January Books List

Friday 31 January 2014

A round up of the books I've read this month:-

(1)  World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
Horror / Science Fiction - "It began with rumors from China about another pandemic.  Then the cases started to multiply and soon revealed itself to be much, much worse. Faced with a future of mindless, man-eating horror, humanity was forced to accept the logic of world government and face events that tested our sanity and our sense of reality."

I'm a sucker for end-of-the-world stories and what could be more apocalyptic than a zombie outbreak?!  World War Z presents the reader with a series of short interviews and stories collated from survivors and key individuals involved in the Zombie War.  I picked up the book thinking that I knew what it was going to be about, but was surprised at the sheer detail that Brooks goes into.  The main thing I wasn't anticipating was the level of global politics depicted, and this is what I enjoyed the most because it made it seem more 'real' to me.  Politics aside, it's an entertaining book that fills you with horror and paranoia.  I don't know how they cobbled together the movie adaptation because the book is so different with all its intertwining layers and is much more gritty as a whole.  [4/5]

(2)  Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
YA Fantasy / Romance - "In the land of Ingary, Sophie Hatter catches the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste, who puts a curse on her.  Determined to make the best of things, Sophie travels to the one place where she might get help - the moving castle which hovers on the nearby hills.  But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the hearts of young girls..."

Howl's Moving Castle is one of my favourite Studio Ghibli films, so I've been wanting to read the book for a very long time.  It's a YA (young adult) so the storyline is very cutesy and 'teen' with regards to the romance in it, but I absolutely loved it.  There's so much going on and there's lots of crazy, imaginative scenarios which can only ever happen in fantasy novels.  Comparing it to the film, I'd say the screen plays up the 'wackiness' elements a lot more, though the book has its fair share of surreal and bizarre moments!  A lovely piece of escapism to disappear into during a particularly wet and miserable January.

(3)  Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Kurlansky
Non-Fiction / Activism & Politics / History - "In this timely, highly original, and controversial narrative, New York Times bestselling author Mark Kurlansky discusses nonviolence as a distinct entity, a course of action, rather than a mere state of mind. Nonviolence can and should be a technique for overcoming social injustice and ending wars, he asserts, which is why it is the preferred method of those who speak truth to power." 

Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea is a book that I've seen many human rights activists who I admire recommend, and it's really opened my eyes to seeing things from a different point of view.  In Nonviolence, Kurlansky provides an insightful overview of this powerful mindset and movement, citing its early origins in the foundations of religions such as Christianity and Hinduism, and carries it through to describing its use in relation to the fall of the Soviet Empire.  He illustrates the differences between nonviolence and pacifism, draws upon how States around the world have manipulated religion to promote wars and ultimately promotes nonviolence as the only way to achieve sustainable peace.  The chapters are short and accessible, yet packed full of information, and he rounds it off with a 25 lessons summary at the end to recap what you've just read.

Nonviolence is a fascinating book which will help you to think about the futility of war and violence, and hopefully it'll encourage more people to question and proactively change (through nonviolent means) the power-mad agendas of their governments.  One of my favourite quotes that's stuck in my mind is one by Hannah Arendt - "The practice of violence changes the world, but the most probable change is a more violent world."[5/5]  

What have you been reading lately?
For more short book reviews, ratings and to see what I'm reading next, add me on Goodreads.

P.S:  The two winners of my B. giveaway are Sharylnn Ng and Beauty Bird!  Congrats, I've contacted you both :)   
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  1. I really want to read Howl's Moving Castle because I too love the film, it is probably my favourite studio ghibli film :)


  2. Hello lovely, just came across your blog and it's awesome! :)

    I'm your newest follower and looking forward to your next post! I have a new outfit post up and I'd love to hear what you think about it:


    Thanks! :)


  3. Ooh I read World War Z last year, after the hype about the film! I really liked it, was a bit hard to get into, with al the little extracts, but V. good!
    Daniella x


    1. It's quite a meaty book isn't it?! In some places it reads like non-fiction because there's so much detail x

  4. Looks like a great trio of titles! I think I have all of these on my 'to-read' list.

    1. Thanks Martha - let me know what you think if you read any!


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