I Wrote Something Everyday For 5 Years… [One Line A Day Book – Review]

Just over 5 years ago, I was given one of the best presents I’ve ever received – a “One Line A Day” book – and it’s been my little companion through the most influential stages of my life. From finishing A levels, to starting university, to graduating and starting a new job, it has helped me track not only the vital stages of my life but the ages where I grew the most as a person and overcame the biggest challenges. And because of this, I want to share a mini review on how it works and what I’ve learnt from it.

How Does The “One Line A Day” Book Work?

As simple as it is, you really do just write one line everyday (or in my case, as many lines as can fit!). You can share whatever you like – a quote, something meaningful, what you did that day. For me personally, I wrote a brief description of everything I did that day as if it was a diary in shortened form.

The unique element of this journal is that each page has 5 text blocks for 5 years, so when you return to that page the following year, you can see what you wrote on that exact day the year before, and the year before that etc.

What I Love About The “One Line A Day” Book

It’s simple, easy to use, and most of all, it’s just really fascinating. We go about our lives everyday and often we forget about the simple things that happened, but sometimes they’re the most impactful of all.

Sometimes, I’d go to write in the journal for today, and I’d notice that a small event had recurred from the previous year, such as seeing the same friend on the exact same day the year before, or eating the same meal. Sure, it was a coincidence and didn’t particularly symbolise anything, but it’s funny how small things like this can line up.

It’s also such a great way of remembering past memories. Before writing the journal for that specific day, I’d really enjoy reading back on the previous years just to see what I was up to. And often it was very different – as I changed as a person, my habits naturally changed too. It was so interesting to see my progression as a person and how that reflected in the actions I took in my life.

How Did I Manage To Stick With It For 5 Years?

This is a question I often asked myself too, but I think when something becomes so meaningful to you, it naturally becomes a habit. I’d sit down for 5 minutes every evening to fill it in before bed, and it’s not any different than using that 5 minutes to scroll through your phone. Plus, I liked the challenge – once I start something, I try my ultimate best to follow through with it, and this felt like such a big but rewarding challenge. And I’m so glad I stuck with it – having 5 years packed into one tiny book feels so so special.

What Did I Learn From It?

The biggest, and perhaps really obvious, conclusion I drew from using the “One Line A Day Book” was that people change a LOT in 5 years. Even in 1 year. Even in a month, a week, a day. Reading back on past entries I’d written, I not only noticed the different events and situations I placed myself in, but the change in mindset too. A lot of my earlier entries were shorter and kind of negative too, but I felt like I had so many defining moments in the following couple years where I really morphed my mindset and my health into a much better place. Having this within the diary feels so important to me because that was a really important moment in my life, where I felt like I really became myself, accepted myself and learnt about the power of self-developing and seeing the world in a positive light.

I also learnt that, if I put my mind to it, I can do something that seems initially impossible. Writing something everyday for 5 years? Well, that would seem daunting to pretty much everybody, and at the start I wasn’t sure I could do it. But like anything, if you want to achieve something, you make time for it, you prioritise it, and you make it happen.

I think, more than anything, it’s also a huge reminder that everything is temporary. What I was doing, how I felt, the way I looked at the world and the people in it the year before, is so different to now. And it will be the same the next year, and the year after that, and the year after that too. As humans, we naturally progress. There is no stagnant waters. There is hope that you can become whatever you want to be in the future. It just hasn’t been written yet.

Have you tried the “One Line A Day” book or anything similar?

Or perhaps want to give it a try?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


‘The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck’ by Mark Manson [Mini Book Review + Quotes]

I don’t know where to start in explaining how much I loved this book and how much I resonated with the theories… but Mark Manson himself describes this book as “a guide to suffering and how to do it better, more meaningfully, with more compassion and more humility” and I think it’s spot on. I found this book quotable, meaningful, thought-provoking and it tells it exactly how it is – no sugar coating.

From discussing how to embrace pain, to taking responsibility for your life, to accepting our death in order to truly live our lives, there is so much valuable insight amongst these pages, and it really got me questioning my own thought process and the way I live my life – because we all have progress to make, much of which is hidden in our subconscious.


I’d like to share a few of my favourite quotes from the book that really got me thinking and that might provide some interesting thinking time or discussions for you too:

“The more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place.”

“We shouldn’t always trust our emotions… we should make a habit of questioning them.”

“As a rule, people who are terrified of what others think about them are actually terrified of all the shitty things they think about themselves being reflected back at them.”

“We don’t always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond.”

“The only way to solve our problems is to first admit that our actions and beliefs up to this point have been wrong and are not working. This openness to being wrong must exist for any real change or growth to take place.”

