How good is reading? Of all the things I wish I had more time to selfishly pursue, I think books would be number one. Yes, I love shopping and pampering, and I imagine getting your nails done must be lovely (I think I’ve had it done once in my life?), but curling up with a book (a real and actual book with pages to turn) is the simplest and most wonderful pleasure on earth.
I wouldn’t say I’m a book snob per se but I stay away from certain genres just because they don’t do it for me. Life is short and there are far too many books for me to waste time on mills and boons and fantasy Sci fi trilogies. But that’s just me. I think because I write myself, I like to be inspired when I open a book. It doesn’t need to be an intellectual workout (pretentious books bore me silly), but I want to be moved somehow – to laugh, to cry, to keep turning pages. I want to get lost in that world. What makes a person get lost is different for everyone.
That’s the beauty of books though. There are so many of them that everyone can find something that appeals to them. I can’t deal with Tolkien, but millions of people the world over are enchanted by the incredible worlds he creates. Some say Jilly Cooper has written the same book over and over for the last decade but I bet as I type, there are thousands of people absolutely engrossed in one of her novels. That feeling is MAGICAL. As long as we’re experiencing that magic, who gives a damn what genre is delivering us that feeling?
And one of the greatest joys of being a reader is getting to share books you have loved with others. So I thought I would share a list of some books I’ve loved recently. They’re not new releases because frankly, I never read books in a timely fashion but rather watch them collecting on my bookshelf, a sort of torture/joy combo of emotions as I watch the pile grow ever larger. On the one hand, Jesus, when am I ever going to read all these books? and on the other, So many delicious books all for me!
So here are a few recommendations for you.
IF YOU WANT EPIC
Asking For It – Louise O’Neill
This has to be one of the most powerful book’s I’ve read . I read it all in one day, and ended up crying because it was so real, and so harrowing. The book challenges everything that is said about rape. It doesn’t shy away from presenting a victim that does things “wrong” (not that is an acceptable way to describe a rape victim…) — so you’re left with no room to make lame excuses for this Victim – you have to admit that no woman is EVER “asking for it”.
Also try: Twilight Saga – Stephenie Meyer
IF YOU WANT FUNNY
Bridget Jones Diary – Helen Fielding
You’ve probably seen the movie. But if you haven’t read the book, then you’re missing out on the real hard-hitting humour. The type of book that will make you squirm in your seat and turn red in the face because you’re so embarrassed for someone else, Bridget Jones’s Diary is a ridiculous but accurate portrayal of what it’s like being a woman trying to find love, keep a job, and impress her family. You know, standard stuff.
Also try: You The Life and Times of the Thunder Bolt Kid – Bill Bryson
IF YOU WANT DARK
The Girl On The Train – Paula Hawkins
I was one of the last people to read this book, and I expected a murder mystery, not a story that would make blink back tears. At its heart, The Girl on the Train is about terrible, horrible people. No one is the good guy. Everyone has done something horrid. But what makes this story so brilliant is the way it makes you sympathize with why people are doing such horrible things. I never thought I’d identify with a lying, angry, drunken loser, but there’s a scene in the book where Rachel explains why she’s so full of rage and became an alcoholic, and damn. There went my heart.
Also try: A Clock Work Orange – Anthony Burgess
IF YOU WANT OFFBEAT
Water For Elephants – Sarah Gruen
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this book. Part romance, part adventure, part historical fiction, this book gives you the same warm and fuzzies as stuff like The Notebook, but it does so while absorbing you into a fascinating world of sideshow characters, animal trainers, and acrobats. It’s an absorbing read that lets you escape the mundane life. This really is a great book.
Also try: House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
IF YOU WANT A GREAT STORY
The Kite Runner– Khaled Hosseini
This is a heart-breaking and beautifully written book. This book is the type of story that makes you think about your life and re-evaluate your values and what you think you know. It makes you question what you’d do in a given situation if the tables were turned. It was emotional and infuriating, but you can’t say that you didn’t “feel” while reading this one. I experienced a full range of emotions.
Also try: The Good House – Ann Leary
I’m currently reading The Hottest State by Ethan Hawks and its great. It flows so smoothly and effortlessly that you want to read it straight through; which is what I have almost done. The story is realistic and captured my attention right away. The novel so far has captured the essence of being young and in love. I cant wait to read more of it.
So what have you been reading? Anything worth recommending? I shouldn’t really ask because my “To read” pile is so out of control. But I’m a glutton for book punishment!
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