Overall Impression: A heartwarming tale about childhood and sisterhood, and the perils of growing up.
It was a cold and hopeless winter morning, with frost thick on the ground that I decided to pick up Little Women. I was in the most unpleasant depths of a cold, and my brain felt as though it was stuffed with cotton wool. I will confess that I was feeling pretty low and fed up as I sat moaning under a blanket on my sofa. Bored with back to back TV, I picked up Little Women (which I had recently gotten free from the radio times due to a new adaptation) and began reading with much trepidation, feeling that if it was anything like Jane Austen’s work (which I don’t have the greatest affection for) it would be a bit of a slog. So, it was much to my surprise that a few chapters in, I found myself rather enchanted, and subsequently made my way through the second book Good Wives as well within a space of a week. Continue reading
Good evening ladies and gents!
Guess what, today we’re going highbrow. While I was away doing ALL THE THINGS, I made good progress with The Rory Gilmore Book Challenge (seems fitting considering the Gilmore Girls Revival). I’m really enjoying chronicling my progress with this because these books push me as a reader. Recently I picked up Jane Eyre and David Copperfield, and they both shot straight into my favourites list. While they’re very different stories, they both feel timeless and relevant to modern life. To put it in a non, 19th century way, they kick literary ass!
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Overall Impression: A Gothic, haunting tale of one girl’s fight for independence, dignity and respect in a world that isn’t quite ready for her yet.
Jane Eyre, oh where do I start with you? What a wonderful book. I make no secret of the fact that I love Gothic 19th century writing. It tickles all the right spots for me. It’s overdramatic and sweeps you down into it’s depths, it’s passionate and strong and willful. It’s emotive and tantalizing to the senses, full of descriptions of grand buildings, dark landscapes and mysterious characters with confusing motives.
So, in case you don’t know that much about Jane Eyre, the book centers around a young lady looking for employment. Continue reading
Hello, everyone! This week is mental health awareness week run by the Mental Health Foundation. As this is an area I’m really passionate about both personally and as a psychology student, to do my bit I’ve decided to run a blog feature where I and guest bloggers talk about mental health related topics paired with books and/or blogging to help raise awareness. 🙂
So the first thing I want to talk about this week is some of the best fiction books I’ve read featuring mental health so far in my reading journey. There are a lot of novels about mental health out there, but only a few I’ve come across that do it well, without romanticising illness or having characters fall into certain stereotypes. It’s a difficult balance to master, but here’s five that do it well!
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Hello everyone, hope you’re well! I have a guest post for you today from the company Playster, who are here to talk about Shakespeare and the English language. I have to say, reading this post, I was shocked at some of the words that originally came from Shakespeare! Hope you enjoy. 🙂
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Playster.com is a great source for all things Shakespeare. We’ve got tons of material on the bard, from books, to collections of his sonnets and copies of his greatest plays, to music inspired by the magical worlds he created. Have you ever thought about what a huge impact William Shakespeare had on the English language? Check out these 8 words you’ll never believe he invented!
“Radiance” – All’s Well That Ends Well, Act 1 Scene 1
Hey guys, gals and enthusiastic bookworms. I’ve decided to go all highbrow today and review some classics, The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I’m pleased to say that I’ve come to really enjoy reading classics, they make for such an interesting reading experience because even if you don’t end up loving them, you always learn something! I went through a patch last year of not reading many, but my enthusiasm for them has recently been renewed so I picked these two off the Rory Gilmore Challenge to give a go. As always, I am not an English major, but here’s what I thought:
Overall Impression: A fascinating character study of a young teen full of contradictions.
I don’t know why this book works, but it does. On paper, it sounds oh so boring and like a school child’s required reading worst nightmare. It’s a book where nothing happens, where the main character after getting expelled from his private school, wanders around New York City meeting up with random people because he doesn’t want to go home and confront his parents. It’s a story about a whiny privileged white kid who throws opportunities to have a good life away, and yet somehow, despite sounding like a recipe for disaster and epic hate, it’s absolutely wonderful. But I can definitely see why this book has split so many opinions! Continue reading
Umbreen from Read by Umbreen has been kind enough to tag me for the My Life in Books tag! I’m quite picky about which tags I do these days because there are a lot floating around, but this one seemed like great fun so I decided to give it a go. So, onwards dear readers!
Find a book for each of your initials.
