2021 Book Reviews II
It turns out that during lockdown, there’s not a lot to do other than read, and so I am even further ahead of my original reading goal for the year - I’m actually already there. At this point I’m enjoying getting through the books though, so I don’t think I’m going to revise my target - at this point it doesn’t really feel necessary, and I seem to have made a good start towards building the habit, which was the point of the challenge in the first place.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
Girl, Woman, Other is a book that I feel I can’t do any justice by passing comment on, so I’ll keep it brief. This book was funny, moving, heartbreaking and enlightening in equal measure, phenomenally compelling in its unique style. I adored every second of it and would strongly recommend it to anyone who’s a human being. (It was also the longest book I’ve read so far this year at circa 450 pages - it’s nice to get something longer than 200 in the bag.)
Things You Should Already Know About Dating, You F*cking Idiot by Ben Schwartz and Laura Moses
This one was… not good. I read because I adore Ben Schwartz and could use all the dating advice I can get, but it turns out that despite being a fucking idiot, I did in fact already know all these things about dating. On the plus side, it was more of a long pamphlet than a book, and I did get to read it in Schwartz’s voice.
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
This one was recommended to me multiple times by friends a long time ago, and I regret not heeding their advice to read it sooner. Before reading it I assumed the Siddhartha in question was in fact Siddhartha Gautama (and actually it took me until the midway mark to discover that was not the case, after the Buddha Gotama shows up) and was somewhat pleasantly surprised that was not the case, as the Siddhartha in question lives a lift in parallel to the Buddha’s, but one that is just as worthy. Despite being fiction, the book offers advice on how to think and how to live in order to be happy, in a much more accessible way than A Happy Death did, and its ideas have already been swirling around my mind regularly since finishing it. Siddhartha is resoundngly the best attempt to introduce Eastern philosophy to a Western audience that I’ve come across to date, and it will stay with me for a long time.