“If it feels like it’s you versus the world, chances are it’s really just you versus yourself.”

“We can be truly successful only at something we’re willing to fail at. If we’re unwilling to fail, then we’re unwilling to succeed.”

“Our proudest achievements come in the face of the greatest adversity.”

“Life is about not knowing and then doing something anyway. All of life is like this.”

“Don’t just sit there. Do something. The answers will follow.”


I will definitely be re-reading this book whenever I feel stuck in life, whenever I feel I need a helping hand making a change, whenever I feel like I’m falling or losing my sense of direction. And I’d recommend it for anyone in this situation too.

Self development is more than just being positive; it’s taking responsibility and learning to handle adversity with acceptance and strength. And I believe we all have the potential to do that – this book is definitely a start in reminding us that we can, every single one of us, and it acts as a brutally honest but supportive helping hand.

Have you read this book? Or did a particular quote from above speak to you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid [Book Review]

Did I get roped into buying this from all the beautiful photos and wonderful reviews over on bookstagram?

Yes, yes I did.

But I don’t regret it.


Summary

Daisy Jones & The Six is one of the most unique books I’ve read in a very long time. Set in the 1970’s, amidst the height of rock ‘n’ roll, it follows the journey of six bandmates (The Six) and the singer Daisy Jones. It’s written purely in dialogue – the truth lies only in the words which have been spoken – as the reader is thrown into a world of music, heartbreak, desire and ambition. Tell me it’s not real, I dare you. These characters light up the stage of the page in a way that really does make you believe in their souls.

My Thoughts

One of the most disappointing feelings as a reader is going into a book with such high expectations and then having them fall flat. I half expected this to happen with Daisy Jones & The Six but it really did take me by surprise.

I’ve never read a book written purely in dialogue and I think naturally I had some questions going into it. Would I feel too detached from the inner worlds of the characters? How is the plot going to formulate? Would I simply get bored? However, as soon as I started reading, none of these questions even mattered – I didn’t need to think about them at all.

Daisy Jones & The Six is a success, I think, because it doesn’t try to be something its not. It allows itself to be character-driven without trying too hard to make a plot out of it. And it’s believable – so believable. From the very first page I felt like I was watching a documentary play out before my eyes. Dialogue was interspersed cleverly to keep everything relevant, and yet each character had its own style, its own life and its own sub-plot.

I don’t often give books 5 stars – only if I feel I connected to the book in some way. And when I’m reading a book about rock ‘n’ roll in the 1970’s, before I was even born, it’s easy to think, well, how can I relate to any of this? But there were so many stripped back, beautiful moments in this book, which felt like those vulnerable moments in a documentary when a singular person is talking to the camera and they just bare their soul. And in those moments, as a reader, you see these characters as flawed human beings – behind the parties, the drugs and the commotion, they are facing a universal struggle.

As someone who loves both music and writing, I was particularly interested in the way these two elements were brought together for the songwriting scenes of the book. The power of music, of writing, of putting a chunk of your own heart and soul into these art forms is what this book is all about – and how sometimes the most important of words are never spoken, or never needed to be. Whilst I couldn’t relate to the characters on a surface-level, their deeper thoughts, the way they placed themselves within their art, resonated with me. I so wanted the band to be real. Honestly. I still do. I wish the songs were real.

Daisy Jones & The Six may look like an exciting, thrill of a ride – and it is, most definitely. But it also places a much deeper emphasis on relationships, art, choices and trust. It has that extra layer that any reader surely looks for in a book. And that’s what makes it so great.

If these wonderful quotes (my favourite quotes from the book) are anything to go by…

“These people from a different country, people I’d never met in my life, I felt connected to them in a way that I hadn’t felt connected to anyone before. It is what I have always loved about music. Not the sounds or the crowds or the good times as much as the words – the emotions, and the stories, the truth – that you can let flow right out of your mouth. Music can dig, you know? It can take a shovel to your chest and just start digging until it hits something.”

Daisy Jones

“She had written something that felt like I could have written it, except I knew I couldn’t have. I wouldn’t have come up with something like that. Which is what we all want from art, isn’t it? When someone pins down something that feels like it lives inside us? Takes a piece of your heart out and shows it to you? It’s like they are introducing you to a part of yourself.”

Billy

Have you read Daisy Jones & The Six?

I’d love to know what you thought in the comments below!


‘Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway’ by Susan Jeffers [Book Review]

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway is a truly powerful book and its lessons are enough to change any person’s life if they’re willing to take that uncomfortable and fearful step forwards. 

