Library Haul

Today I joined my local library and went a little bit crazy. I ended up carrying 17 books all the way home, only four fit in my bag so it turned out to be quite the work-out as some of the books are quite heavy. I went looking primarily for Graphic Novels, unfortunately I only left with three as the others I had read before or the first volume was missing.

I left with 13 fiction novels, one non-fiction and, of course, three graphic novels.

The three graphic novels I picked up are:

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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and illustrated by Fabio Celoni and Mirka Adolfo. I class Hosseini’s novel as one of my favourite books therefore I’m excited to see how well it’s adapted.

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I then picked up The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman which “memorialises Spiegelman’s father’s experience of the Holocaust- it follows his story frame by frame from youth to marriage in pre-war Poland to imprisonment in Auschwitz” (Independent) This graphic novel was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and I am so excited to read it. The illustrations are in black and white and it is very reminiscent of classic comic-strip style.

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The final graphic novel I checked out is Y: The Last Man which has a huge fan base. It was made by Brian K Vaughan, Pia Guerra and José Marzán, Jr. Inside it is much more colourful than its title page but I’m excited to form my own opinion on this series. I believe this one is about a plague.

Onto the novels I picked up…

I have a deep love and respect for any novel that can make people laugh and have heard that this novel is exceptionally funny…

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I don’t believe I’ve read a Muriel Spark novel before and as I would like to read more literature from my home land this year I am highly anticipating this one.

 

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Another extremely popular novel I picked up was Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey which is a thriller narrated by a character with a mental illness. The concept alone is intriguing and I have heard that it is a very quick and easy read, as one would expect a thriller to be.

 

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I have a follower on Instagram who enjoyed both Elizabeth is Missing and The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer which I also picked up so I assume if you like one you’ll like the other. This is also a thriller or psychological drama and is supposed to be best read in one sitting. Challenge accepted.

 

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Sebastian Faulks is a novelist I believe I read for the first time last year. I have read Birdsong and A Possible Life and thoroughly enjoyed both. To be honest I picked this one up purely because I want to read more of his work. The blurb does not give too much away but it will go through various time periods I think trying to tell a family history though I am unsure. I’m hoping I will enjoy it as much as Birdsong.

 

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Similarly, I have also read Lloyd Jones before and have always meant to pick up another of his novels. I read Mister Pip years ago and I enjoyed it so I was pleased to find Hand Me Down World hidden in the shelves. Again, the blurb is crazy and leads me baffled so I guess I’m going into this one blind.

 

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In contrast, I have also read a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro and, as you may know from my Unpopular Opinions Book Tag post, I found it bland and predictable. However I never rule out an author until I have read at least two of their novels. Picking up this book from the library allows me to give Ishiguro’s writing another chance and means that even if I don’t enjoy it at least I didn’t pay for it. Are you a fan of Ishiguro? and if so what is your favourite novel? Is there anyone who loves him but didn’t enjoy Never Let Me Go?

 

My next selection is also Japanese Literature and is Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami. She is one of Japan’s most popular and contemporary novelists and I have wanted to read this book for such a long time! so excited I finally have a copy! This novel is about Tsukiko who finds herself sitting next to her former high school teacher. Over the coming months they share food and drink sake, and as the seasons pass they come to develop a hesitant intimacy which tilts awkwardly and poignantly towards love. I want to read a novel of each genre this year and this sounds like the perfect choice for romance.

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The next novel I picked up was winner of The Orange Prize for Fiction 2011. Its author Téa Obreht was born in the former Yugoslavia and was raised in Belgrade. The novel is of course The Tiger’s Wife.  I will insert the blurb as I think it’s enchanting. I have high hopes for this one.

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My grandfather never refers to the tiger’s wife by name. His arm is around me and my feet are on the handrail, and my grandfather might say ‘I once knew a girl who loved tigers so much she became one herself.’ Because I am little, and my love for tigers comes directly from him, I believe he is talking about me, offering me a fairy tale in which I can imagine myself- and will, for years and years.

 

Now for the only non-fiction novel I picked up. In all honesty it is my least anticipated read because I do not know anything about the author, Caitlin Moran. Also the two quotes on the book cover are from Nigella Lawson and Jonathan Ross and I unfortunately trust neither. However it is highly recommended on social media and is supposed to be very witty.

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Back to the fiction…

I also carried home Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw. I have only just now remembered how I know the author’s name….I have been challenged to read another of his novels this year! (see Annual Reading Challenge) This novel was long listed for the Man Booker in 2013 and is set in Shanghai and centres on five newcomers who hope to make their fortunes and find their way in the big city.

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Now for a 613 page novel which did not make it easy for me to carry all of these books home…

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This book is also very well known and I believe largely well liked. I would also prefer to go into this one blind.What intrigued me about The Bone Clocks was that I have heard from people who have read it that it is difficult to place into a single genre, and while that might be said of all novels I remain interested.

