Posts in Books
May Books

It’s been a wee while but I’m back again with a round-up of the books I read in May, and you can watch the accompanying video here. This month I didn’t get round to reading as much as I wanted, mostly because I got stuck in a rut with two of the longer titles listed below that I really wasn’t enjoying; I need to get better at giving up on the books I don’t like. Anyway, there were at least a couple of hits which I can’t say for every month, so it's not all bad.

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January Books

I thought instead of doing singular reviews of just some books I read every month on here, I would try doing one big post to accompany this week’s book video, that would go into more depth on the best and the worst and give synopses of some of the others so you can easily locate them if you need in the future. Let me know which way you prefer.

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Top 5 Books of 2018

Instead of individual reviews to go with this book video, I thought that it would be the perfect time to do a round-up of the best books I read this year. I'm so nitpicky with books these days that I figured it'd be a nice thing to point to those ones that I absolutely loved (or at least found intriguing) and would wholeheartedly recommend. It’s also that time of the year that I suspect a few more of us are curling up on the sofa to dip our noses into new worlds, so if you do need a little inspo this is for you.

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Normal People

A few days after reading Sally Rooney's Normal People in one sitting and I'm still not quite sure what I think. In my heart of hearts, my instinct is that this is good writing doing a lot of work to cover up a rather hackneyed love story.

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The Overstory

What's everyone's favourite genre? I don't think there are many people out there who would say ecofiction. The reason, of course, is time. With the exception of apocalypse novels maybe, you need at least decades if not longer to reveal the drama in nature, especially in plants, and even more particularly in trees.

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Snap

I'm back to book reviewing and I couldn't be happier. If it's relevant (i.e. there are lots of twists and turns), within my reviews I'm going to do a couple of paragraphs with no spoilers that summarise how I feel about a book, and then for those who have read the book or just want my full thoughts, a second clearly marked spoiler section will also be available. That way I get to write proper reviews but also don't spoil anything for those of you who don't want to know!

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Shelf Tour: The Classics Part II

It's time again to examine one of my bookshelves and write a few mini reviews. If you missed my last Shelf Tour, make sure you check out that post here. We're looking at classics again this time, either ones I haven't got in Penguin Classic form, or some more recent works. As I said in my previous post, I read many of these books years ago, and have probably completely forgotten their contents (so useful!), but we're going to plough on anyway. It's going to be a long one, so strap in.

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Shelf Tour 1: The Classics

In a vlog a little while back, I suggested doing shelf tours for those of you who might be interested in a more detailed look at what I've got on my bookshelves, and lots of you seemed keen. I figured it would actually be a lot easier for me to do this on the blog than on video, so I thought I'd start with the classics.

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Young Skins Review

I recently read Young Skins by Irish author Colin Barrett, a slim volume of short stories, all of them set in a nondescript town in County Mayo, and to tell the truth I’m still kind of undecided about it. The opening sentence of the first story, ‘The Clancy Kid’; “My town is nowhere you have been, but you know its ilk”, sets the tone not just for the setting but for the characters, too. They are characters you have seen before, the type of people you may know, though their stories are made poignant and thought-provoking by Barrett’s clipped prose style, that buttoned up effect that seems to make the emotion seem even more unbearable or tragic. Whilst that opening sentence seems to demonstrate the best of this style, there are times when it can seem overwrought (just a sentence later, the narrator of ‘The Clancy Kid’ says, “The Atlantic is near; the gnarled jawbone of the coastline with its gull-infested promontories is near.”)

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Americanah Review

I think this is the first novel I have picked for the book club which I have really liked and found few faults with. It is a novel that follows two Nigerian characters, Ifemelu and Obinze, teenagers in love who drift apart when the former goes to pursue further education in America. Mostly the novel focusses on Ifemelu and her new life in America, though there is some description of their lives in Nigeria, and a section dedicated to Obinze’s abortive few months in London.

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