This was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be! I guess I’m lucky to have initials that are on quite a few book titles. I picked Beautiful Creatures because despite the novel having many flaws and somewhat frustrating characters, it’s one of the most atmospherically gothic tales I’ve ever read and it also has epic library descriptions! I still have yet to finish this series, I really need to get back to it! Am I Normal Yet is a novel I read this year about a teen with an anxiety disorder who is going to weekly therapy sessions and trying to slowly come off medication. It’s one of the most accurate books about mental health I’ve ever read, and I hope to review it soon. 🙂 Finally, I picked Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares because it’s a Christmassy book about two teens running around New York City writing in a red notebook! Continue reading
As bookworms, we often picture what our dream library will look like. Perhaps it will be hidden by a secret door tucked away from the world. Maybe it will have oak beams, spiral staircases, plush chairs, a crackling fire; and you can bet it will have bookshelves reaching to the ceiling with a rickety ladder you can slide up and down all day. But do you know what I hadn’t ever considered? What books would actually be in that collection. The ones I already own, obviously. But if I had the money to create a truly awe inspiring library, surely I would also have the means to acquire some expensive, truly remarkable antique books as well! So when the auction website Invaluable.com contacted me about doing a post on my dream literary collection I thought it was a brilliant idea! Here’s what I came up with.
Hello, dear bookworms of the interwebs! I hope you’ve all been enjoying soaking up the summer rays, especially if you live in the UK where we’ve been having a serious heat wave (to those of you stuck in offices with poor air conditioning I weep for your souls). Personally, I have been indulging in some well deserved time off. My final year of university was a super stressful slog, so I am currently taking advantage of my post-student but have-yet-to-be employed status (Yep, I’m a slacker now!) by catching up with family, friends and my books (not necessarily in that order).
As a gift to myself for completing my degree I decided to splurge on some books I had been pining over for a while, especially now I have the opportunity to fit in some serious summer reading!
So first up we have two YA contemporaries that deal with an important topic Continue reading
Overall Impression: A mesmerizing book of ideas and what-ifs, set in a dreary, heartless future.
Whoa, this was one amazing book.
I had no idea what to expect from Fahrenheit 451 when I picked it up, other than that it was a novel about burning books and was generally held in lower esteem than its dystopian rival, 1984. When I spotted the novel last summer looking battered and lonely in the sci-fi section of a second hand bookshop I couldn’t help but adopt it. It had clearly been mistreated and needed a new home. The spine was torn, the pages orange with age and reeking of must, yet oddly it added to its charm. It almost seemed as if the novel had been through the same hardships that had occurred in the story, that it had come a little too close to being incinerated in its lifetime and was now a scarred casualty of war.
Yeah, I know, I have an overactive imagination right?!
This book was also read as part of The Rory Gilmore Challenge.
Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house?
The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.
While I can easily say that Fahrenheit 451 is one of the best novels I’ve ever read, it’s also one of the weirdest and to begin with I had no idea what to make of the whole thing! From the first page you are thrust into the deep end, Continue reading
Overall Impression: A sweet little tale full of childish adventure.
I’ll fess up now, I bought this purely because it was on The Rory Gilmore Challenge, not because I had any inclination to read it. I picked it up from the hidden depths of a bargain bucket, forking out a whopping 10p to pay for it. I’d say that’s a pretty good deal! Even though E.B. White has long been considered a prestigious children’s author and I remembered enjoying the Stuart Little films when I was younger, I didn’t have high expectations. So, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it! That’s the great thing about this challenge, it makes me pick up books I never would have considered reading otherwise. 🙂
He’s one small mouse on one very big adventure.
Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother, George, and Snowbell the cat. Though he’s shy and thoughtful, he’s also a true lover of adventure.
When his best friend, a beautiful little bird named Margalo, disappears from her nest, Stuart is determined to track her down. He ventures away from home for the very first time in his life and finds adventure aplenty, but will he find his friend?
Stuart Little has all the elements needed for a great children’s book, there are an array of cute and fuzzy animals (mice, cats, birds), daring adventures with an element of danger (such as trips down the drain and rides in the garbage truck), positive morals weaved throughout and a heartfelt friendship between two characters that gives you something to root for. Continue reading
Overall Impression: A beautiful, deeply moving book about the best and worst humanity has to offer.
How strange is it that I decided To Kill a Mockingbird was going to be my next read only a few days before everybody was in uproar about Michael Gove axing it from the UK English curriculum? Could there have been a more perfect time for me to start reading this, when everyone is feeling so passionate about it?
