Saturday, August 02, 2014
For this post I decided to do something a little different. Although I think of my blog as a place to chat about all things fashion, beauty and personal style, I also want it to be somewhere to have a little ramble now and again about my other passions and interests. I have been a "reader" (and a huge dork) since I was a very young child. Literature classes in school were my favourite, and my degree course took a big focus on novels, be it from English or American writers. For those reasons I thought I would do a little post about some of my favourite reads. I'm hoping these suggestions may come in handy for anyone looking for a holiday read, or just wanting to get a little more into reading on the whole. Just as a disclaimer, I don't claim to be a book expert or have a taste that will cater to all, I am just extremely passionate about reading and writing, so wanted to share my thoughts with some of you. So here goes...!
To Kill a Mockingbird: The classic American hero: To say that this book is a classic is an absolute understatement. It is such a strong piece of writing that everyone should try to read in their lifetime. I first read the novel when I was in sixth form, and used it as a basis for one of my A-level Literature pieces of coursework. It spoke to me then and it still does now. It introduced me to America's shameful history of racial injustice, as well as reminding me about the power of a child's imagination and perspective. And is there anybody who doesn't wish that Atticus Finch was real? He was, after all, the man who spoke these rather epic words:
"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... until you climb into his skin and walk around it."
The Fault in our stars: The cliched choice: I know, I know, what a typical, predictable choice. But I really did enjoy this book through my own reading of it rather than just through listening to the hype. John Green has such a way with words and a casual style of writing, I can't wait to read more from him. The Fault in our stars did make me tear up a little, but I also rejoiced in the cute, funny moments of the novel. If you don't know the storyline, (where have you been?!) it follows two teenagers with terminal illnesses who fall in love, and has just been made into a movie (which annoyingly I didn't get to catch whilst it was in cinemas!). The scenes in Amsterdam also struck a personal chord with me, and topped off my enjoyment of a book which I really couldn't put down.
“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
Lolita: The weird one: This is a book to both enjoy and grimace at. Lolita tells the story of Humbert Humbert's fatal attraction and love for 12 year old 'Lolita' (he is in his late thirties). It is such a highly controversial book that it sometimes seems wrong to say you enjoyed reading it. But it is on the whole one of my favourite books. The characters are so interesting and the way it is written compels you to read on even if you don't know whether you should. I first read it at University, and it has been on my bookshelf ever since.
“He broke my heart. You merely broke my life.”
Atonement: The ORIGINAL favourite book: I remember I used to go around telling everyone in my first year of Uni that this was my favourite book. The big confession is that actually I hadn’t ever got past the first half of the book, and loved the film enough to be able to ACT like I had. I wanted to sound clever around all my fellow bookworms so I went for it and told a little fib. It was only when I actually got round to reading the book in its entirety in my second year that I realised actually WOW, this really is my favourite book. The book absolutely trounces the film, especially in its ending. It made me cry real, actual tears; it takes a lot for a book to be able to do this. I will cry at films like nobody’s business, but a book has to really move me in order for it to happen. Let’s also not forget the library scene. If the ending doesn’t do it for you, the library scene will (in an entirely different way…) I so actually (in a way) attribute this book to my acceptance into University. I used a quote from the opening pages as the first line of my personal statement when applying, and it worked out pretty well!
“In a story you only had to wish, you only had to write it down and you could have the world"
The Rosie Project: The Book that saved me from Insomnia: When I was in my second semester of third year, right after my exams, I went a little loopy and just stopped sleeping altogether. Not because I wanted to, just because for some reason I couldn't. It was like a switch had flipped in my brain that I couldn't switch back. I read countless advice websites, books and articles, and decided I needed to set myself a solid bedtime routine. I started to meditate, drink a hot drink before bed, try to calm down more etc etc. But the real thing that saved me was getting up and reading every time I had a bit of a sleepless episode. And the book which accompanied me through the shittiest of times was The Rosie Project. The main character is awkward and socially reclusive and just so so loveable to me. It's such a wonderful, simple story about falling in love and helping one another, and I will always love it for helping to put my sleep pattern back together!
“I asked you here tonight because when you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: The book that reminds me of first year: Anyone who did my course at Uni in Notts will surely remember this book. It was a set text in our first semester of our first year under our 'American Literature 1' module. Still to this day, that was one of my all-time favourite modules. The tutor who ran our seminar was just awesome, and I met my two best course friends whilst studying it. This was our second or third novel we ever studied there, and it was one of my favourites to get through. It's a classic American adventure story, and is the sequel to 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer'. It follows Huck Finn's journey down the Mississippi river, and explores and criticises the awful racial attitudes and offensive language of the time. It is a flawed book, and one that has lots of offensive language in it, so bear this in mind if you consider giving it a read.
"It didn't take me long to make up my mind that these liars warn't no kings nor dukes at all, but just low-down humbugs and frauds. But I never said nothing, never let on; kept it to myself; it's the best way; then you don't have no quarrels, and don't get into no trouble...I learnt that the best way to get along with his kind of people is to let them have their own way."