Friday, 20 June 2014

Recent Reads

During half term last month, I really took the opportunity to get into a few reads that had been hanging around my bookshelf for a while. I find that during any times of stress or strangeness, I can rely on books for an escape and some comfort. Here's what I've been reading in the last few weeks:

Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn
I was one of those people who devoured Gone Girl in a day, so was excited to read something by the same author. It's another gripping tale of murder, mystery and seriously messed-up people in a suburban town, although these characters actually make Nick and Amy seem pretty balanced. As with Gone Girl, I'd suspected the main twist long before reaching it, and as with Gone Girl, I didn't care. And the ending? I didn't see it coming.

Rachel Joyce - Perfect
I liked The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, so I don't know why I let this one loiter on my shelf, untouched, for weeks before picking it up. This is by no means a page-turner, rather a slow burner that creeps up on you, and takes you by surprise; it took me a while to realise how much I had grown to care about the characters, who seemed so real. I liked the way the chapters skipped between a young boy who dealing with the aftermath of an accident he felt sure he had caused, and an older man in the present day, dealing with OCD and the after-effects of electric shock therapy, and the link between the two characters wasn't the one I had expected. 

Mort - Terry Pratchett 
I'm surprised it took me so long to read something by Terry Pratchett, as I do enjoy reading fantasy books and love getting lost in other worlds. Discworld (a flat world, held on the back of elephants riding a turtle) is one I'm looking forward to exploring more thoroughly, as I fell in love with Mort, the story of Death's aptly-named new Apprentice who finds himself stepping into his eccentric boss' shoes. I loved the characters, I loved the absurd logic of the universe they inhabit, and I love the idea that Death speaks in all caps and has a horse named Binky. 

The Borrower - Rebecca Makkai
This book came highly recommended from a friend, and although I liked it, it didn't quite live up to the high expectations she set. I loved the initial premise - a little boy escapes his religious parents, who send him to anti-gay classes, and runs away to the library - and totally related to the ongoing metaphor of books, libraries and stories as a means of escape. However, I didn't feel it had quite enough story to properly grip me once the characters began their roadtrip. That said, it was an enjoyable read that I'd happily recommend. Just not too highly.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters - Laini Taylor
The third and final book in the series that started with Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a bit of a doorstop. I'm all for a massive book to get stuck into, but at this point (boyfriend and I are reading this together before bed, and are halfway through), it feels unnecessary. I can very easily pinpoint big sections that could have been cut, as it feels so slow compared to the previous two books. It still has plenty of time to redeem itself, but after being seriously in love with the first and second instalments, I feel disappointed by my lack of enthusiasm for the final one. It feels like the author forgot the fascinating details of the world she created, and instead tried to make everything epic. I miss the little things. 

The Historian - Elizabeth Costova
I always have two books on the go, one that I read alone and one with my boyfriend. This is my current alone-book, and I dread to think how long ago I bought (and forgot about) it. It's a little slow to get going, but structurally feels like an old-fashioned Gothic novel, which I like. I also like that this is vampire novel in the traditional sense - my tastes are more Stoker than Meyer- paying homage to the classic Dracula, whilst giving him a new and unexpected hobby. I am looking forward to seeing where this goes, though I fear it may take a while to find out!

Do you enjoy reading these kinds of post? I'd love to talk about books more on here, they feel like a very big part of my life. Let me know your thoughts if you've read any of these, and I always want recommendations! 

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