Hol

Hi everyone,

 

I thought a blog would be a great way to exchange book recommendations as I love reading and writing reviews. I've also started putting pen to paper, and have recently completed a creative writing course. Maybe you'll be reading one of my books down the line!?

 

If you want to share about what you're reading, or anything at all for that matter, let loose and go for it!

Reading progress update: I've read 14%.

North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell

Mr Thornton had thought that the house in Crampton was really just the thing; but now that he saw Margaret, with her superb ways of moving and looking, he began to feel ashamed of having imagined that it would do very well for the Hales.'

 

I like Mr Thornton already.

What's a girl gotta do? by Holly Bourne

What's a girl gotta do? - Holly Bourne

This was the third book in Holly Bournes trilogy, The Spinster Club. For those who haven’t read it, the spinster club is not a club for old woman, it’s a term that’s been turned on it’s head. It’s what 3 college girls call their feminist group that meets at each other’s houses, cheesy snacks at the ready. This whole trilogy has its roots in feminism, although this is the first book in the series where it took centre stage.

 

I started this series 2 or 3 years ago with the first book, Am I Normal Yet. It was about 1 of the 3 friends, Evie, although they hadn’t become friends at that time. It mostly focused on mental illness and it was only towards the end the theme of friendship and relationships took hold. I really enjoyed that first book, but not so much the second, which was from Amber’s perspective, another girl from the group. This was from Lottie’s perspective, the one who started the spinster club to begin with. She’s the smartest of the 3 apparently and is pipped to go to Cambridge University. This book and the first are set just outside London, in an unnamed town, whereas the second book is set in the US when Amber goes to see her mother. In this one it’s the last year of college for the girls, after which time they’ll be forced to separate.

 

So, the plot. After being subject to verbal harassment on the way to college one day, Lottie decides on an extra-curricula project. She plans to call out every instance of sexism she witnesses for a whole month, along with the girls from her feminist society at college. She’s doing this alongside her hefty college work and preparation for an interview with Cambridge University. At the start, Lottie doesn’t know what a big project she’s getting into and soon begins to feel the strain. She also gets involved with a guy, which complicates things more.

 

Even though feminism is an issue that transcends age, I don’t think I was the intended audience. I think it might benefit younger people more who are just getting into feminism. They can learn some of the fundamentals and are poised to be inspired. During Lottie’s project it became obvious just how much sexism women have to put up with on a daily basis, so it really helped shed more light on the issue for me.

 

If you’re thinking the novel sounds overly preachy, you’d be right and wrong. There was a good deal of finger-pointing in the name of feminism, but at no point did I roll my eyes and think it was too much. It was all pretty much justified. There were also plenty of side plots to divert from this issue, such as a romance between Lottie and the film student who was filming her during her project for a YouTube channel dedicated to it. There was also a strong focus concerning friendship, which has always been a big theme in each of these books.

 

The writing was nothing fancy. It was very much to the point, with few descriptive elements to speak of. Apart from the odd reference to appearance and a little about the surroundings, there wasn’t much. That didn’t particularly matter to me, as it’s what I’ve come to expect from the YA genre at large. Holly Bourne has just written her first adult novel, though, so I would be interested to see if that changes. I doubt it, though. What this was instead was a really fun read, with just enough seriousness to prevent it from falling into being too light. It was exactly what I needed, a fun read.

Books...

Books...

Except North and South by Gaskell!?

Reading progress update: I've read 69%.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Jay Rubin, Haruki Murakami

I had a good think and I really want to finish it, so I'm diving back into a lot of strange.

Books...

Books...

Reading progress update: I've read 28 out of 416 pages.

Done: The Secret Deals That Are Changing Our World - Jacques Peretti

The psychological contagion cash carries is fear of poverty, and this is the true success of the digital revolution-to make us believe cash is synonymous with social inferiority, and using it, even coming into contact with it, could mean contracting the contagion of failure.

Reading progress update: I've read 99%.

Conversations with Friends - Sally C. Rooney

I closed my eyes. Things and people moved around me, taking positions in obscure hierarchies, participating in systems I didn't know about and never would. A complex network of objects and concepts. You live through certain things before you understand them. You can't always take the analytical position.

Reading progress update: I've read 76%.

Conversations with Friends - Sally C. Rooney

Something had changed between us, but I didn't know what it was. We still intuited each other's moods easily, we shared the same conspiratorial looks and our conversations still felt lengthy and intelligent. The time she ran me that bath had changed something, had placed Bobbi in a new relation to me even as we both remained ourselves.

Reading progress update: I've read 10%.

Conversations with Friends - Sally C. Rooney

I'm reading this for my book club and I'm finding it a little flat so far. I haven't read much, though, so hopefully it'll improve.

Reading progress update: I've read 5%.

North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell

I'm actually mostly planning to listen to this on audio, but I've also got the e-book and it's just easier to post my progress like that. The audio is brilliant though, it's the Juliet Stevenson one which is really well done. Anyway, the book. I've wanted to read this for so long and I'm getting a little sick of fluffy reads. I'm getting stuck into the more heavyweight ones. Really liking this so far and I am much enthused by the synopsis.

Perfect by Rachel Joyce

Perfect - Rachel Joyce, Paul Rhys

I’ve been going on a bit of a Rachel Joyce kick of late. Her novels are so easy to read and her characters unbelievably endearing that I’ve been going through her back catalogue.

Perfect tells two stories at once, both set in separate timelines. The first story is that of 10-year-old Byron and his family, chiefly his mother Diana and what happens as a result of two seconds being added to time in the 1970’s. Along-side this story is that of Jim, a man with severe mental health issues, chiefly that of OCD. His story is told in the present day.

 

The great strength of Rachel Joyce is formulation of character. Her characters always have something to like about them, regardless of their flaws. They’re always so relatable and have a warmth that makes them feel very human. Even the antagonists have a relatable aspect and that’s not easy to accomplish.

 

Towards the latter end of the plot there were a couple of moments when things became a little laughable and of course this took away from my enjoyment, but it didn’t stop me reading because I was so invested in the characters. I also guessed 2 or 3 plot manoeuvres, which was a little annoying. Even though I would have preferred a stronger plot, I read her books because I know that there’ll always be a character in her book that feels like my best friend.

 

If I had one criticism of this book it would be that it was a little clique at some points, I guessed virtually all the twists and there were really too many themes crammed in. The main theme was about the little mistakes that we all make and how these seemingly small instances can cause a ripple effect that travels down the years. There was also that of mental health, abuse, romance, relationships etc. This was a little too much, but I still enjoyed the book, even if it wasn’t my favourite Rachel Joyce.

Reading progress update: I've read 89%.

What's a girl gotta do? - Holly Bourne

I realised it takes a great deal more courage to fight for yourself than to fight for others. To confront your own pain, rather than everyone else's.

Reading progress update: I've read 60%.

What's a girl gotta do? - Holly Bourne

I'm really loving this book. It's feminism at it's funnest. I was supposed to finish the Murakami I've been reading first, but I haven't yet. I keep losing interest in books when I hit the halfway mark lately. It also happened with Love in the Time of Cholera, which I really want to finish. Perhaps I'm just not in the mood for anything that's a bit heavier at the minute, just light stuff. Maybe it's the current heatwave we're having. Anyway, this is the perfect light read.

Currently reading

Persuasion by Jane Austen
Progress: 10%
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Progress: 72%
Done: The Secret Deals That Are Changing Our World by Jacques Peretti
Progress: 28/416pages