For this reason, I don’t think it’s surprising that there are a couple bad reviews floating around Goodreads – only because this book doesn’t mess around; it tells it how it is, and it tells you to take responsibility for your life. Many of us don’t like hearing it! 

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway touches upon many important life topics, but overall it promotes a positive mindset, how to face decisions in your life, and how to ultimately trust in your ability to handle whatever life throws at you. But what makes this book even greater is that it’s actionable. It doesn’t just tell you the end goal, it tells you how to get there. All you have to do is be willing to sign up for the journey.

This is the kind of book I will always keep on my shelf and reread in times when I feel stuck and need a positivity boost. I think if you go into this with an open mind, it can become significantly important to anyone. With many different sections, and the ability to underline important phrases (it’s very quotable!), it is easy to dip in and out of. I already find myself wanting to go back and give a few of the exercises a go.

I think even the prospect of this book might instil a little fear in some people – just because as a reader we know that reading it may encourage us to go out and do all those things we’ve been too scared to do – but, as I’ve said to myself over the past year or so, feeling fear is even more reason to go out and do it!

I think it’s impossible to always feel the fear and do it anyway, because fear is a powerful thing, but we can all make that one extra step each and everyday. And I hope by keeping this book by my side that I can keep reminding myself of this.

So, as Jeffers mentions in the book, say YES to the opportunity! Read the book and promote personal growth. Good things happen when we say YES, and who doesn’t need a bit more good in their life? 

When was the last time you felt the fear but did it anyway?

I’ve love to hear your inspiring stories in the comments!


Anne Frank: The Diary Of A Young Girl [Book Review]

“All I can do is wait, as calmly as possible, for it to end… The whole world is waiting, and many are waiting for death.”

If any time is a good time to read Anne Frank’s diary, it’s now. The parallels between wartime and the pandemic are overwhelmingly similar. Whilst we cannot imagine the terrors of shooting, bombs, and the rise of a leader, we can relate more than ever to the sense of being trapped indoors, to not knowing what will happen next, to feeling like each day we are living is the same. For this reason, I couldn’t help but pick up this diary and see how I felt about it.

Reading Anne Frank’s diary is, in short, a surreal experience. As many of us do, I already knew a lot about her story, but reading her diary itself felt much more personal. It amazes me that these words on a page were written purely for herself, and yet now they’ve been read by millions of people around the world. I hope she knows the impact she’s made, from wherever she is, because I really feel like she’s spoken for a community of young people during the war that would otherwise have been overlooked.

What I found most interesting about this book was Anne’s conflict between her “mask” of a self (the outgoing, chatterbox she is around everyone she knows) and the deeper, more sensitive self that comes out only when is alone. At the start of the diary, I too fell into the trap of believing her mask. At the start, she seems a little over-confident and it’s hard to really understand who she is as a person. However, the more I read, the more layers of her mind she unravelled, and at heart she had such a strong, loving character. Although she never showed her more serious side to others, the diary really opened up her contemplative side, where she had much deeper reflections on the world, others and her place within it.

Anne speaks a lot in the diary about feeling distanced from others. As a girl who kept her feelings inside, she talks about her parents not really knowing her. She yearns for meaningful connections with others, where she can talk about her deepest thoughts and fears, rather than surface-level acquaintances and, as someone who also prefers closer bonds, this is something I completely relate to. It must be difficult for her father to wrap his head around, reading a diary from his daughter that is so different to who he imagined her to be. But I think it’s a really interesting notion to think about – to remind ourselves that each and every one of us have a public and private self and we are all on a journey to align them.

I think the most surprising part of this book for me was Anne’s mature attitude towards her situation and the world. As she grew older throughout the diary, there were a lot of moments that made me really stop and think about her reflections. For a young girl living in destruction, she had some positive and empowering thoughts that show just how much an awful situation like that can change you as a person. As she mentions a few times in the diary, she became independent in her time there. She learnt how to look after herself and her mind in a time when she could have easily fallen apart. And it’s remarkable that her diary captures this in action.

I’d like to finish on a quote that I think is equally empowering and heart-breaking – that shows who Anne really was inside but is saddening in light of knowing her ending.

“In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

Anne Frank

Have you read Anne Frank’s diary?

I’d love to know what you thought in the comments.


‘The Truants’ by Kate Weinberg [Book Review]

The Truants is one of those books that is really quite difficult to explain – both in terms of plot and how good it really is. Character-driven and drenched in darker undertones, I was consumed by a world that felt like hanging delicately on the edge of a cliff, never knowing what felt stable. There is no “one mystery” to solve; you are simply waiting around as many lives and stories interweave to create something much like a disastrous maze, in which no one can really get out of.

