Outside of a dog, a book it a man's best friend“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” – Groucho Marx

I have a very book-themed post for you today, but before that, just a quick announcement: I’ve finally got around to doing something I’ve wanted to for quite a while. I’ve made a second blog. It’s about trying to do good effectively. I’ve posted an “about” post, which you can check out here and I will be posting the first proper post later today. I’d really appreciate it if you’d just take a look. But seriously, no worries  if you’re not interested.

I’ve been on Goodreads since lasts year, when I tried to do the 50 books challenge. I failed, spectacularly (I think I read about 12). But I’m determined to try again, and I’ve set my sights on something a little more reasonable. This year, I’m going to try to read 30 books. I’m already 1 book behind schedule…not a good start. Still, I’m determined and at the end of the year I hope I will be able to share my progress with you, as well as a few of my favourite reads from the year.

I actually decided to start that right now and share with you just a few of my favourite books from the last year or so…

Books

1. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

It’s been a while since I read this but I really enjoyed it. Whydam, for those who haven’t heard of him, was an early science fiction writer. The Day of the Triffids is a post-apocalyptic novel set in a world, not infested by zombies, but rather, mobile, man-eating plants. It actually sounds silly when I write it like that but the premise is set up much more intelligently. Post apocalyptic novels, to me, seem to be about people in a world where we are suddenly faced with extremes and I love Whydham’s ability to write about people in this way. For any fan of the post apocalyptic genre, I definitely advise checking it out.

2. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

I first read this book because I had to read Mary Barton by the same author for school. I didn’t really enjoy Mary Barton but North and South totally captivated me. Gaskell was a Victorian novelist who came into close contact with many of the poor in Victorian Manchester due to her philanthropic work. Her novels act as a social commentary on the divide she saw between the rich and poor. North and South is however, also a romance. It’s a little Jane Austen – though in my opinion better. Even if you don’t read it, I really advise watching the 4-part series of it make by the BBC. It’s really really lovely.

3. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

For those who’ve read Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea is the story of Bertha Mason, “the wife in the attic”, before she became such. I loved the book Jane Eyre, but in truth, this story almost needed writing. That a character could be so conveniently killed off seemed a little unjust. Wide Sargasso Sea is a beautifully written novel about people, paranoia and prejudice. The descriptions of the Caribbean are really beautiful and you can tell they come from a writer who knows the place she writes about. I found it difficult to properly empathise with any of the characters due to the style of writing but on the whole, I did enjoy it. It’s well worth a look.

4. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

This was my most recent read and this is the review I wrote on GoodReads:

The opening and ending sections of the books are written so beautifully and though I loved the evolution of the style of writing with time, I would have loved to read an entire book with this level of description. The structure of the various story lines worked incredibly well and I found myself as excited to start the second half of the book as I had been to first pick it up. I also closed the book feeling as though all parts but Ewing’s had been nothing more than a dream or strange premonition. Parts of the book felt a little as though the author was spoon-feeding his point to the reader but I have nothing against that now and then. I found a couple of parts in the first half of the book dragged a little but generally I loved it.

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3 thoughts on “Recent Reads

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