6 In Books & Writing

Book Roundup & Reviews II

book roundup

It’s been nearly six months since I last did a book roundup on my blog so here are the books I’ve read since September!

The Opposite of Loneliness. Marina Keegan.

The Opposite of Loneliness is the essay at the beginning of this book and it really hit home for me. ‘We are so young’ is something many of us should try to tell ourselves more in all the worries that growing up brings. It was very touching and very real. The short stories that follow were also very true to life as a teenager and a young adult. I thought the voice was a bit too similar in all of them and I got a bit bored, but Keegan’s talent could not be hidden. 4/5

Yes, Please. Amy Poehler.

Last year I read Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling’s books and I loved them so I thought this would be a good follow-up. It was! I loved this book! I think it was aimed at people a bit older than I am – she discusses a lot being older now, being a mother, etc. which didn’t resonate with me, but a lot of other things made me laugh, touched me and inspired me. I think Poehler is hilarious and a great inspiration to follow your dreams and not let things get you down and that book did just that for me. 4/5

The Rosie Project. Graeme Simson.

An absolutely lovely read. I picked it up because I saw so many good reviews about it. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was delighted by the story. Don is a slightly socially-inapt scientist who wants to meet a partner, he then meets Rosie and…well I can’t say much more actually! It was one of those books that was well-written, easy to read and when you finish it you feel a bit happier and warmer. I read the whole thing in a day and I was sad to move on. 4/5

Colourless: Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage. Haruki Murakami.

I’m in the middle of writing a coming of age story and at our local Waterstones they recommended Haruki Murakami’s writing to me to get some inspiration. I picked up a copy of this book and, though I found it an amazingly intricate and a delicately told story, I also thought it was so weird. Tsukuru’s closest friends turned their back on him one day out of the blue. Years later when he starts dating a woman, she convinces him to go back to talk to them to finally get to the bottom of things. Murakami’s writing is incredible, but it felt weird because sometimes I wasn’t sure what was dream or reality (just like Tsukuru), and some of Tsukuru’s thoughts were quite disturbing. A recommended read if you like coming-of-age and know what to expect with Murakami. 4/5

The Shadow of the Wind. Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

This is a very bookish book for people who love books (and now I sound like a riddle) – it takes place after WWII in Barcelona where a boy tries to find out what happened to his favourite writer. I started reading this book in Spanish a while back (like years ago), took it up again in French last year and finally, it took going to Italy for me to finally read the whole thing in a couple of days. I loved this read, from the very first line. It’s a long and tedious book, but once I got into it it felt as if the words were just flowing out and into my eyes and my mind – I could barely put it down. 5/5

All the Lights we Cannot See. Anthony Doerr.

This book won the Pulitzer prize for fiction earlier this year and I could see why – it’s a great read. This book follows two children, a French girl and a German boy, during WWII. It was very touching to see the path of both these characters through the war. It was a fascinating coming of age story through the horrible lens of war – how fast children must grow up in those times. The book is written in short chapters that make it really hard to put it down! 4.5/5

The Martian. Andy Weir.

After three heavy books, I needed something lighter. I really wanted to see The Martian in the theatre and so I tried to read the book before heading out to the movies. If you don’t know about it yet, it’s about an astronaut who finds himself stranded on Mars, trying to survive. The first half of the book I read before we saw the movie and I was a bit detached from it because I was having a hard time feeling things – I know it sounds weird, but a lot of the talk in the book is very technical. After seeing Matt Damon’s great performance, I could definitely attribute a bit more facial expression and emotion to the main character’s monologues. A great read. 4/5

The Alchemist. Paulo Coehlo.

This was an intriguing story that follows a shepherd boy journey and travels toward his ‘Personal legend’. I listened to the audiobook and it was very inspiring – a bit in the same vein as The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. 4/5

Looking for Alaska. John Green.

I didn’t really love this book. I had enjoyed Green’s witty and touching writing in The Faults in Our Stars last year, and this was really reminiscent, but it just wasn’t as good. It follows teenager ‘Pudge’ as he goes away to boarding school, makes friends and experiences loss. It was an okay read, but I found it kind of predictable. 3/5

Get Back. Donovan Day.

*Get Back was given to me by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review – all opinions are my own.*
I have to say that this book really intrigued me. I’m not a big Beatles fan, but I do love their song and find them fascinating. This book is the tale of a modern teenager who finds himself able to go back in time to certain eras according to what music he is listening to. I loved that concept! I was eating it up. I thought it was a bit predictable from the beginning until the ending – it completely took me by surprise, which I always really enjoy in a book when I don’t see it coming! A criticism I have for this book though is that there wasn’t enough – I wanted more detail, landscape, thoughts, just more character development. I loved the concept and the story and I just wished there was more. I definitely recommend this book if you love music, if you love the Beatles or fancy a book about some time-travelling. 3/5

The Rosie Effect. Graeme Simson.

As you may have read just above, I absolutely loved The Rosie Project and took up The Rosie Effect a bit worried that it wouldn’t stand up to its first instalment. It truly didn’t. The writing is still as charming, but the story was just not up to par. I found it a bit frustrating and even veering toward sexism in some parts, which I didn’t appreciate. 2.5/5

The Happy Prince. Oscar Wilde.

I loved this short story so much. I feel I had heard it before, but I listened to the audio version and it was so touching. While I don’t get the weird heaven reference, I enjoyed the message of the story, especially just before the holiday time. 4/5

The Girl who Saved the King of Sweden. Jonas Jonasson.

This book is an interesting and intricately knitted plot with many characters, through history and continents that all converge to save the life of the King of Sweden. I found it highly entertaining but spread a bit too thin. I found the characters a bit one-dimensional – there was so much going on and so many characters that it was hard to see them as anything else than caricatures.  3/5

When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow. Dan Rhodes.

*I was given this book by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review – all opinions are my own.*
I chose this book on NetGalley because I always love stories about academics, but lo and behold this was all based on a real person. Even after finishing the book I’m still unsure how I feel about it – to me it looks a lot like defamation. Nevertheless, I don’t know much about Professor Richard Dawkins and so I took it more as a fictional character. As such, I found the book very funny. It was well-written and a good satire about believing in everything a bit too much, especially without proof – on both side of this weird religion battle. My only other note would be that I thought all the characters are very unlikely – except for Mrs Smith’s daughter who sends an angry text late in the book – and that never really does it for me as I like realism much better. If you like satires you might like this read. 3/5

Notes from a Small Island. Bill Bryson.

This was my first Bill Bryson and I absolutely loved it. It was witty, charming, very funny and informative. It represented so accurately my love/hate relationship with Great Britain as an immigrant and what a paradox this country is. It is absolutely brilliant and beautiful but can be frustrating and useless. A great read if you’ve lived in Britain as an expat. 4/5

Red Queen. Victoria Aveyard.

*I was given this book by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review – all opinions are my own.*
I really liked this book – I began it and could barely put it down and read until the wee hours of the morning. It’s strange because it felt like a mix of a lot of different books, Divergent, Hunger Games, even partly fantasy books like Lord of the Rings, with different realms, different people and a war ravaging through. Though I felt sometimes it copied some of the concepts, the storyline was still well done, well written and original. You’ll definitely like it if you liked the books and series mentioned above. 4/5

Do you have any book recommendations to share?xx

You Might Also Like