Welcome back to Monday Morning Tea – I hope you’ve had wonderful Christmas and New Year. ❤
This is the first blog post of 2021, I really hope you enjoy it as there will be a lot more content coming your way this year and I’m so excited for it all!
I can’t actually believe it. I completed my reading goal for the entire year! In fact I went over it and read 56 books.
I’ve never read that many books in four years, let alone one. I think the pandemic did help this in a way. I was forced into not working and I had shelves of glorious stories just staring at me saying, ‘come on, you’ve got nothing else to do, read us!’ So, I did. There were a few slumps – one that lasted three months – but it was the best feeling being able to write down in my bullet journal that I’d completed my goal.
The issue that I face for 2021, is that I want to beat this goal. I’m so competitive, even with myself.
The only goal I really set for myself last year was to read 52 books, I’m so glad I did it, but I’ve got a few more things that I want to accomplish this year that isn’t just reading so I’m not going to go crazy and double my reading goal for the year (which is something I would absolutely do) I’m going to set it at a completely doable 60 books. A perfect round number.
But I’m going to give you my favourite books of the year and few thoughts/quotes on them. So, grab a cup of tea, or if you’re in Australia in the middle of summer like I am right now, grab an iced tea; and enjoy my bookish rambling.
- Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
I did not think that a classic would be my favourite book of the year, but there is no book that broke my heart and glued it back together again like Jane Eyre. I’ve written a full review on this beautiful novel that will be up soon, so I’ll save my complete thoughts for that. I was aware of the story because of the movie (yes I’m a watch the movie first person) and just assumed that because it was a classic that it would be a laborious read, I kind of want to go back in time and shake myself for thinking that. The language is old, but there is such a beauty in it. The dark emotions that the Brontës seemed to be fluent in are expressed so articulately and with a delicacy that modern writers often lack. If you take anything away from this post then please consider reading this, you won’t regret it.
My favourite quote of the book:
‘”I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will; which I now exert to leave you.”
- Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare
I’ve talked about this book a lot. Partly because I was so shocked that I actually enjoyed a fantasy book and also it’s been so long since a book has swept me up and pulled me through the story like this one did. I desperately want to go back and annotate it, there are so many beautiful passages that I want to remember.
‘”When you love someone, they become a part of who you are. They’re in everything you do. They’re in the air you breathe and the water you drink and the blood in your veins. Their touch stays on your skin and their voice stays in your ears and their thoughts stay in your mind. You know their dreams because their nightmares pierce your heart and their good dreams are your dreams too. And you don’t think they’re perfect, but you know their flaws, the deep-down truth of them, and the shadows of all their secrets, and they don’t frighten you away; in fact you love them more for it, because you don’t want perfect. You want them.”‘
- Lord of Shadows – Cassandra Clare
This will be the last Cassandra Clare book I talk about in this post, but I wanted to put it in for one reason in particular. This book has an incredible depiction of anxiety in it. It’s one fo the best that I’ve read in quite some time. I’ve read a few scenes like this in books and it often over dramatises it, or just misses how it actually feels to go through something like that, but also how it feels for the people witnessing mental health. This book got it right. (In My Opinion)
It implies the benefits of deep pressure therapy (DPT) which is a method that I myself use when I can for my panic attacks. It also has such a brilliant amount of representation in it. Which is something I’m thrilled about.
I’m going to put an excerpt of the scene here:
‘It was like holding a loosed arrow: Ty felt hot and sharp in his arms, and he was vibrating with some strange emotion. “Tighter,” Ty said… “I need to feel it.” Kit had never been a natural hugger, and no one had ever, that he could remember, come to him for comforting. He wasn’t a comforting sort of person. He’d always assumed that. And he barely knew Ty. But then, Ty didn’t do things for no reason, even if people whose brains were differently wired couldn’t see his reasons immediately. Kit remembered the way Livvy rubbed Ty’s hands tightly when he was stressed and thought: The pressure is a sensation; the sensation must be grounding. Calming. That made sense. So Kit found himself holding Ty harder, until Ty relaxed under the tight grip of his hands; held him more tightly than he’d ever held anyone, held him as if they’d been lost in the seas of the sky, and only holding on to each other could keep them afloat above the wreckage of London.’
- Normal People – Sally Rooney
Where do I start? This book and show pretty much took over the world and it certainly took over a large portion of my heart. What surprised me is how brutal the book was. It shows love in all forms and how some people can’t distinguish between abuse and love. The writing was a different style to anything I’ve read before because it’s written in the traditional Irish style – so there are no speech marks which takes a few chapters to get used to. I think apart from the obvious themes in this book, young love, sex, family, the biggest thing I took from it was how integral communication and honesty is in a relationship. Connoll and Marianne always seem to miss each other, or misunderstand one another. It’s heart breaking, but beautiful.
‘”You know, I did used to think that I could read your mind at times.”
“In bed you mean.”
“Yeah. And afterwards, but I dunno, maybe that’s normal.”
- Suite Francaise – Irene Nemirovsky
Another one I’ve already talked about, but as you might be able to tell I’ve got a thing for traumatic love stories and heartbreaking novels. This is no exception. A war time novel written during the German occupation of France. The conflict between what is right as what you have to do to survive is a strong theme in this novel. And it’s something that always fascinates me. Do we ever truely know what we’re capable of? How can a young French woman fall in love with a German soldier who is taking over her homeland? If you want to know the answer then read this gorgeous work.
“This friendship between herself and the German, this dark secret, an entire universe hidden in the heart of the hostile house, my God how sweet it was. Finally she felt she was a human being, proud and free.”
Have a beautiful Monday ❤