May Reads

Unfortunately with exams looming and starting it’s hard time to find time to read, but it is a great way to relax from stress.

Atonement by Ian McEwan
The metafiction novel has a narrative that switches among the characters to highlight themes of unreliable narrative and perspective. Starting on the hottest day of the year, in the shade of the approaching war, tensions rise and lead to two crimes that shape everyone’s lives forever.

The City and the Pillar by Gore Vidal
The mournful narrative of longing and unknown or hidden desire sweeps you up in the world of Jim. He’s a drifter who is trying to chase one day from long ago, travelling everywhere searching for something that even he can’t identify. With the pressure and secretary of the time period shapping Jim’s experiences as he has affairs with actors and writers whilst trying to copy the lingering attraction he felt to Bob years ago.

April Reads

April is a great time to read with Easter break allowing you to sit down and breathe for a moment, and even better a time for reading.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
I haven’t seen the film so when I saw the book, I thought I’d better read it and that was a great decision. The remarkable stories of the women at Langely are engaging and amazing. Dorothy, Katherine and Mary are brilliant individuals who have shaped the future and their story is a brilliant read. The book reveals so much history that has been wrongly untold, the engaging plot is so much more than the story of how an American made it into orbit.

Heroes and Villains by Angela Carter
The sad, but moving story of two people in a world of barbarians and lost. Communication becomes the bitter undoing of them as the promise of something better becomes slowly lost in a world of beautiful imagery and lions. A great read.

The Scorch Trails by James Dashner
The second of the trilogy is as good as the first. The mystery is maintained as well as the high morality rate of the trials. The introduction of new characters add to the story and the new setting is as deadly as the first and even crueler.

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
The tragedy of Willy Loman as he falls apart to the audience’s eyes is incredible heart breaking and moving. The play gives a deep and profound emptiness as we watch something so human and yet so soul clenching. It is as brilliant as it was when it was written in 1949. Everyone should read it or see it as it shows the bitterness of failure and the human response to a bleak and hopeless future.

March Reads

March is the time where the spring arrives but winter still holds on giving you a mix of rain and cold with sun.

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Beautiful and vivid imagery accompanies a moving story. The almost dream like narrative shelters the reader from the bare brutality that  instead it is presented in sharp doses of reality along with the attractive dullness of failure that is interwoven into the story. This book feels as though your imagination is drowing in the overwhelming life and death that plagues the family but one that brings a mournful catharsis as the plot is resolved and the reader knows all that occurred by the river.

No one writes to the Colonel by Gabriel García Márquez
This short but tragic story of the Colonel, his wife and the cockrel trying to have enough food to survive is an engaging and entertaining one despite the constant backdrop of death and misery. A great story to read on a free afternoon.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
My brother lent me this book saying it was a good read, and he wasn’t wrong. The narrative is simple to follow and descriptive but also engaging. The mystery behind the maze drives the plot forward with a collection of interesting characters including Thomas, Newt and Chuck. The ending sets up the next book brilliantly and leaves the reader wanting more. I can see why the book series has become popular even if I am a couple years late reading it to join the hype.

Amsterdam by Ian McEwan
The Booker Prize winner of 1998 is a short novel about the lovers of Molly; three former and her mourning husband. Clive and Vernon agree a deal but are driven away by their own aims and the memory of Molly. This story spins into the ending as the chaos of the world around them drives them both to Amsterdam.

February Reads

February is full of storms, snow and rain that proves it’s still winter but a great time to curl up indoor and ignore the rest of the world.

Othello by William Shakespeare
This tragedy of jealously, love and status has beautiful language that is a pleasure to listen to, read or analysis. The dramatic imagery combined with the extremely fast paced plot creates the stunning fall of Othello from greatness. Iago’s soliloquies are as beautiful as frustrating as you watch him unravel the lives of everyone around him. Iago is one of my favourite villains and he is perfect opposite the tragic hero of Othello. This play is a great way to see how tragedy can be explored effectively.

Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge
A mystery based around detective inspector Helen Grace. It’s an easy read with an ethical dilemma at the centre of the plot, the idea of kill or be killed is interesting and engaging . The narrative has a range of viewpoints pulling the reader in but the resolution seemed to fall short of the build up as the villain was almost pulled out of nowhere for the sake of a twist. A book to read whilst it’s  raining outside one afternoon.

Finders Keepers by Stephen King
Opening on the murder of an author by an obsessed fan pulls the reader immediately as one is greeted by the violence that surrounds Morris Bellamy. He becomes a constant threat lurking as Pete Saubers unknowingly walks in his steps. King builds the tension as more and more pieces appear on the board and danger grows with each word as the resolution hits. I had to keep putting it down to pace out the nerves before diving straight back into the gripping story I could not leave. After finishing the last page it felt like taking a breath again because the story is so consuming and brilliant.

January Reads

New year, new books. January is the time of year to read the books brought over the holiday period and to read the books we neglected the previous year.

Noble Conflict by Malorie Blackman
Blackman’s teenage book explores a futrustic society founded with moral intentions to towards the enemies of the state. The young new wave of Guardians fresh out of trainin are thrown into the age old conflict. Kaspar, the legacy of famous Guardians, starts following his duty when the society and the truth behind it becomes murky. The enemies apparently blind tactics create a thrilling plot that engages the reader. The cast features a range of strong female characters that are a joy to read. The ending creates resolution but I did have to sit down and stare out of a window.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This nerdy goldmine of references will please anyone who loves games, movies or anything from the 80s. The range of characters are all defined and human. The premise and plot are brilliant and the villain is a capitalist company who are determined to privatise OASIS against the desire of everyone else. The treasure hunt of the Halliday Easter Egg brings traditional pirate stories to the modern futuristic settling. A great book to read to escape reality.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
This chilling story of the murder of the Clutter family is painted through the events leading to the event and the path of the killer’s and the detective after that night of the crime. The killers are presented as human which engages and repulses the reader as they have to face the reality behind the murder. The fact that the story is completely based in fact is shown through the journalistic type of narrative, preventing the reader getting lost in the story and forcing them to learnt the facts of the case.

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut 
Vonnegut is an author I discovered this summer and instantly fell in love with. Previously Slaughterhouse 5/The Children’s Crusade was my favourite book but this story of Kilgore Trout and Dwayne Hoover is a captivating and briliantly insane. Vonnegut 50th birthday gift to himself is also a gift to the reader. The narrative is easy and flowing guiding the reader through the hair-brained plot. I would recommend this book to anyone as it’s a light easy read that explores deeper thends without the reader realising.