It’s not the usual kind of book I would pick up. I had no idea what it would be like going into it. But wow, I must say, I was really blown away by the writing. I loved Weinberg’s style, and I don’t often say that about a lot of authors. She had a very unique, simple yet meaningful style and I loved the parts that were written like inner reflections of the mind poured onto a page (those who have read it, you know what I mean – the ending).

Surprisingly, I realised during the book that it was also inspired by UEA, since the author studied her masters in creative writing there. This initiated an unexpected wave of nostalgia for me, since I graduated there, also having studied creative writing (but as an undergrad) earlier this year. Whether this had an effect on my connection to the book, I don’t know. But it did feel comfortingly familiar to me in some ways.

Overall, I feel quite taken aback by this book. It’s a truly original piece of work and a surprisingly good debut. There are flaws, of course – one of them obviously being the likelihood of a lecturer befriending her students – but at its core it’s a very intriguing read. I will certainly look out for more of Weinberg’s books in the future.

What book have you been reading recently?

Let me know in the comments below!


‘Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman [Book Review]

Admittedly, I’ve had this book on my shelves for way too long. After hearing all the wonderful reviews, I finally sat down and gave it a read, and it was far from what I expected!


Summary

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. Her days roll into one as she goes to work, eats the same lunch, returns home and drinks away her weekend. She’s odd, she’s an outsider, and she doesn’t quite fit in – and she doesn’t really want to either. Not until she realises quite what she’s missing…

My Thoughts

I don’t think I’ve ever had such a change of heart from the beginning to the end of a book. I started Eleanor Oliphant not quite sure what I had got myself into. The premise seemed simple. I wasn’t sure I liked the writing. In my head, I was convinced it would be a 2 star read.

However, the more I read, the more intrigued I was by Eleanor. The more I read, the more I began to care about the characters as genuine people. And I don’t think I’ve felt so immersed in a book for a long while; I really would lose track of time.

(Warning: Spoilers ahead!)

I think the turning point for me in this book was when the character of Eleanor became not just a surface-level being, but the author let us, as readers, into her thought pattern, her struggles and why she is the way she is. And I felt so bad for her. She’s a character perhaps we can never really understand or relate to on every level (and Eleanor says this herself in the book), but most of us have, as humans, on some level experienced the journey she has been through – realising the value in small acts of kindness and the power of human connection.

There are so many unique qualities to this book that will remain with me for a long while, eventually leading me to give it 5 stars. From Eleanor’s naive misunderstandings in the Bobby Brown make up section, which genuinely made me laugh, to the beautiful friendship between Eleanor and Raymond that I’m so glad wasn’t ruined by an unnecessary romance. Eleanor is a strong person, even when she believes she’s far from it. Her past haunts her but, with time, she learns to truly overcome it.

I read somewhere that Honeyman was inspired to write this book after speaking to a young lady who said she never spoke to a soul between the time she left work on Fridays until she returned on Monday mornings. It’s interesting how, as a society, we think of loneliness as a struggle of the elderly, and yet it can affect young people just as strongly. This book was such a heart-warming exploration of how a lonely soul, who believes she can take care of herself, finds happiness in friendship, opening herself up to a world she never knew existed.

And I think, deep down, it’s also an exploration of what we call home. Eleanor has lived in the same place since university and she sees it as home, but it isn’t until the end that that home becomes meaningful. As people, it’s often not the place that is valuable to us; it’s the memories that live there. We find a home in other people. And Eleanor, until the end, has never really felt that before.

Have you read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine?

Let me know what you thought in the comments!


‘The Man I Think I Know’ by Mike Gayle [Book Review]

I’m afraid I have been led astray by high rated reviews again… because this was another popular book that just fell completely flat for me! A wonderful premise, not so great execution, and I may have loved the cover more than the book itself…

Summary

The Man I Think I Know follows two male protagonists who once were acquaintances at school. Brought together by a string of unlikely circumstances, they meet again. With James’ slow recovery from a brain injury and Danny’s lack of a job, they develop a friendship and help one another fight the struggles in their life.

My Thoughts

As you can see from my (not so great) attempt at summarising this book, I really don’t know how to describe my experience with this book. I’m always tentative starting something with high expectations, and yet I always find myself wondering how my opinion of a book can be so overwhelmingly different to the majority of the people who have read it. It just proves the power of perspective.