 

Up next is the 2014 winner of the Man Booker Prize and I now realise this blog post is also an unintentional pop quiz. It is of course Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North which I have actually been told not to read because it is so bad. However in a really odd way it is this strong opinion of Flanagan’s novel that makes me want to read it. So if I don’t enjoy this novel then really I can only blame myself…

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And finally the last two novels I picked up are The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead which I am sure you have seen all over bookstagram and booktube lately. And The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon which I believe is a fantasy/sci-fi series written of course by a female author.

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Obviously I don’t know how many of these books I will get to but at the moment my intention is to read all of them…

Wish me luck!
Sophie

 

 

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5books7days Wrap-Up!

Today marks the end of the 5books7days readathon hosted by the wonderful Lotte! Thus here is our first reading challenge wrap-up. We had a great time and hope to do another readathon in April. Here is what we managed to read during the readathon since it started on Monday.

Firstly a recap of our original TBR for this challenge:

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Sophie: Sky Burial by Xinran, The Last Summer of Us by Maggie Harcourt, A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler, The Revenant by Michael Punke and Young Sherlock Holmes: Death Cloud by Andrew Lane.

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Danny: Politics&The English Language by George Orwell, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup and Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell

 

And the results are as follows, Amount of books read:

Sophie: 6

Danny: 3

 

To conclude, here is what we actually read and what we thought of each book:

S: So I managed to read six books in total although I did not finish one of the novels on my original TBR. During the readathon I received a signed book to review from the author M.Jonathan Lee through Goodreads. This book is called A Tiny Feeling of Fear and is Lee’s third novel. I was so excited to read this novel that I started reading it straight away putting books on my TBR on hold. I also listened to the audiobook of Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling and have previously posted my review. I loved both these novels, gave them both five stars on Goodreads and added A Tiny Feeling of Fear to my all-time favourites list.

Despite straying from my TBR on those two occasions I also managed to finish four out of five of my planned reads. I read The Last Summer of Us first and I believe gave this four out of five stars. This was at first a slow read but I grew to love the three main characters and their relationships. The story deals with identity and loss, in particular it focuses on the three main character’s relationships with their parents. Another cool thing about this novel, other than the characters and random animal appearances, is that it is set in Wales and it may very well be the first book I have read that is set in this country.

I then read Sky Burial by Xinran which was also a four out of five star read for me. Xinran is a successful Chinese journalist who is writing the story of Shu Wen, a Chinese woman who spent over 30 years in Tibet searching for her husband. The romantic pairings in this story were perfect and this was probably due to the fact it is a true story. This is the second ‘Penguin Drop Caps’ novel I have read and I have gave them both four stars therefore I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

My least favourite read of the readathon was definitely The Revenant. I did not hate this book I just found it frustrating due to it primarily being a revenge story. I wrote a short review of this book on my  Goodreads page. I read this book because I wanted to see the movie which I will once Danny has read the book. This may very well end up on a Movie Adaptation Monday feature in the future. I gave Punke’s novel a two out of five stars. My final read was a Man Booker Prize shortlisted novel by Anne Tyler titled A Spool of Blue Thread. I enjoyed this novel and thought it was very fast paced. A Spool of Blue Thread is centred around the ordinarily complicated Whitshank family. I did not however enjoy the section about Junior and Linnie May’s life which appeared late in the novel. I felt this unnecessary to the story and would have enjoyed the novel more if it was shorter. I gave Tyler’s novel a three out of five stars. I also started the final book on my TBR which is Young Sherlock Holmes: Death Cloud by Andrew Lane and hope to finish this tomorrow.

D: As he mentioned earlier Danny was ‘made’ to listen to Kaling’s audiobook Why Not Me?  It is fair to say he did not enjoy Kaling’s second book as much as I did giving it three and a half stars. He particularly disliked the Sliding Doors style essay although liked the audiobook overall often laughing out loud to Kaling’s quips.

Danny was also able to read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. He found that this was at first a disappointing read, although this quickly changed and was ultimately given four out of five stars. In terms of its Classic Dystopia genre Danny prefers Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984.

His final finished book was Politics & The English Language by George Orwell. Orwell is one of Danny’s favourite authors and this was a re-read. Danny has given this a four out of five stars which is quite impressive due to its size. During the week Danny has also started reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, although he has previously seen the movie adaptation he is still enjoying the book. He is particularly enjoying the unique narrative. In case you do not yet know The Book Thief is narrated by death. This is done well in the movie although obviously the narrator has more content in the novel. At the moment he is surprised by the humour in the novel and is looking forward to finishing the book. I believe Danny would like to watch the movie adaptation again soon, perhaps this will feature in our Movie Adaptation post tomorrow night. Although Danny did not manage to read as much as he wanted to he admirably managed to read three books in one particularly busy week.

 

Thanks for joining us throughout the week and happy reading!

Sophie