11 Books On My Reading List


I went to Waterstones the other day and I saw these beautiful books on the shelves so I just wanted to share with you what I will be reading at some point in the future. They’re all on Goodreads so I suggest you go and have a look at the blurbs, which I’ve linked to ❤ And they’re all relatively new books so if you’ve read any of them, tell me why or why not you liked it/them.

The Sky is Everywhere – Jandy Nelson

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Betting on the Muse: Poems and Stories – Charles Bukowski

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Edgar Allen Poe and the London Monster – Karen Lee Street

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The Muse -Jessie Burton

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Bitter Greens – Kate Forsyth

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The Strawberry Girl – Lisa Stromme

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The Comet Seekers – Helen Sedgwick

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A Life Discarded – Alexander Masters

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The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

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The Reader on the 6.27 – Jean-Paul Didierlaurent

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Boy, Snow, Bird – Helen Oyeyemi

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Photo Credit: Eli Francis

Rapture


“Close your eyes

and picture it.

Can you see it?”

Everything is energy.

First there was silence

but the voices reached me

in the murky darkness,

“If we catch you, you die.”

I shouldn’t be here,

I shouldn’t exist,

I was going to die.

So I ran as fast as I could.

Tormented

in the shadowland

there was no escape,

it was everlasting.

The blue moon had risen

the night star was glowing,

the dark flame consumed me,

and that’s when

everything

stopped.

I was one of the fallen

and I was in danger.

EBooks or Print Books?


There is no friend as loyal as a book” – Ernest Hemingway

True. But what if that friend was an online friend? What if the person you thought was your friend turns out to be two-faced? Online friends can’t reveal their true selves to you unless you meet up with them in person – unless there is a physical copy there for you to believe they are who they say they are. You may think you know them… but you don’t. You don’t have that social support or that physical contact.

Wait… was I thinking out loud? Sorry. Seriously, though, I have a question for you; do you prefer EBooks or Print Books? I came across an article on Facebook a few days ago “14 Things Only People Who Adore Print Books Will Understand” and it made me love print books even more. I’ll tell you why. But considering I’ve never read a single EBook, I’m probably being biased.

They are low maintenance. You don’t have to do anything to them but open them on the page you left off and you’re away. They don’t crash and they don’t get viruses. You can read for hours on end without having to reposition yourself near a plug socket because they have no batteries and you don’t have to charge them. You can stay put in your comfy spot with your tea staring out the window… if you wanted. But that’s just preference. Do you think your e-book will be readable in say, 50 years? Your copy of Catcher in the Rye will be. Imagine going into a library with your Kindle, you know because libraries have great atmospheres and your Kindle suddenly decides to shut down because it has run out of battery. Unless you have your charger with you, you can’t read from your Kindle. So all you can do is pick a book from all the thousands of books around you just like everybody else.

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The classic book smell. Duh. Don’t you just love picking up an old or new book and smelling its pages? It reminds you of all good things in life. E-readers can’t replicate that. Plus it looks weird if you start smelling your Kindle. I haven’t read a book in a couple of months so I literally just went up to my bookshelf and picked the first book I saw and smelt it. Don’t tell anyone I did that. But it just smelt so good. There is actually a scientific reason why most people love the smell of books. Barnes and Noble said “books are made up of paper, adhesive, and ink. When these materials degrade over time, they give off organic volatile compounds, which in turn produce a smell that’s appealing to readers. The reason the smell is so appealing may be because it has a hint of vanilla. The scientific explanation for the vanilla-ish scent is that almost all wood-based paper contains lignin, which is closely related to vanillin.” So there you have it, B&N have spoken. Nothing smells like that; it’s like an addiction.

Books come in all shapes and sizes. Kindles and other e-readers do not. It feels more like an achievement when you read a print book, you feel prouder. Especially when you see the left side getting thicker and the right side getting thinner as you get closer to the end. It’s exciting, and you never want it to stop. Reading from a technological device feels more like reading an academic article, it feels like a chore – boring. And you can pet books. They are nice and soft to touch. There’s something about holding a book that can’t be replicated by an EBook. You can’t help but feeling a world of pain when you finish a book, and you stare into space contemplating all your life’s choices and what brought you to this particular moment.

Your future enormous secret underground library. How cool does that sound? I love collecting books, I find it amazing that I can see all the books that I have read over the years, some more than once. It’s a visible representation of what kind of genres I used to love, and similarly the genres I’m into now. For example, when I was a young teenager I read books about vampires, werewolves, witches, ghosts and shapeshifters… you know like a typical teenager. And now I love reading historical fiction and domestic fiction as well as the occasional fantasy *cough* Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children *cough*. At the moment I have a really small bookshelf. It’s quite unfair really. I’ve had to double up books in front of each other. So really, you can only see half the books I own. I have books on my shelf and on my desk. They are overflowing and I need somewhere to put them in the future. Cue underground library. I have an emotional connection to all of them. It’s not like I’m going to sell them or *shudder* throw them away. They bring back good memories for me. And I can’t throw away memories.

