boyfriend and I have been ill and injured, and with looking after him I’ve not got through anywhere near as many books as I intended. Whoops…must try harder! However, they are fairly stand out books, not likely to be forgotten in a hurry!

Ctrl, Alt, Delete by Emma Gannon

Social media fiend Emma Gannon (of podcast, blogging and Twitter fame) has released a book charting how she grew up alongside the internet. As someone of the same millenial generation (and only a year younger than Emma), I totally related to this book! From MSN Messenger and Bebo to navigating relationships in the increasingly digital age. I laughed with her, cringed for her and cheered her on in equal measure. As well as part-autobiography, this book is a searing indictment of 21st century culture, and just how obsessed we are with a world which isn’t actually real. As Emma says in her book, “Every time we open the lid of our laptops, we are belting ourselves in for an unknown ride”. It’s so true, and it was phrases like this which made me stop and think about just how sucked in we all get to social media. I am so guilty of getting lost down the rabbit hole of the internet, and I liked the beautifully-written reality check on that kind of lifestyle. It’s very healthy to take a step back and enjoy normal life every now and then, so hats off to Emma for not only realising that, but calling us out on it. ★★★★

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

This book has been popping up a lot on the ‘net lately, and I’ve seen it hailed in reviews as To Kill A Mockingbird for the 21st century. I’ve never read a Jodi Picoult book before, but I was intrigued and thought it might be a little bit of lighter reading. Well, light wasn’t quite the word! But there are plenty of other words to describe this book: it was compelling and gripping and unpredictable and exciting and sad and frustrating and heartbreaking and uplifting.Ruth has been a nurse for 20 years, helping to deliver babies in a busy hospital. But when a white supremacist couple lose their baby after forbidding Ruth, an African-American, from caring for him, she is accused of negligence and murder, and events spiral out of control. A story about love and loss and prejudice and fighting for justice, it’s a powerful and controversial story, but such an important one to tell. I wouldn’t say it was on a level with To Kill A Mockingbird, but I get what the reviewers mean by the comparison and I would thoroughly recommend it. Another book to make you think about the way in which you see the world (and your place in it), and I look forward to reading it again in the years to come. ★★★★

I, Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan by Alan Partridge

This will appeal only if you’re a Partridge fan, be warned! For those of you who haven’t heard of him, the comedian and impressionist Steve Coogan created the character of Alan Partridge many years ago. He’s a tragic radio presenter with dreams of stardom and a truly offensive personality. It’s cringeworthy comedy at its best, and having watched the TV shows and the film Alpha Papa recently, the boyfriend bought me this to continue my Partridge education. Alan Partridge is hilarious, but he is for the acquired taste. If you’re a fan (and I’d recommend watching some of his stuff first before reading this) then you’ll probably enjoy this. ★★★

So that’s my rather short review of February’s reads. Here’s to a more eventful month’s worth of reading in March!

  • I’ve heard such great things about Small Great Things. I need to get it from the library! Ctrl, Alt, Delete sounds really interesting too. I’m turning 30 this year so I was one of those last year groups to grow up with sort of a mix of life before and after the Internet. I remember getting a computer in 6th grade and a phone in 9th grade, but I didn’t get texting until college and a smart phone until much later. Sometimes I feel like I need a break from social media and the internet but I rarely take one. My husband is 32 and is an old man when it comes to social media. Since he hates it so much I try to stay off it when we’re together. Anyway, that was my long way of saying I want to read Gannon’s book!

    • Sophie

      Small Great Things is so worth a read! And Ctrl, Alt, Delete definitely covers that overlap between life pre-internet and the digital age so well. I was pretty much the same as you, we had a family computer that I used as a teenager and only got a laptop when I went to uni. I got my first mobile phone when I was 13 and only used it to play games and download ringtones! I didn’t get my first smart phone until a few years ago either. It must be nice in a way that Nick hates social media because it forces you to take a break from it and really focus on your time together rather than having one eye on your phone half the time.
      But yes, read them both! Have you got any good recommendations for me?