The main reason this book did not resonate with me was that I felt like there was very poor character development. With a book on such a sensitive topic, speaking about brain injury, alcoholism and depression, I would expect to have some emotional attachment to the situations at hand, but I found myself completely detached. Although the perspective was switching between the two main characters, I often lost myself on who was speaking because there were no differentiating characteristics. It was like they just moulded into the same person, with the only difference being one calling the other “mate”.

However, the dialogue was the most frustrating part for me. It was unbelievably unrealistic and it felt stilted and forced. Normal conversations were turned into arguments in a matter of seconds with no build up, and there were too many clichés in this book to count, including the typical argument conclusion “it’s not fair!” from a grown woman, and the classic “my heart feels like it has just broken into a million tiny pieces.” I have no comment.

I so wanted to like this book, and I think that’s why I kept going until the end. There had to be a redeeming quality, right? It had such great reviews, after all. And I don’t think it was a pointless book – it got me reflecting on what it would be like to have to start life over again, for things to not go the way you had planned, and the importance of family and friends in supporting you. However, the switch never flicked. I got to the end – to the cringey, predictable and unsatisfying end – and I felt nothing.

I wish I could see this book through the eyes of all the four and five star reviews, but it just wasn’t for me. Instead, you get to read another of my ranting reviews!

Pick this book up if you like – maybe you’ll enjoy it more than I did – but for now, I’ll happily move onto the next book in my to-be-read pile, and hope it goes better than this did!

What book have you been reading lately?

Any good recommendations?

Let me know in the comments below!


‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens [Book Review]

Beautifully unique, and full of intricate descriptions of nature at its most vulnerable, Where the Crawdads Sing is different to any other book I’ve read.

Summary

Kya Clark, known as the “Marsh Girl”, lives amongst the gulls and the sand, residing in a shack on the edge of the marsh with no true company than herself. When a murder echoes across the town, rumour has it that it is the “Marsh Girl”. But what can be said of an isolated girl, with nothing but the wild beauty of nature by her side?

My Thoughts

This was one of the only books I’ve read where I felt immersed in the world within the first few pages. Owens has such a unique writing style that I couldn’t help but feel nature right at my fingertips, authentic and all-consuming as soon as the story began.

There is a meaningful slowness to this book, a capacity to really breathe in every empty space within the marsh as if it is your own. And I imagine that is what it felt like for Kya, to have a home deep-rooted in the earth itself. It is an inspiring reflection on what it means to truly be connected to life.

I’m not sure I really knew the character of Kya, even by the end of the book, but I feel like this was entirely the point. It was all about an isolated and misunderstood girl who doesn’t speak her truth, not in the way that she’s always wanted to. Instead, her passion for nature rings her soul.

This beautiful debut novel, with a truly wonderful ending, had me consumed in a world I’m sure won’t leave me for a long while. This book isn’t to be understood, but to be hugged from the inside, to feel life on the flip side, to be grateful for our feet on the ground and the people by our side.

Have you read Where the Crawdads Sing?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi [Book Review]

I bought this book on a complete whim when I was out in Waterstones for the first time since before lockdown, and I was super excited! I loved the cover, had heard the name flying about somewhere on bookstagram, so thought: why not give it a go?

Summary

Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a Japanese bestseller in translation, all about a little coffee shop in the back alley of Tokyo with unique powers – the ability to send people back in time. If a visitor sits in one particular seat, they can travel back to any moment they choose. But there’s a catch: they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold.

My Thoughts

First of all, I just wanted to say how much I love the concept of this book. I have such a vivid image in my head of what it would be like to live in this coffee shop of a world, where travelling in time becomes a way of finding purpose, of understanding others, of understanding yourself. I found myself telling my family the plot of the book in so much detail, because it’s such an inspiring story, I couldn’t help talking about it!

However, there is a but. The but is that I really did not enjoy the writing itself, and that disappoints me so much. I really wanted to like it – I tried so hard to like it – but I couldn’t connect to the characters in the way I wanted to. It felt like standing in front of a brick wall and I just couldn’t get past it.

For me, a good book is one I can connect with on a deeper level, one where the characters come alive and exist in themselves, and I think with this one they felt a little bit like templates that hadn’t fully formed inside my head yet, which is such a shame, but that’s my honest opinion!

Overall, I feel like this book has so much potential – there are so many different directions it could have taken. The key message by the end of the book did swing it for me a little, because I liked the way it was concluded (I won’t reveal spoilers, don’t worry), but I can’t give it more than 3 stars.

This book won’t be for everyone, and it was a very conflicting read for me, but I still feel like I got something out of it – I’m sure the plot will stick with me for a while, regardless.

Have you read Before the Coffee Gets Cold?

Let me know in the comments below!


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