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It’s fun to shop for books. And you don’t care if it annoys your friends if you spend hours upon hours searching for the perfect book. I could spend a whole day in Waterstones I’m not even kidding. Sometimes I buy 4 books at a time in Asda because they’re 2 for £7 and don’t read them for a year. But they look pretty on my bookshelf so do I care? No. I mean, just looking at all the beautiful book covers in the shop is relaxing. I’m a book hoarder. I’ve even organised my bookshelf into alphabetical order by the Author’s name. And with shopping for books in bookshops, you can inspect all the pretty book covers in detail rather than looking at a thumbnail picture of its cover on your screen. Have you ever visited a bookshop? They are pure bliss and smell like forests. A town can’t really call itself a town without a bookstore.

So those are the reasons why I love printed books instead of EBooks. Tell me down in the comments why you prefer EBooks over Print books or vice versa, I’d love to hear what you think! Happy reading.

“That’s the thing about books. They demand to be read.” – Me, Just Now

Book Review of The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton


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The Blurb:

There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed…

On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives at a grand house in Amsterdam to begin her new life as the wife of wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt. Though curiously distant, he presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations ring eerily true.

As Nella uncovers the secrets of her new household she realises the escalating dangers they face. The miniaturist seems to hold their fate in her hands – but does she plan to save or destroy them?

Summary:

Nella was married to a rich man, Johannes Brandt. She is hopeful for love but disappointed as he doesn’t show her any – physically or emotionally, and this makes her sad, powerless and lonely. The man she marries is twice her age, but it was normal in the 1600s. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office—leaving Nella alone. Nella is left alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin. Her new husband’s sister is cruel all the time, and very tense. Her new family is not very welcoming. Marin doesn’t trust many people, especially Nella. Although the two servants (Cordelia and Otto) are almost treated as part of the family. Nella has no-one she can talk to, and is angered by her husband’s wedding gift – a mini replica of the house, which she interprets as a dig into her powerlessness in her new home. All she has to do now is fill it with dolls. So she sets off to look for a person who can create mini replicas of people and furniture and finds an advert for The Miniaturist.

But it’s a difficult life. The three main women, Nella, Marin (Brandt’s sister) and Cordelia (the maidservant) are wholly dependent on Brandt for their survival – they must live in his shadow and as secrets become unveiled this becomes more difficult. They all depend on Brandt for safety, money and shelter. But friends become enemies and power hierarchies are broken down as Brandt struggles to sell his stock of sugar to customers, the lives of the occupants in the house become endangered. Brandt travels overseas to make deals with other merchants and buyers. Or, is he running away from something? In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe.

What she receives from the miniaturist is exquisite and uncanny – exact, to the tiniest detail – suggesting the miniaturist has been spying on her and her new family and the house and knows all of its secrets. But what’s more strange is that she receives extra bits and pieces, which she hasn’t requested to be made. Secrets become unveiled and Nella realises the miniaturist was right all along, but how did the miniaturist know everything? Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand—and fear—the escalating dangers that await them all. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation, or the architect of their destruction?

My Review:

The take on family life in Amsterdam in the 1600s is amazing. In this very closed and secretive society, everyone is spying on each other, rumours are spread, and outsiders not trusted. This is a city ruled by wealth and oppressive/ strict religion so anyone who is different will be penalised and punished and sent away. It’s harsh but no one dares question authority. The rules are put in place for a reason and everyone must obey them to the word.

I would describe this book as mysterious. I was shocked a few times by this book, Jessie builds anticipation perfectly. I just love all the secrets they keep in that house, and from each other, and when you find out a secret it’s like WOAH where did that come from? It’s quite possibly my favourite book. The whole book is tense and suspenseful throughout. When the miniaturist commissions extra pieces for no extra cost to Nella, you begin to wonder what secrets Marin and Johannes are trying so hard to keep. The Miniaturist acts as an omniscient power in the book and it’s eerie that she knows much, and she possibly tries hard to reveal their unexpected secrets. She tiptoes around Amsterdam, uncovering everyone’s home lives like an invisible, undercover journalist, like she purposefully wants to ruin their lives. She acts as the law impersonated. It’s enchanting.

So I’d give the book a 5/5 overall.

xxx