To Kill a Mockingbird has always been one of those novels I felt everyone except me had read. I wasn’t given the option to study it at school and for years and years people’s pop culture references about Atticus, Scout and Boo Radley were utterly lost on me. Before diving in all I knew about Lee’s famous tale was that it was set in the south and tackled the topic of racism, but this novel has so much more to offer than that.
This book was also read as part of The Rory Gilmore Challenge.
‘Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’
Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel – a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped in prejudice and hypocrisy. Continue reading
Do you have one thing you always go out and buy when you’re feeling a little down, a bit meh, or slightly avoidey? Some people like to ‘eat their feelings’, others get a kick out of retail therapy. Me? I buy books. Lots and lots of books.
Pretty much any high or low in my life is dealt with by getting my hands on a shiny new novel. Feeling sad because you didn’t get that grade you wanted? Buy a book! Need a break from real life? A book will do just the trick! Super psyched you passed that tough assignment? Well done you clever clogs you worked so hard, you know what you deserve? Yepp you guessed it, a book.
Over the last month one thing has occupied my thoughts, the imminent return to university accompanied by a pang of back to real life anxiety and the imminent doom of my social life (Hello unrelenting assignments. Why did I choose a science degree again?). So, naturally I compensated by investing in some spellbinding stories. 🙂 So without further ado, let me present you with reading my feelings! Or er…buying them. Continue reading
Overall Impression: Toasty fires, moral messages and spooky ghosts. This is the crème de la crème of Christmas books.
I was desperate to get in the Christmas spirit this year. With agonising deadlines in full force I was in dire need of some festive cheer. A Christmas Carol seemed like the perfect choice to fill that void and tide me over until the holidays. 🙂 My vintage classic edition contained three of the five Christmas stories in the collection Dickens created, A Christmas Carol, The Chimes and The Haunted Man which I didn’t realise until I began reading. I will have to make an effort to search out the others next year! Oddly enough I also discovered that Washington Irving’s writings on Christmas I waded though last April were a big inspiration for Dickens when writing these stories, who knew? 🙂
This book was also read as part of The Rory Gilmore Challenge.
Ebenezer Scrooge is unimpressed by Christmas. He has no time for festivities or goodwill toward his fellow men and is only interested in money. Then, on the night of Christmas Eve, his life is changed by a series of ghostly visitations that show him some bitter truths about his choices. A Christmas Carol is Dickens’ most influential book and a funny, clever and hugely enjoyable story.
If you like Dickens writing style this may be your perfect Christmas book. His wonderful descriptions transport you to 19th century England walking along the cobbled streets catching whiffs of roasted chestnuts as everyone greets you with a heartwarming Merry Christmas, the cold making their rosy cheeks appear full of life and happiness. It is hard, no, impossible not to get sucked in to Dickens quaint and quintessential descriptions of imaginary people indulging in the holiday cheer. Continue reading
I am sad to say that there are some books I have had on my shelf for the longest time and completely neglected. I have mentioned before now that I am almost unable to bypass a good book deal, and my literature related whims can be impossible to control. It’s the one area of my life I allow myself to splurge on, everyone needs an outlet and reading is mine! But the problem with books is you have to invest the time, something which can be tough to do in 2013, a world of endless information, social networking, TV channels and music. Not to mention all our responsibilities, from family and friends to education and work.
Possibly my worst bookworm trait is that I get distracted by my current book purchases and so some of my older ones occasionally slip through the cracks and get left on my shelf to collect dust for years! So, allow me to direct you to the realm of my forgotten books. 🙂 Continue reading
Well this is probably going to be another short but sweet post I imagine because seriously, who tells people they’ve read something when they haven’t?! (Apologies if you actually HAVE done that) I could understand someone doing it at a young age I guess if they wanted to look cool or intellectual, but I don’t see why anyone would feel the need to do that. There is nothing wrong with saying you haven’t read a book, no matter how popular or critically acclaimed it is. There are so many wonderful novels in the world and it is impossible to read all of them! So instead I am going for ‘a book you tell people you’ve read but haven’t actually finished’ because I do have two books that fit this criteria.
As I have mentioned before I don’t often abandon books, so these were the exceptions to the rule rather than the norm. The two that I am going to be talking about were books I was made to read at school, figures! Continue reading