recent reads

For the past 5 years, one of my new years resolutions has been to read 26 books, I've got close most years (except last; I'd read all of 2 books by June) and this year I am determined to smash it.
Some of the below were part of my gap year TBR, others offered a literary escape, some were fucking brilliant and others utter trash.
So here we go.


Autumn–Ali Smith

I wanted to love this. I loved the cover. I loved tiny snippets in an isolated manner. I loved the ease to read.
But it made no sense. I have no idea what it was trying to say, what the characters were doing, who the characters were, what (if anything??) happened. It all felt like one self indulgent poetic metaphor, the meaning of which was impossible to discern. In fact, it was entirely self-indulgent. As though the reader remains in a position of stupidity to make the writer feel superior. I think it was supposed to be some kind of commentary on Brexit and the political turmoil and division but it was, to be honest, very difficult to tell. There were certain chapters I adored and some of the writing was so beautiful but there appeared to be no running theme, nothing linking the chapters together and as a novel, it just didn't work.

Pride and Prejudice–Jane Austen

I loved this. So much. Maybe as a result of studying Shakespeare and Wilde, but I found it surprising easy to read and loved Austen's subtle critique throughout. It is, fundamentally, a romance and I love that because it shows a good love story and feminism can go hand in hand; not everything needs to be heavy. Elizabeth is such an empowering and powerful character and, when considered in the context of the novel, she's fucking awesome. Historically, I found the (realistic) presentation of the patriarchy so eye-opening and the restraints, expectations and formalities of the 19th Century shocking. The weight placed on marriage, for securing wealth, reputation and continuing the family line, the importance of class, the separation of genders and inability to ever relax. It all contrasts with 21st Century modern society so powerfully. The characters and their subsequent relationships are confusing but, with the help of a diagram I found online, it all ran very smoothly.

Billy and Me-Giovanna Fletcher

I bought this when I was having a bad day and I needed to escape into a world of idealised, cliched romance. For that purpose, this book was ideal. It was such a quick read and I could lose myself in its complete predictability. Its trashy and badly written, sickly, sickly sweet and unbelievably cliched (think tea shop! cupcakes! florals! purple converse! shaggy-haired hunk who mysteriously falls in love with the nervous socially awkward girl! you get the picture (its like Cathy Cassidy for adults)) and appears to mirror 13 year old Katie and her literary dreams but, all jokes aside, I can't critique it. I bought it for one sole purpose, to read a trashy romance. And for that purpose, it completely delivered. Its not a work of literary genius, in fact its pretty crap but if you need to lose yourself/feel 13 again, I'd recommend.

How to Stop Time –Matt Haig

All things considered, this book was fantastic. I usually hate anything with any element of fantasy but this was engaging and easy to read. The book was laced with wisdom and relate-ability and so much of the novel and characterisation became a vehicle to explore mental health and the feelings of loss, of emptiness, of disappearance. It felt very comforting. It explores what it means to be alive, what it means to be different, enjoyment of art and fulfilment of life, the purpose and value of memory, identity (or lack of), happiness, love, loneliness and, in many ways, the actual storyline became secondary to the feeling of understanding. It made me think about all the things I want to achieve in my lifetime, all the different lives Tom had lived and how you could recreate this element of interest and intrigue in your own world.
It also challenged and presented humanity as a whole, our existence, our attitudes, how they've changed and how they will perhaps never change.
It evoked so many interesting questions and ideas about history, what it teaches us, whether we ever really learn from the past, whether humanity is programmed to make the same mistakes, and seemed to echo this article I read a while ago.
Tom Hazard meets so many interesting people and explores so many scary and exciting and humiliating moments in history that make you think about what it means to be a part of society, past and present. For a history nerd, it was idyllic, but could be enjoyed by almost anyone.
I had this really weird moment when reading this on the bus when my memories felt so present. It was like an epiphany, realising that all the things that have happened in the past haven't been left there to never be experienced again, they are continually surrounding us, shaping who we are and being a part of the journey. Idk. Cringey but I felt it pretty strong.
By the end, I found the storyline a bit depressing and the end was a bit predictable but, these minor details aside, I did thoroughly enjoy it.

Next on my list are: Call Me By Your Name (Libby said the book is even more beautiful than the film), The Cat on the Hot Tin Roof (which I started last night and I remembered why Tennessee Williams is my favourite playwright), Never Let Me Go and The Go-Between (for the 3rd time, because I honestly regularly get moments of craving nostalgia and I know I just need to read it again).

Leave literary recommendations below, my list is ever growing.

