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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 5%.

Persuasion - Jane Austen

I started a new audiobook and guess who narrates it? Yes, Juliet Stevenson! After North and South I'm in love with her narration. Isn't this the one you recommended I start my Austen journey with, Themis?

Reading progress update: I've read 8%.

The Kiss Quotient - Helen Hoang

I've heard so many good things about this book that I added it to mount TBR a few weeks ago. Then when I was reading the guardian book review section yesterday and saw it, I decided to start it at the first opportunity. After the epic that was North and South, I can see this being a fast read, which is exactly what I need to balance things out.

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell

What a beautiful ending. I loved this so much.

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Reading progress update: I've read 53%.

North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell

I continue to love this book and the narration is fantastic.

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Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Conversations with Friends - Sally C. Rooney

I read this book for a new book club, one that I didn’t end up going to! I’m still a member of the classic book club, but they’re on a summer break right now.

 

This is the story of two University students, Frances and Bobbie who become entangled with an older, married couple, Melissa and Nick. Melissa is a journalist and spots Bobbie and Frances preforming open-mic poetry together and wants to write a piece on them. They spend time together, along with Melissa’s husband, to formulate the piece and become friends during the process.

 

The novel is written from the point of view of Frances, a very introverted, intelligent young woman, who proclaims herself to be unemotional and flat. Her friend Bobbie is in many ways her opposite, fiery, impulsive and often overtly emotional. The two make a fantastic pairing.

 

Frances is a communist and they both have very clear views about society and its structure, often informed by Bobbie’s degree, Anthropology. If you’re worried it’s overly preachy, don’t be, discussions that take this line happen seldomly. There are some rather heated exchanges, but these are fleeting and take a back seat to the dynamics of the relationships. It did sometimes feel like the author was trying to impart her views, but it wasn’t too much to be distracting.

 

The novel was mostly about relationships related to the nature of the self and finding oneself. Bobbie was so often trying to pass herself off as one thing when she clearly wasn’t. She would say something contrived, instead of how she really felt and had a deep discomfort with herself that oozed from the pages, the main reason I loved it so much. I’ve never read a character that felt more real than Frances. It was like I knew her and what she wanted better than she did, even if she couldn't communicate it to anyone else.

 

I can see why this novel wouldn’t be for everyone. Some could find it overindulgent, the pair preachy and immature. I, however, loved it and just wish it had gone on longer.

Reading progress update: I've read 36%.

North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell

I don't love Mr Thornton anymore, although my mind might change on that again! I do, however, love this book. I like the characters, the plot, the setting and more. I've especially enjoyed seeing the change in Margaret, from naive acceptance to critical thinking. I think this is going to be a five-star read.  

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

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

I finally finished it!! It only took me, what, a couple of months!? don't  really know how I feel about it. At this point I'm thinking, yeah, it was good, but it wasn't that good. I'll leave it a couple of days to write my review.

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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.

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Currently reading

Persuasion by Jane Austen
Progress: 5%
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Progress: 23%
Done: The Secret Deals That Are Changing Our World by Jacques Peretti
Progress: 28/416pages
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Progress: 100%
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Jay Rubin, Haruki Murakami
Progress: 100%