The ‘To Read’ List (Updated 22nd Feb 2017)

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EDIT: Updated 22nd February 2017 – Links to reviews of Saint Odd and Of Mice and Men added.

…As for the subject of this post; yes, it is the dreaded ‘To Read’ pile that, for those like me who enjoy a good book, seems to grow ever bigger due to the heavy demands and committments of our everyday lives. It became a bit of a problem for me last year, as I was constantly buying books from second-hand bookshops/charity shops, thinking ‘I’ll get to all these someday’, only to find I had so many building up in my room, still unread. It was at that point I literally sorted them into a ‘To Read’ pile, and began, you know, actually reading the blasted things, further vowing to not buy anymore until I had finished them. I’ll admit I make the occassional exception – if there is a new Margaret Atwood coming out I will either buy it or ask for it as a gift, for example – but I’ve generally managed to keep to this pretty well. So, in order to keep an actual list for myself, here are all of the books that have amassed in the pile, with links to their Goodreads pages (I will give my account on there some attention as I work through all of these as well!). Click to read on…

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The ‘To Read’ List (Updated 31st Jan 2017)

toreadpile

EDIT: Updated 31st January 2017 – The Collected Works of Edgar Allen Poe added, link to review of How to Look for a Lost Dog.

…As for the subject of this post; yes, it is the dreaded ‘To Read’ pile that, for those like me who enjoy a good book, seems to grow ever bigger due to the heavy demands and committments of our everyday lives. It became a bit of a problem for me last year, as I was constantly buying books from second-hand bookshops/charity shops, thinking ‘I’ll get to all these someday’, only to find I had so many building up in my room, still unread. It was at that point I literally sorted them into a ‘To Read’ pile, and began, you know, actually reading the blasted things, further vowing to not buy anymore until I had finished them. I’ll admit I make the occassional exception – if there is a new Margaret Atwood coming out I will either buy it or ask for it as a gift, for example – but I’ve generally managed to keep to this pretty well. So, in order to keep an actual list for myself, here are all of the books that have amassed in the pile, with links to their Goodreads pages (I will give my account on there some attention as I work through all of these as well!). Click to read on…

Continue reading

The ‘To Read’ List (Updated 6th Jan 2017)

toreadpile

EDIT: Updated 6th January 2016 – Links to recent book reviews added, How to Look for a Lost Dog added to list.

…As for the subject of this post; yes, it is the dreaded ‘To Read’ pile that, for those like me who enjoy a good book, seems to grow ever bigger due to the heavy demands and committments of our everyday lives. It became a bit of a problem for me last year, as I was constantly buying books from second-hand bookshops/charity shops, thinking ‘I’ll get to all these someday’, only to find I had so many building up in my room, still unread. It was at that point I literally sorted them into a ‘To Read’ pile, and began, you know, actually reading the blasted things, further vowing to not buy anymore until I had finished them. I’ll admit I make the occassional exception – if there is a new Margaret Atwood coming out I will either buy it or ask for it as a gift, for example – but I’ve generally managed to keep to this pretty well. So, in order to keep an actual list for myself, here are all of the books that have amassed in the pile, with links to their Goodreads pages (I will give my account on there some attention as I work through all of these as well!). Click to read on…

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Quick Book Review: Hag-Seed (Margaret Atwood)

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Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is one of my all-time favourite authors; my love affair beginning way back in my sixth form English Literature class where we studied The Handmaid’s Tale (one of her more famous works, adapted as a film in 1990 and soon to be a 10-episode TV series on streaming service Hulu). This chilling dystopian vision so beautifully written led me to read her other books, and I still make it a point to read any new material of hers to this day. Therefore it was a lovely surprise on Christmas Day to receive Hag-Seed as a present from my boyfriend, who is well aware of my fondness for the Canadian author.

Hag-Seed presents itself as a modern re-telling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest – I do very much enjoy the Bard’s works as well (again, this stems from studying many of his plays at school). This isn’t the first time Atwood has attempted her own spin on a classic – she also previously wrote The Penelopiad, which was a re-telling of Homer’s Odyssey, only this time from told from the perspective of Odysseus’s wife Penelope. This provided a humorous take on the classic tale, but also allowed for a more modern examination of the role of gender within society, and was an entertaining read all round. Therefore I was looking forward to reading Atwood’s take on Shakespeare, and I was certainly not disappointed.

