2 September 2017

Recently Read: August



As briefly touched on in my last book blog post, reading hasn't been that high on the agenda for me at the moment. Don't get me wrong, I want it to be, but my tutors at uni clearly have other ideas (sigh- bring on November when I can binge-read as many books as I want). I think it goes without saying reading quality over quantity is important, and in this case I read two books which I absolutely loved during August, and another not so much (and was probably the cause of a month-long reading slump if I'm honest). So if you're in the market for a new book, keep reading, because I've got some recommendations!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine*
As soon as I started reading this book, I was intrigued. This was an nicely paced, slowly unravelling story which I found both sad and heartwarming. As I've mentioned on social media before, this book definitely wasn't what I expected but it was a welcome surprise. We slowly learn about Eleanor's life and her past. One of the things I loved most about this book was Eleanor's character. It was completely believable and so genuine. Eleanor as a character is unintentionally funny and socially inept, and through this we learn just how stupid societal norms are. This type of character reminds me of the books The Humans by Matt Haig and The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, both of which I really enjoyed. Eleanor leads a very mundane life and has the same routine every day and every week, until something happens and it gets her out of the walls she's built around herself. I absolutely loved how romance wasn't the main objective in this book, and no one 'saves' her. I think you'll agree that can get a little tiring in stories. Overall this was the perfect balance between funny and sad- it's a book that will make you think and you'll want to read chapter after chapter.

The Power by Naomi Alderman
Initially, The Power appealed to me because the idea of it sounded so interesting. In an alternative universe, young girls find themselves able to produce an electric current in their collarbone, and with a flick of their fingers they can injure people and even cause death. Set out like a historical book, it features diagrams and historical pieces of information as if this really happened. The main part of the book follows a set of characters, different women, who start to be able to use their powers in different ways. Essentially, this is a look at what it would be like if women had all the power and men were subordinate. I found this particular concept really fascinating, and in the beginning I was relatively interested. However, as the story played out and the power had developed fully worldwide, I found my interest was gone, things were quite long and boring, and the plot was very muddled and quite hard to follow sometimes. I really like finishing all the books I start, generally, so I did finish this, but along the way I got in quite a big reading slump. So would I recommend this book? Yes, if you like the sound of the idea and can handle a long read, but for me this book should have been more captivating for having such an amazing concept.

Everybody Hurts by Joanna Nadin & Anthony McGowan*
If there's one thing I'm a sucker for it's books with English humour and cynical characters. Both of those things are covered in this story. This is actually written by two authors with two perspectives, and anyone who knows me knows I love dual perspectives. This book actually has cliches at the heart of it (e.g. love at first sight) but it's in a fresh and funny way. Set over one week, it tells the story of two teenagers who meet at a hospital canteen. Matt is there because his friend wants to pick up girls, and Sophia's there because she has a brain tumour. Don't worry, this story is barely about that illness and it doesn't romanticise that aspect of things. I actually read this after The Power, which was a long and arduous read compared to this. If you love your contemporaries and want something light but meaningful to read, I would definitely recommend this. I read it really quickly, and as touched on before, the main reason I liked it was because it was genuinely really funny and it made me laugh out loud.


Will you read any of these?


*Sent to me by the publisher

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