“Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah in this disarmingly honest, boldly political, and truly inclusive novel that will speak to anyone who has gone looking for love and found something very different in its place.
Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle-class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.
As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.
With “fresh and honest” (Jojo Moyes) prose, Queenie is a remarkably relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning in today’s world.”
Queenie took some time for me to get into because after reading the book summary, I was thinking this was going to be a lighter read. It ended up being quite heavy and covered quite a few issues that made this one quite a lot deeper than I initially expected. I was so happy to see that mental health, unhealthy relationships, feminism, and race issues were discussed openly and with great detail.
I struggled a bit with being frustrated with Queenie and some of her choices regarding men and dating but that was my own reaction. Queen seems like a relatable read for someone in their 20s as it is a coming of age story and Queenie learns a lot through trial and error. I enjoyed seeing her process to self-love and although I could not relate to all of it I think this will be a hit with a lot of readers. Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for an e-copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
“The societies we live in are increasingly making our minds ill, making it feel as though the way we live is engineered to make us unhappy. When Matt Haig developed panic disorder, anxiety, and depression as an adult, it took him a long time to work out the ways the external world could impact his mental health in both positive and negative ways. Notes on a Nervous Planet collects his observations, taking a look at how the various social, commercial and technological “advancements” that have created the world we now live in can actually hinder our happiness. Haig examines everything from broader phenomena like inequality, social media, and the news; to things closer to our daily lives, like how we sleep, how we exercise, and even the distinction we draw between our minds and our bodies.”
“I sometimes feel like my head is a computer with too many windows open. Too much clutter on the desktop. There is a metaphorical spinning rainbow wheel inside me. Disabling me. And if only I could find a way to switch off some of the frames, if only I could drag some of the clutter into the trash, then I would be fine. But which frame would I choose, when they all seem so essential? How can I stop my mind from being overloaded when the world is overloaded? We can think about anything. And so it makes sense that we end up thinking about everything. We might have to, sometimes, be brave enough to switch the screens off in order to switch ourselves back on. To disconnect in order to reconnect.” ― Matt Haig, Notes on a Nervous Planet
This book was my first by Matt Haig and I found it very engaging. I love how he normalizes mental health issues but also asks such thought-provoking questions within his writing. I won this in a Goodreads giveaway and devoured the short chapters which led to very interesting conversations with my friend who also was reading the book at the same time.
The chapters are short and quick and so it is a book that is easy to take in a little at a time. I love the importance he places on true connection with each other. Some of it was a little “out there” but I do agree that technology has changed the ways we interact and connect with one another and he had some powerful reminders and perspective about this.
I have been very inspired by the New Year and I love using it as a reflection time of what worked last year and also what I might like to implement during this next year. I have been thinking that I really would like a regular series on here that show you not just what I am reading and loving but what my some of my friends and reading buddies are up to.
I love seeing what people’s everyday spaces look like. I am not talking about house inspiration in magazines or on Pinterest but really what people’s home look like when they live there. If this is something that fascinates you too then I think you will find this interesting.
I love making book suggestions but I also think it is helpful to see other perspectives and genres and I thought this might be a fun way to do this and also share a little more variety. I am going to share mine below and I have some friends lined up to share in the next couple of weeks. If you would like to be a part of this (and I would love that!!) please send me a message or leave a comment below.
The Nightstand Series Intro:
I am Genevieve and I live in Vermont with my husband, our two sons and our Springer Spaniel named Buzz. I am a photographer for my job and photography is also one of my very favorite hobbies. I have been a reader all of my life but really got back into it again once both of our kids slept through the night a few years ago…I love reading fiction, memoirs, self-help and personal development books the most. I primarily read on my Kindle but I love hard copy books and I will never stop buying them.
What’s on my nightstand for books:
On my Kindle: I am currently reading an advanced reader copy from NetGalley of Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood and I am loving it so far! I am enjoying her writing so much that I took out a copy of her book Rust & Stardust on my Libby App to read next. I always like having a plan for my next book even though it doesn’t always go as planned.
Hard Copy Books: I love to have books on my nightstand. It is a mixture of ones I just love a lot and like to look at (I am looking at you Brene Brown!) and ones I am planning on reading in the next month or so.
A Ladder To The Sky by John Boyne. This was was my Book Of The Month selection for November. I got this before I read The Heart’s Invisible Furies and now I want to read it even more. But I also want to wait because I don’t want to compare the two, so I am trying to find the right balance…
(Don’t) Call Me Crazy by Kelly Jensen. I think books like this are so important to help normalize what so many people deal with everyday. I am so glad there there is so much more awareness of mental health issues now even compared to 5 years ago.
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne. I read this in December it and it was AMAZING. It is story telling at it’s finest and shares the life of Cyril Avery, both the peaks and the valleys and how life can really come full circle. It was such a satisfying read and is a book that I know I will never forget.
I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) by Brene Brown. This is one of my very favorite self-help books and it was life changing for me. Brene talks about and vulnerability and so many important things that a lot of people feel but don’t always want to discuss. She is real and honest and has impacted me in such a big way.
Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig. I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and it is the perfect time of year to read it. This will be released at the end of this month in paperback so I am hoping to read it soon so I can do a review!
What else is on my nightstand:
I wear contacts and hardly ever wear my glasses which I really should be better about. Anyway, I am nearsighted so I mostly just use them to watch TV once we are in bed, and I don’t watch a lot of TV so they are usually just sitting there looking quite dusty…
I have to have a cup of water on my nightstand and it always has to be full before I go to sleep. I love using tumblers and I have had great success with the Simple Modern ones and this Hydroflask one which I found at Homegoods.
I love this table “tray” (I am not sure what else to call it) because it is quite heavy and so it doesn’t slip around at all. It is a great place to put smaller items that would normally fall off and get lost under our bed.
I only take one kind of medicine and for a while I could never remember if I had taken it or not… Finally I realized that that is probably what these weekly pill containers are for (besides just traveling) and all my problems went away. I fill it on Sundays and I have it on my nightstand because I know I will see it as soon as I wake up. I have a terrible memory anyway but I feel like I am the worst in the morning because there is so much to do before we leave for school at 7:30am. Now if only I got that doormat that says “did you turn off your hair straightener?” I would really be all set!
I have already talked on here about my love for Laneige lip balm(or as they call it, a sleeping mask) but i will say it again, this stuff is the best! It lasts forever, doesn’t have a strong flavor and it works so well. I use it every night and I use The Burts Bees tinted lip balm in red dahlia or rose during the day.
My jewelry dish is a soy sauce bowl (I think) but it works great! I like to take my rings and jewelry off when I am cleaning or sleeping so I like to have a specific place I put them because I would definitely lose them otherwise…
I always like to have a spare bookmark because I will totally fold the pages over otherwise and I know that makes some book lovers just cringe!
I hope you enjoyed this random glimpse into my life. <3