Sunday, 18 March 2018

What I've Been Reading Lately

books I've read, currently reading or want to read


I've kind of missed talking about books. As a self-confessed bookworm, there's nothing more I love doing than ranting on about a book I'm currently reading or want to read. I think this comes from the fact that I started reading from about the age of two so by the time I went to nursery aged 4 I was devouring books like I now devour Oreos (obsessively). This love of books remains a strong part of my life right up until today, and I find relaxing with a good book for a couple of hours the idea of bliss.

I've spoken a couple of times on here and on my Youtube channel about my love for books and reviews on what I'm currently reading, but it kind of petered out when I went travelling. I was (of course) reading while I was out there, and even brought a few more books back with me, but I had gotten out of the habit of discussing it with other people and on my different outlets.

I'm resolving that today by coming to you with an update on what I've been reading lately, including the books I've read over the past couple of months, what I'm currently reading now, and what I want to read in the next few months. I'm on a mission to read a book a month this year, and with this lot, I'm certainly on the way to achieving that.

WHAT I HAVE READ


books I've read


GONE GIRL BY GILLIAN FLYNN


After seeing the film a few years ago, I knew I wanted to read this psychological thriller - I'm one of those weird people who will compare a book to its film adaptation and vice versus. This is certainly one rollercoaster ride and is thankfully pretty similar to the film (I just hate it when a film is nothing like the original book). I found I was displaying the same mixture of empathy and suspicion towards Nick as I did to Ben Affleck, and was still as shocked by the twists and turns when they occurred even though I knew what was coming.

In my mind, this shows how fantastic a writer Flynn is- she's able to create the suspense and shock that you might feel when watching a thriller but through written words. I also think the way she switches between Nick and Amy works perfectly to lay out this story as well as creating a timeline for us to follow. I feel this is a book I can always dive back into to lose myself in the strained and tense relationship of the Dunne's. 

CAROL BY PATRICIA HIGHSMITH


I very rarely put down a book before finishing it and if I do, it's because I really don't like it. Unfortunately, this was the case with this book. I managed to last until just over halfway through but by that time I was well and truly finished with this mentally. 

I can't tell whether it's just my young fast-paced mind but this was so slow. This love story focuses on the relationship between a young awkward sales assistant and a soon to be divorced housewife in the 1950's, and the sexual tension between the two of them builds up very quickly from the start but seems far too drawn out. There is no pace or variety, and the whole 'will they, won't they' fiasco carries on without a single thing happening so by halfway through I started to get a bit bored. This is a long book too, and the events that were unfolding seemed to be having no impact on me whatsoever. 

I always feel guilty when I don't finish a book but I knew that I couldn't make it through the rest of the book without throwing my kindle at the wall in frustration. I even skipped through to the end (something I never do and do not recommend doing if you want to be a spoilsport to yourself) and for me, the ending was rather disappointing. 

THE DANISH GIRL BY DAVID EBERSHOFF


I had read this before starting Carol and could be the reason why I didn't click with it. This moving love story is loosely based on the life of Lili Elbe, a pioneer in transgender history and her struggles with dealing with her feelings and transformation in the 20th Century. I immediately fell in love with Einar and Greta, and how their love blossoms into a close partnership as Einar realises he isn't in the body he should be in. 

His childlike innocence at the beginning soon turns into a burning confidence as Lili emerges from the inside out, and instead of being horrified by this change, Greta encourages and supports him through the whole process. It is a truly magical, remarkable and inspirational story, one that I hold very dear to my heart as it shows that life is full of happiness when you can be exactly who you want to be.


THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER BY STEPHEN CHBOSKY


I took this away in my hand luggage when I went backpacking, mainly because it was light but also because I was super curious about the hype around this. It had been sitting in my 'to read' pile for a long time, but something made me reach for it when I was packing my bags. Maybe because this book would be as life-changing as the trip...

This coming-of-age story is one that will remain on my bookshelf for many years to come, as it's one of those stories that is so familiar but so new all at once. Even though I consider myself an extrovert, I found Charlie's introverted mannerisms charming and they transported me back to my own school days, trying to navigate the many twists and turns it presented to me. In an environment filled with first dates, making friends, drugs, and hormones, Charlie finds his own way to find his place in the world. 

After finishing the book, I immediately found the film and watched it during one of the many flights I ended up on and I can honestly say this has its place among some of my favourite books of all time. 

A CORNER OF MY HEART BY MARK SEAMAN*


This was my first ever gifted book from a publishing house, and I am super grateful I had the chance to read this. I've just finished it and I feel like there's so much I want to talk about (please let me know if you want a long ranty post or video about it because that can certainly be done). 

The story revolves around Mary, who was given up for adoption at seven weeks old, and her birth mother Ruth, and how their lives play out over the years as they slowly make their way back to each other. Mary had a child of her own at a similar time to when Ruth had her, and we see how these two mothers are treated very differently during the early and late part of the 20th century. Out of the two, I felt like I was drawn to Ruth more as she holds her strength through so many horrific events. For some reason I just couldn't gel with Mary- I found it really hard to show empathy to her while she toyed with whether she should meet her birth mother or not. 

I really enjoyed this book and was always excited to sit down and read a bit more each evening, but sometimes I felt like it dragged a bit, especially when it came to the speech. I found there were times when a certain detail would be explained, only for the character to say exactly the same thing directly after. This was something I got used to and accepted as the writing style. For me as well, setting the era is always important, and I found sometimes when I read Mary's parts that I forgot when it was set altogether. I could have been reading a modern novel, which shows that this story does transgress time but I also feel more could have been made of the late 70's setting especially. 

