I read so many books that if I were to write a post relaying my thoughts about each and everyone (as much as I’d like to), all my content might be very ‘samey-samey’ and I’d have to post a lot more frequently than I currently have time to. So, I sat myself down with a pen and pad and forced myself to whittle down my most recent reads to a collection of six that I desperately wanted to discuss. Here we go…
The Twelve Labours of Hercules – Agatha Christie
Being both a big geek for Greek mythology and a lover of Christie’s novels, I had high expectations for this book before beginning it and it didn’t disappoint! It’s only an itty-bitty thing so I managed to read it in one sitting enjoying, every moment of it. It was fast paced, humorous and exciting and the combination of these characteristics that Christie had maintained had me wrapped up in this book so tightly. The heart of the book is about a detective who, prior to his retirement, wants to complete twelve more cases that he calls ‘the Twelve Labours.’ Each labour is short and significantly different to the others which makes the book all the more enjoyable. Whilst theirs little to no Greek mythology in here as I’d originally anticipated, the references are there and it’s clear to see where Christie got her inspiration for this little slice of joy from.
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Set in a dystopian world where women are used merely for the purpose of recreation, men are seen as the dominant gender of the two and the two should certainly not be seen together, a crime worthy of a hanging, Atwood manages to draw up a rather marvellous and thought provoking story. For me, the presentation of women in the novel was creepy in itself and had the hairs on my neck standing straight. On top of this Atwood, (being the seamlessly flawless writer that she is) enabled me to envisage such a world where situations like this seem realistic using her intense descriptions and particular choice of language. The beautiful writing style, coupled with the interesting (at times unsettling) scenario makes for a wonderful read.
We’re All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler
There’s not a lot I can say about this book without spoiling it for you so I shall refrain from explaining the synopsis and just beg you to read this yourself. Being a devout animal lover, I lapped this book up; (I currently adopt five and am slowly accumulating enough of those free teddy bears that come with the packages that my bed is starting to resemble something of a zoo!) Another thought provoking book that touches base of so many different grounds; family relations, friendships but with the focal point being animal rights and testing. The depiction of animal testing and the perspective we’re told of this situation from, really makes you question the morality of the highly controversial topic itself and is entirely unique. Whilst the writing style isn’t amazing and I’m still unsure that I want to read more from Fowler, I fell head-over-heals with the story recommending it to several people since and re-reading it myself.
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden – Jonas Jonnason
Two years ago if you’d given me this book to read I would have taken one glance at the cover, scanned the first page and decide that it wasn’t for me. That was what I like to refer to as “I’m-a-literature-snob-and-only-want-to-read-classics-and-eclectic-books’ phase that I soon overcame. Thank God I did as it allowed me to absolutely LOVE this book. Set in South Africa from the POV of ‘Nombeko’ during the mid-late twentieth century, this book covers so many pivotal moments in history; the Apartheid System, the conditions of life for Black South Africans, the Cold War etc. A lot of this I studied at GCSE history which allowed me to really get rattled up in this story as I was able to understand the nitty-gritty parts of it that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. This book is hilarious and actually had me laughing-out-loud at several points; a rare occurrence with novels for me. Not only that, it’s educational whilst still being light-hearted and I developed an absolute admiration and adoration for the protagonist herself, truly feeling that I was on this crazy and never-ending expedition alongside her. Having loved this so much I swiftly went onto reading ‘The One Hundred Year Old Man..” which is the more well-known and apparently popular of the two novels from the author. Unfortunately, I was left disappointed and under-whelmed, perhaps because the pace and form of the stories were so alike that it no longer felt something new? None the less, that book has found a new owner whilst TGWSTKOS slowly makes it’s way through my friendship group!
The Goldfinch -Donna Tartt
This was a masterpiece. I don’t want to tell you anything about it apart from that YOU NEED TO READ IT! Like, now. This was an emotional rollercoaster through-and-through and even earned a spot onto my top five books of two-thousand and fifteen. Enough said.
The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters
After hearing a ton about how amazing Sarah Waters’ writing style was, and being intrigued by the elusiveness of the synopsis on the back of the book in the centre of Waterstones as it lay, staring at me in the ‘New Releases’ section; I decided to give this a go. Despite the heftiness of the novel, I finished it in about two days which just shows just how captivated Waters had me. Her writing style is indeed something to be envious of. The pictures she creates, the characters she develops and the polar opposite feelings that you experience as you fly trough this novel are all down to just how well written it is. The story, I liked, however I think I went into thinking it was going to be more of a crime/mystery novel rather than pivoted around a love affair that spirals out of control. I swiftly after picked up ‘Fingersmith’ by her too that receives rave reviews and shall soon dive into that hoping to be as trapped in Waters’ web as PG had me.