My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan tells the story of American Ella Durran who goes to Oxford to study on a Rhodes scholarship. It’s meant to be a short academic year stay to make her resume look great and to fulfill a childhood dream to study at Oxford. Even though she’s only twenty-four she is asked to help out on a political campaign back home in America where there’s a high chance the candidate could become the next president. So she’s studying at Oxford, helping in a political campaign and a bright future is mapped out for her when she gets back home. Continue reading
I’m always talking about how much I love books. But like everyone else, sometimes I get annoyed by the little things. These bookish problems are certainly not the end of the world but some days they can make me go aargh!
Today in the spirit of getting them off my chest, I’m listing my bookish pet peeves. So here they are in no particular order: Continue reading
Why do you like reading books? That’s a question I often get asked in a horrified tone by the non-bookish people in my life. People who never read, don’t understand why I do. I’ve long since given up trying to win them over to reading. In fact, I often turn the question back on them and ask ‘Well, why don’t you like reading?’ For me, reading is something I do as naturally as I breathe. I just have to read because I love it. But let me try to delve a little further into the ‘why’.
I love to read because I’m interested in the world and other cultures. I can learn so much about places I may never go from reading about them. Or I end up visiting these places because I’ve read so much about them. One of the reasons I went and lived in the UK for a year and a half was because of all the English literature I read. I can also learn about different experiences and points-of-view such as what it’s like struggling with your sexuality, or dealing with racism, or living in poverty.
One problem that bookaholics are always dealing with is our never-ending to be read pile. I currently have more than fifty books waiting patiently for me to read them. Some of these books have been on my shelves forever.
With such a huge pile of books to be read you would think that I would stop buying more books but unfortunately I don’t work that way. I am easily swayed by other people’s recommendations, pretty covers and new release books surrounded by buzz and so my pile keeps growing and growing. Maybe I should stop sugar-coating it and just admit that I am greedy when it comes to books. I see, I want, I will maybe read it later. Continue reading
I haven’t been posting many reviews in the last couple of weeks because I’m six books into the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas. This series is epic in scale, and I’m loving it, but it’s dominating my reading time at the moment. I don’t want to do a book by book review because of spoilers but I will post something non-spoilery about the series soon.
So to combat my review drought, I have decided to look back at the past four months of reading and pick my favourite books in a few different genres. If you are looking for your next great read, feel free to click on the links below to go to my original review. Happy Reading!
Best Fiction/Literature Reads
1 Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is a novel that deserves all the buckets of praise it’s getting. If you like books with a quirky narrator who is different from any other character you’ve ever read about, then this is a book that will warm your heart. I haven’t encountered a character like Eleanor before. The way she thinks and acts throughout the book had me laughing, cringing and pitying her. I also cheered her on as she opened up more to people and life.
My Verdict: Read this if you want to meet an unforgettable protagonist who gives you all the feels.
2. Still Me by Jojo Moyes is such a delightful read and the perfect conclusion to the three book series which began with Me Before You and continued with After You. I know it’s rude of me to recommend you read a book that is the third book in a series, but I am urging you to go and read the whole series. If you want to get your heart smashed to pieces and then stuck back together again then please give this series a read.
My Verdict: I don’t give starred reviews on this blog… if I did, this book would get 5 stars. I loved it!
3. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng is a novel that is popping up everywhere and it’s such a great read that is worthy of all the hype! It’s a story about teenagers, mothers, families, parenting, art, race, class, creativity and love, told from many perspectives. There’s also a court case woven into the story that will have you debating both sides.
My Verdict: An absolute gem of a book that is beautifully written.
Best YA Reads
Big books are my weakness. For most of my reading life, I’ve been attracted to weighty tomes with hundreds of pages. Why? Because if the book turns out to be a story that I really love it means I can spend a long time between its pages. Also, I always feel like I am getting value for money when buying a juicy, thick book as opposed to something that’s over in a couple of hundred pages but that’s the same price.
My love of big books and lots of words in one place crept into my own writing life. When I was at high school and had to write a history essay, everyone else would hand in a few pages while I handed in a 20 page epic. I was never able to write a short story as I always had too much to say and explore. It was only when I started working in marketing and had to craft one-liners for advertisements (due to space issues) that I reluctantly learned the art of being succinct.
I usually pass on reading short stories and collections of short stories as they are not hefty enough for me. I’ll only consider reading novellas by favourite authors after I have read all their full length books. Short and sweet just isn’t me!
Dear Unfinished Book,
I will never forget being introduced to you for the first time by our mutual friend. They said you had a lot of great qualities and that I should give you a go. I know that looks aren’t everything but your outer appearance really appealed to me and you were large in size as well which I like in a book. On the surface we seemed like the perfect match.
So we met and I took you home. I was in a relationship with another book at the time but ended it amicably to make room for you in my life. Our first proper chance to get to know each other happened on the train on the way to work. You opened up to me but I found it difficult to relate to you… it was then that I started experiencing doubts. After a few more dates it has become clear that we aren’t compatible. We gave it a go, but unfortunately our short relationship is not working out.
It’s not you, it’s me. I really wanted us to connect, but we are too different. You are very intelligent and full of complex ideas, whereas I am much simpler. You are very serious and I like a bit of light to go with the darkness.
I’m sorry we didn’t work out. I hope we can part as friends. Maybe one day soon I can introduce you to someone else who will appreciate all you have to offer.
Good-bye for now. I hope you find the reader you deserve.
What books have you started and could not finish?
Do you feel like your book club has gone a bit stale? Are your members starting to drop like flies? Are you wondering why your once fun book club has turned into a chore? Here are 15 ways to freshen up your book club.
1. Match food and drink to the book you are discussing
Nothing goes better with a book discussion than nibbles and something great to drink and what better way to brighten your book club then by adding a food theme. For example, if your book club was reading a novel set in a quaint English village, you could discuss the book over cups of tea and scones with jam and cream at a café or someone’s home.
2. Read the book and then see the movie
Read a book that is just being released as a movie and then see the movie together, followed by book club. Nothing sparks a debate like a discussion about a book verses the movie adaption. It can create so many things to talk about such as the book version of a character verses the movie version–did they get the casting right? What bits of the book were done really well onscreen and what changes were made that were questionable? With so many movies these days being based on books, you can never run out of material. If you want to save some money you can always review an older book and watch the DVD instead of forking out for a cinema ticket.
3. If you were casting the movie …
Add some fun to your book club meeting by discussing who you would cast in a movie adaption of a book and why. You could even come to the meeting dressed as your favourite character!
4. Do some further reading
Whoever suggested the book might like to do some research about the author and bring this information to the next meeting. Discuss how what you know about the author’s life may have influenced their writing. Find some author interviews online or look and see if the publisher has some ‘Further reading’ material available on their website. Sometimes they may also have Q and A’s. Discuss how this extra information adds or detracts from your understanding of the book.