This book, however, highlights the specifics of how women were treated after the war, with all young mothers who were unmarried being seen as 'easy' regardless of the how they got pregnant. This is worth a read if you want to see how women's rights and freedom have changed massively over the past seventy years. 


WHAT I'M CURRENTLY READING


books I'm reading


AND THEN THERE WERE NONE BY AGATHA CHRISTIE


I am a huge Agatha Christie fan and have always had a soft spot for a bit of Poirot or Miss Marple. I haven't, however, delved into any of her other novels but after watching the TV adaptation of this a couple of Christmas's ago, I immediately added it to my reading list. This mystery thriller centres itself around ten strangers who are brought together at Soldier Island by a mystery host. However, strange things start to happen as they are accused by their unknown host of crimes they have committed and soon they start dropping like flies. 

I adore Christie's style and so far she has set the scene beautifully, introducing each character with surprising ease, so much so that we already feel like we know them already. This is hard to do with ten protagonists but we soon are able to tell the difference between all of them without getting confused. 

THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF NOT GIVING A F**K BY SARAH KNIGHT


I really have no idea why I left it so long to read this. I picked this up just before we went away, rediscovered it after returning and boy am I loving it so far! Knight is funny, witty, and just totally gets what we're all feeling about pleasing people and stressing ourselves out over the tiniest of things.

Her humour has allowed me to absorb her tips without even knowing I am, and so far I'm learning to not feel guilty about saying no to things and people. Knight explains how you should be caring about the things that make you happy and the rest you can just get rid of. This way of mentally decluttering my worries is extraordinary, and even though I've not read a book with so many swear words on one page alone, it lightens the mood when discussing subjects like dealing with work, friends, and family. 


WHAT I WANT TO READ NEXT

books I want to read


LITTLE BLACK BOOK BY OTEGHA UWAGBA


I know, I know, I fell into the hype of this one. Sorry Not Sorry (I guess that Knight's book is helping already). I found recently that I've been drawn to self-help books as much as fiction, and I think we've all seen this as a common trend over the past couple of years. As someone who works part-time and freelances on the side, I've found myself reading blog posts on handling your working life and so thought this little handbook would be right up my street. 

As well as helping career-driven women working their way up the job ladder, this apparently works for freelancers too, meaning this will hopefully be relatable and helpful at the same time. 


SAPIENS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMANKIND BY YUVAL NOAH HARARI


I have always been intrigued by evolution (you can thank David Attenborough for that) and so when I saw people talking about this book pretty much everywhere, I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about. 

Sapiens journeys through our history from the Stone Age and talks about how we came to be the dominant species of today as well as where we're going to be going in the future. I'm so excited to get stuck into this, as learning about who we are is so fascinating to me and how we need to be so careful about our impact on this earth. 

ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE BY GAIL HONEYMAN


After seeing a couple of people talking about this book, it caught my eye and so I took a chance and popped it into my basket. I read up a bit more about it and this sounds like a heartbreaking tale about a woman who has built up walls around herself to create this 'happy life' she thinks suits her. 

However she is rocked by a small act of kindness and soon her routine starts to unravel, showing how change can sometimes be the best thing we need. So many of us put on a brave face for the people around us to show that we're doing 'fine' but really we know that that isn't a way to live. 

THE F WORD BY LILY PEBBLES


I believe in supporting great women and this is one example. I'm over the time when I would buy every Youtuber's book even if it was a bit rubbish, but I bought this one because it seemed like a genuinely interesting read to me. 

Lily has decided to talk about something that has been a rollercoaster part of my life over these past few years: friendships. As someone who has lost a couple of close friends, I felt this book would be a good insight into female friendships in the modern day and how amazing or life-destroying they can be. 

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I hope you've enjoyed getting back into the book convo as much as I have! Expect lot's more reviews and book hauls featuring on here over the next year. 

What have you been reading lately? Anything you'd recommend I read?

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12 comments

  1. Placed my order for Eleanor just yesterday, can't wait to read it. I ordered also the Flight Attendant, seems promising to me.
    Helene // Beautiful Is My Attire

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    1. Oh fab, can't wait to read that! I'll take a look, haven't heard of that one

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  2. I thought Gone Girl was an AMAZING book! I still haven't seen the movie, but I read the book non-stop when I finally picked it up, and it honestly blew my mind. Nothing was the way I thought it was, and as someone who usually reads fluffy YA novels, going to a psychological thriller like this really got to me - but in a good way!

    It really showed me that I need to try reading different types of books, as there are so many amazing books out there that I need to read! I also adored Perks of Being a Wallflower. There's only two books that I have loved enough to read twice, and that is one of them!

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    1. I definitely recommend seeing the film, I think it did the book justice :) totally agree, it's definitely a bit of a whirlwind! I hold Perks in a special place in my heart x

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  3. I've heard so many great things about both Gone Girl and Danish Girl- and I have to say, I have yet to read them.... They have been on my list for a while now. Your post was so enjoyable, you have gorgeous photography <3

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    1. You definitely need to read them!! Oh that's so kind thank you so much :D

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  4. Eleanor Oliphant is an amazing book with such a wonderful innocent point of view! I loved it.

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  5. I love Agatha Christie novels! I decided to reread them when I got a kindle and they're good even on a reread. Did you read Murder on the Orient Express and/or see the new adaptation of it? I enjoyed the film version because of having read the book and knowing who all the famous actors play.

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    1. That's a fab idea! I haven't read it or seen the new version but I'm a huge fan of the older film adaptations of it!

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  6. I loved Life Changing Magic - it gave me a much healthier outlook :)
    Cora | http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/

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