autobiography · book haul · books · fiction · literature · Shakespeare

February Book Haul

IMG_6087It may have become apparent from this blog that I like books, I love reading them, discussing them and also buying them. So, with the start of a new semester and two literature modules to buy for, I had a most pleasant book buying trip.

As I already held the excuse of needing books specifically for my course, I felt no guilt walking to my nearest bookshop and picking up books by the handful. It also meant a few books not at all required by my course snuck into my arms, but with a collection already mounting they can’t do much harm.

I’m therefore having a little bit of a February book haul, so you get a sneak preview of what I’ll be reading for the next few months.

IMG_6089The Norton Shakespeare– By far one of the biggest (and most expensive) books I’ve had the privilege of buying, this collection of shakespeare appears to have it all. I’m already a confessed fan of the bard so was eager to own his detailed words. Full of textual notes, specific play introductions and a range of critical analysis it seems the perfect student guide to that main man of literature. It also comes with a full digital ebook to be downloaded, so you can have shakespeare on the go.

Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison; Situated in 1950s America, there’s the man who never quite seems to appear, on the surface at least he’s invisible to his country, deemed unworthy and unimportant to his homeland. Covering the hardship of a still segregated and discriminative America, it looks like an interesting if long read.

Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston; Beginning with romance that is disapproved of, sixteen year old Janie is married off to an older man. The novel twists and turns as Janie searches for the love she lost at sixteen, and struggles in a world not truly her own.

IMG_6088Beloved – Toni Morrison; Moving back to the mid 1800s as slavery become abolished, worlds come crashing to an end as love turns to violence and loss. This family will fight against all that life throws at them, but at what cost? Beloved appears to be an intriguing read and view of post slavery America.

A range of essays and autobiographies from: W.E.B Du Bois, James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates and James Weldon Johnson: covering various aspects of life as an African American and the struggles faced by us all.

The Versions of Us– Laura Barnet: This tale intrigued me from its title alone, the possibilities of our life can hang from such tiny decisions and circumstances. We follow Eva, from her days at Cambridge University to three possible outcomes of her life based on one moment, one meeting with a stranger and one bicycle. It fascinates me the parallels and possibilities our lives hold, so this book was a certain read for me.

Quite a collection of books to get through, let me know what you’ll be reading this month.

 

books · fiction · literature · reading challenge

Five challenges…

March readingWith March now with us, and spring finally feeling closer (yet I write this from a wet and windy Manchester) it seems right to begin anew. So I am challenging myself to read five new books this month of which three are entirely for myself and two are required reading for my course.

First up…
The Silkworm (Robert Galbraith)
After a long wait for its paperback release I’m looking forward to reemerging myself into some crime fiction, ex-solider turned detective Cormoran Strike is embarking on a murder investigation once again, with an author’s unpublished manuscript holding coincidental similarities to his own murder it’s going to be a good read. I greatly enjoyed J. K. Rowling’s first book under Galbraith’s pseudonym and hope her detective skills are once again proven.

The Shock of the Fall (Nathan Filar)
Having won costa book of the year and jumped out at me on the shelf a few times I had to buy Filar’s first novel. I know nothing more then the blurb instructing me about Simon’s death. But this book intrigued me, so we’ll have to wait and see.

The Miniaturist (Jessie Burton)
Another book on fate and discovery through the replication of a doll house, added mystery entices me into this read. With the added bonus of being set in Amsterdam, a city that greatly intrigues me, and beginning in 1686 is a slightly different feel to the more modern day literature above but with such critical acclaim how could I not place this on my bookshelf?

Lyrical Ballads (Wordsworth and Coleridge)
Not too surprisingly this is on my reading list for this semester, beginning the English Romance period and intertwining politics, revelation, class, age and literary history into emotive language. It will bring new light to my interpretation of history and how it can alter literature.

Castle Rackrent (Maria Edgeworth)
With rebellion forming the main theme of Edgeworth’s first novel, the political tension of Ireland of the 1790’s could run parallel to itself three hundred years later. Another book on my reading list giving once again a new view on the history it represents.
Let me know if you’ve read any of these titles, or challenging yourself to some new books this spring!

books · fiction · literature · review

The Coincidence Authority

The Coincidence Authority

So we’re got to start somewhere and where better then the first book I read in 2015? A collision of fact, fate, love and war is already inviting me to curl up and reread.

John Ironmonger’s The Coincidence Authority

We begin with a missing child in the 1980’s, Azalea lost in a fairground on midsummer’s day, little do we know how significant this day will turn out to be. As the reader is pulled through Ironmonger’s maze of reality we begin to question each event and its significance. Then with a flash to the present day in amongst Azalea’s extraordinary childhood can the pieces of the puzzle be fixed together? Ironmonger’s writing intertwines all these events cleverly questioning the reader’s sense of reality and fiction. Added together with the political tension of the Uganda civil war this little book touches on every emotion in its quest for answers of Azalea’s life.

This book questioned some of my views on life and fate, educated me on the political tension in Africa and expanded my views on how amazing life can be.

A wonderful mixture of emotion and discovery as we are transformed between London and Uganda from fact to fate as the twisted world of coincidences and explanations follow. This may be a winding road but once you’re on it, you’ll have to see where it leads…

The Coincidence Authority is published by Phoenix and is available in all good bookshops.