(I feel like this post is really badly written. I'm kind of rusty. I haven't posted so infrequently since Summer. Bare with whilst I get my jam back)

18 comments

  1. Such a nice variety of books!! I'm so bad, I always tend to stick to one genre.. Cathy Cassidy for adults sounds like the dreamm; I used to adore her books it was like some girly dream world. I'm reading Call Me By Your Name at the moment and it's beautiful, desperately want to read Cat On A Hot Tin Roof too! xo
    www.lexiealexandra.com

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    1. same! trying so hard to push myself and read things that i usually wouldn't. Haha same, I think I wouldn't vomit if i read them now though haha. I'm so excited to read CMBYN but am loving Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, would recommend!x

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  2. Such a good resolution, books are life. I have this book called '1001 books to read before you die', (safe to say it is a FAT compilation) and last year I went through every.single.page, writing down the books I was determined to read from there! I'll maybe share them in a blog post too, I love getting/giving book recommendations! I was actually meant to make it a goal for this year, but I already feel behind haha. Some of the books were one's I've already read, or have had to read because of uni, so it was interesting flicking through chronologically. Good luckkk!! <3

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    1. That book sounds so good! I would love to hear your reading list, I'm always in need of new books and hearing recommendations from other people is always great! x

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  3. Ahh Katie I just love your book posts! Cannot wait to start reading Pride and Prejudice :) how to stop time sounds really interesting, I recently finished Kafka On The Shore by Murakami and like you I’m not someone who likes fantasy but this book was INCREDIBLE. So disturbing in parts but boy have I thought a lot about it after. Never Let me go is such a good book so I hope you like it!

    eleanorclaudie.com

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    1. Thanks Eleanor–I always love writing them because they motivate me to read!! Kafka on the shore sounds so good–i think books that make you think are the best, even if you didn't enjoy them that much. I always find my favourite books are the ones that I can't get out of my head for days after. Hope you enjoy Pride and Prejudice!!!x

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  4. I've just picked up and started reading a book today which must be similar to Billy and Me, I simply asked my mum if she had any nice happy books to read because sometimes you just need that! I've always been one to enjoy crime and horror books but honestly, I've tried reading 3 this year and I just can't get into them. Every bit of graphic writing I read makes me want to put the book down, I can't handle it anymore! How to stop time sounds interesting, may need to read that! Love these posts!

    Lucy Jane | Infinity of Fashion

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    1. They're definitely 'nice happy' reads and definitely offer an escape (even if you just spend most of it going "ugh" at its predictability hahah). Would definitely recommend, its a really easy read! thank ya x

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  5. I love Pride & Prejudice so much - it's witty, clever, and still feels biting and current somehow reading it in 2018, so I feel extremely pleased whenever someone mentions that they enjoyed it. A phenomenal book.

    Lilly xoxo

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  6. Your description of that Giovanna Fletcher book made me giggle - the 'cathy cassidy for adults' description made me immediately know EXACTLY the kind of book you were talking about!
    Also loved the way you wrote this post! I find it so hard to read posts where other people are talking about books in a non academic sense, but this was perfect as your mini reviews captured the perfect idea of the book in just a few sentences. I'm definitely like you and set myself challenges but once I'm out the habit of reading i find it soooo hard to get back into the habit. Which is so stupid because I love reading. You've motivated me to read Pride and Prejudice and I'm intrigued to hear what you think about Cat on A hot Tin roof. I've only ever read Streetcar named desire but adored the way Williams wrote so might need to start reading some more of his work.

    Imogen xxx
    www.imocdj.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. I honestly think 'cathy cassidy for adults' is a genre in itself! Yee glad you enjoyed it and you've gotta read P&P its so good once you get into it. I've just spent 30 mins reading the most intense scene in Cat on a hot tin roof (you know the kind where you just can't stop reading??). Streetcar is one of my favourite plays, I think Williams is a genius and this one is not disappointing!x

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  7. i'm having cheesy romance book flashbacks now...why?! i need to read Call Me By Your Name asap. good luck with your reading goal, you can do it!
    -M
    sundaysaresunny.com

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    1. sometimes they are just needed! I'm so excited to read it, it came through the post today and I'm thinking...do I delve in now or save it for a long journey I know is ahead?!x

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  8. (woohoo a shout out!) I am so excited to read How To Stop Time, about to pop it in my Amazon basket! Also going to read The Go Between- so weird I was just looking at my reading list and saw that and was like oh yes must buy then you mention it in this post! Okay actually not that weird, a slight coincidence. Either way, I will give it a read soon and I'm excited to read A Streetcar Named Desire as both you and my other friend love Tenesse Williams and gush a lot about it!x
    constantlylibbyblogspot.co.uk

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    1. I'm scared recommending books (esp ones that mean so much to me (e.g. TGB)) because what happens if you don't like them??? but I suppose everything is subjective! YES streetcar/Williams are so so so good lemme know what you think!

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  9. I will definitely read some of these, especiallly How to Stop Time because the book seems like a dream.

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    1. it sure is! looking forward to hearing your thoughts !

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Katie