Occasionally you can stumble upon a book that stops you in your tracks, a novel that makes you think. Matt Haig’s How To Stop Time did just that.
Haig elegantly mixes history and fiction, allowing our protagonist, Tom, to struggle with the wisdom 400 years on earth has tormented him with. It breaks down the human traits we recognise, and weaves them throughout history.
Tom Hazard was born in the late 16th century, yet he’s still alive in 21st century London. His many lifetimes span generations, from playing with Shakespeare and The King’s Men to life in 1920’s Paris. He joins Captain Cook on The Endeavour but it is the search for his daughter that truly keeps him alive.
There are large periods of Tom’s life where he is surviving. He is disjointed from the world, living his life in the shadows; neither connected to a person or a place. It’s a hard way to live and a lonely life too. But that can change with one person, a single piece of hope to carry you through the hard days. At the end of the day it’s our relationships with others that makes life worth living. Our shared experiences and in turn our shared history. A connection, a memory and a desire to live.
Beautifully written, this is book everyone should read.
Alongside many peers of my own age, I’m constantly looking for role models; people who inspire and influence me. Those who appear to have a slightly better grasp on life then I currently do, who can offer advice, recommendations and aid us along our path.
Carrie Hope Fletcher’s debut half-autobiographical half-advice book does just that, it’s a friendly guide, a chat with someone a little older then yourself. Her message is clear, we’re not facing our problems alone, they’ve been experienced before and they’ll be experienced once again. Whereas if we talk, discuss and open up ourselves things will get a lot simpler. Fletcher’s friendly tone follows through her writing, from friendship to bullying, optimism to reality and everything in between. Her guidance is perfect, approachable and easy to navigate through; certainly something I would have found very relatable through my early teenage years.
With my teens nearly behind me, there are of course aspect of the book that I found slightly irrelevant, but five years ago would have hung on to each little word. It’s a book that fills a much needed gap in the market, someones advice full of care and considerations with a clear audience in mind. Her incorporation of anecdotes fully reinstates that we all experience the same things, maybe not being chased by a bear, but we hit the same milestones at the end.
Her talk and Q&A session followed perfectly from her book; friendly and approachable, overly positive and eager to please her audience. We got to sing a long, giggle at the mishaps with the microphone and see her warmth and passion for what she’d written down. Fletcher reinforced her message, her positive approach to life and from that, it’s a book all ages can relate to; but if you’re in your early teens its an essential part to growing up.
All I Know Now is published by Little Brown, I visited her book tour event in Manchester. Find Carrie on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/carrie
Let me know your opinions on All I Know Now!
Filar’s The Shock of the Fall holds many characteristics I least expected it to contain, it firstly brings a much closer relationship and understanding to schizophrenia then any book I have read. Allowing the stigma associated with mental illness to be removed as we follow Matthew’s journey and the cycle his life is now confined to. As an outsider to any relationship with mental illness, this book encapsulated the very essence of humanity and provide the realistic struggles for all connected.
With a traumatic childhood depicted in the opening pages, consequent questions are created on the psychological impact that follows into our adult lives. This book continues to make you think, of how we are perceived, how we perceive ourselves and what impact this creates. In Matthew’s journey the queries raised are even harder to pin point as he struggles to come to term with his brother’s death and the life that follows.
Although not necessarily an easy read, from time to time we all need a book that questions our purpose and enlightens topics we previously were unaware of.
The Shock of the Fall, is so well crafted, I feel I now understand a small aspect of mental illness; of a life unknown. Filar’s debut novel asks more of its readers then most, but in return is more rewarding and fulfilling.
Nathan Filar’s The Shock of the Fall is published by Borough Press and won Costa Book of the Year.
On the 80th anniversary of the very first penguin books, a collection of 80 classics have been reproduced all at the wonderful price of 80p. The most difficult part; deciding which ones to buy!
Like many others, and I’m sure this blog has made it clear, I love books; in all shapes and sizes. I enjoy exploring authors of new and old, one by one adding to my collection. So with the release of the Little Black Classics, it seemed a perfect opportunity to explore and expand my literature collection.
I therefore tried my hardest to whittle the collection down to ten, for my first purchase at least. I went in to Waterstones without having previously decided on my choices, instead I waited to see what took my fancy. I chose mostly based on the authors, some of whom I’d read and enjoyed, others who I felt it was about time to start reading their work. Others came from the title, which caught me for no particular reason, each backed up by the tiny blurb on the reverse. One was recommended for me while I stood and stared at my options for far too long, and my final choice, Darwin’s It was snowing butterflies is for a friend who introduced me to the Little Black Classics.
So with ten new books purchased, it’s time to start reading them and watch my collection grow…
With a little break from exploring, it’s time to discuss Robert Galbraith’s second novel; The Silkworm.
I’ve been eagerly awaiting the paperbacks release, to revisit Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin in their next case. Its beginning held parallels to The Cuckoo’s Calling, a little slow paced, as a mixture of smaller cases intertwine with the opening of the main story. However once a body has been found, the pace greatly increases, and the book becomes difficult to put down.
Following the disappearance of Owen Quine, an insight to the publishing world is unearthed. With the police certain Quine’s wife is their main suspect, Strike is engaged to find the answer to this confusing riddle. Calling in favours and using his associates, Strike slowly unravels the mystery and it certainly is not what you expect.
By producing a sequel Galbraith (J.K.Rowling), is permitted to further expand her characters, allowing the reader to understand Robin’s interest in detective work and explore Cormoran’s mind. With this, the story and case it revolves around involve the reader, allowing us to guess and discuss the case’s many twist and turns.
With a well planned and developed case, twisting when we least expect it; The Silkworm is another triumph is Galbraith series leaving us awaiting the next case…
The Silkworm is published by Sphere Books and is available in all good bookshops.