A roundup of the books that I read last month:-
Fantasy / Contemporary: "Under the streets of London there's a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks."
This was a lot of fun to read - I particularly enjoyed the fantasy setting of this mysterious hidden world happening right underneath London. The plot was intriguing as our protagnist Richard Mayhew finds his world being turned (quite literally) upside down when he comes across a strange girl called Door who is being chased by men who sound like they should be in The Matrix. Cue some extra odball characters, complete with plot twists and turns and you have a great piece of fantasy escapism. I really need to read more by Gaiman! [4/5]
(2) Cider With Rosie
Classic / Coming of Age Memoir: "Growing up amongst the fields and woods and characters of a peaceful place, Laurie Lee depicts a world that is both immediate and real and belongs to a now-distant past."
A beautifully written memoir of Lee's childhood growing up in the idyllic setting of the Cotswolds. It chronicles the simplicity of village life in a time before cars and computers took over, and of course is a wonderful coming of age account of a young boy's life. I loved the naivety, the freedom, the uncertainty and most of all, the innocence of his childhood memories and experiences. This would make a lovely holiday read or for anyone who wants to read tales of how things were in the 'good old days'. [4/5]
(3) Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach
Science Fiction / Space Fantasy: "Devi Morris isn't your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It's a combination that's going to get her killed one day - but not just yet."
I'm not usually one for stories that happen in Space, and generally prefer my Sci-Fi stuff to be more based around Earth/evil dictators/a new repressive society and the like. However, I wanted something completely different to read and Fortune's Pawn certainly took me out of my comfort zone! The world building was great, the characters were well developed and I loved the protagonist Devi, who is this bad-ass, super ambitious young woman (we need more female role models like this please!). Although she's relatively fearless, she's not completely cold with it, and her narrative offers some insight into someone who is still trying to figure things out. The story does get a bit too ridiculous and silly for my liking as the book progresses and I'm not sure yet if I'll continue with the trilogy or not, but for the most part, I really liked it. [3/5]
(4) The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
Literature / Contemporary: "Pulitzer Prize winning novel set among the fishermen of Newfoundland, Proulx tells the story of Quoyle, a big schlump of a loser. He's not attractive, he's not brilliant or witty or talented, but this is his personal journey to change all of that, or at least try to."
I watched the film adaptation of this a couple of years ago on Channel 4, and I've always been curious to read the book ever since. Finally managed to sit down with a copy and I have to admit that it was a tough book to get through. Proulx's prose is inventive and often unconventional which makes it interesting to analyze from a Literature student's point of view, but as a normal reader, it can be difficult to 'go with its flow' so to speak. This is certainly a book that you need to take your time with, but I grew to appreciate its complexity, both of Quoyle himself and all of his flaws, and the overall language structure too. [3/5]
What have you been reading lately?
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