The book tells the story of Felix, a big name in theatre whose world comes crashing down when he is forcibly removed from his own production of The Tempest. After years of stewing in solitude and thoughts of revenge, he ends up teaching a theatre course to inmates at the local prison, and sees the chance to finally put on the play that he has so desperately wanted to all these years, but also plots to use it as a tool of revenge against those who betrayed him. The novel of course has Atwood’s familar brand of witty cynicism in its overall tone,  but is also a very touching story, with the reader rooting for Felix and the prisoners all the way through, with the struggles they face in putting the production together. The differing intepretations of the plot and characters among the inmates is very interesting as well, and it is an intriguing idea to see things from their point of view, given the sort of lives they have led to end up imprisoned in the first place. As well as the play itself, once fully realised, providing a humourous execution of Felix’s long-plotted vengeance, Atwood has also very cleverly made Felix’s story and the plot itself a subtle re-telling of The Tempest as well. This means it can be a satisfying read for those already familar with the original play, or be a springboard to perhaps encourage a reader to investigate Shakespeare for themselves, as well as being a gripping read in its own right.

I laughed, I almost cried as I read through this fantastic book, and would highly recommend it to fans of Atwood and Shakespeare alike, but should also prove a worthwhile read even to those not completely familar with either.

A 5/5 from me!

Check out my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, available NOW for download as an eBook on Amazon. Check it out here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017BZBH6M

The ‘To Read’ List (Updated 1st September 2016)

toreadpile

EDIT: Updated 1st September 2016 – I removed a couple of books from the list, as I realised that I probably wouldn’t actually enjoy them (they kind of just ended up in my possession, rather than being purchased), but I have added a few recent second-hand pick ups 🙂

…As for the subject of this post; yes, it is the dreaded ‘To Read’ pile that, for those like me who enjoy a good book, seems to grow ever bigger due to the heavy demands and committments of our everyday lives. It became a bit of a problem for me last year, as I was constantly buying books from second-hand bookshops/charity shops, thinking ‘I’ll get to all these someday’, only to find I had so many building up in my room, still unread. It was at that point I literally sorted them into a ‘To Read’ pile, and began, you know, actually reading the blasted things, further vowing to not buy anymore until I had finished them. I’ll admit I make the occassional exception – if there is a new Margaret Atwood coming out I will either buy it or ask for it as a gift, for example – but I’ve generally managed to keep to this pretty well. So, in order to keep an actual list for myself, here are all of the books that have amassed in the pile, with links to their Goodreads pages (I will give my account on there some attention as I work through all of these as well!). Click to read on…

Continue reading

Quick Book Reviews: From Baghdad, with Love

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From Baghdad, with Love by Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman

Yes, I’ll admit it – as someone who is very much a dog-person, upon seeing those eyes stare out from me from the charity shop bookshelves, and then seeing the title and the tagline of ‘A heartwarming story of devotion’, my heart was instantly melted by the cover alone, and I bought it perhaps solely because I knew it would be a weepy one for me. It then took a couple of years before I actually got round to reading it (one of many atop an ever-growing pile, hence the giving myself a much-needed kick up the bum and starting the ‘To Read List’), and found that this story – that of a puppy left behind in the aftermath of a military bombing in Fallujah, and the efforts of a US Marine to rescue him by getting him the hell out of Iraq (whom the book is written by, offering quite a brutal, frank depiction of the ravages of war), is indeed an emotional one, and especially tense, as securing rescue for ‘Lava’ proves far from simple – meaning that once the end is in sight in the book’s final pages, the reader is on the edge of their seat, fearing the worst after all the setbacks and near-misses throughout the book, in a chapter that is beautifully written by Kopelman- short, sharp paragraphs combined with the feeling of dread before opening an email – a very effective ending to a well-written account, that shows you another side to the ‘War on Terror’, and succeeds in showing you the human side of those who fought within it. This is not the kind of book I would normally find myself reading, but I am very glad I made the effort to read this. It gets a 4/5 from me.

And, the To Read List has been accordingly updated! Watch this space for more reviews. Until next time folks…

Check out my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, available NOW for download as an eBook on Amazon. Check it out here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017BZBH6M