Saturday, 28 September 2013

September Wrap-Up and October TBR

Wow. This last month has gone so quickly. I've moved in to my new house and have spent the past two and a half weeks living with my housemates. We've gone out a couple of times as returners during freshers week, drunk a tad too much, danced a lot and had sing-along washing-up times. University started last week so I've been attending lots of first lectures and seminars too, as well as beginning to organise the creative writing society. Amongst all that crazyness there hasn't been loads of time for reading, I'm afraid, so this Wrap-up might look a little pathetic. But there you have it!

September Wrap-Up

The first book I read this month I finished in a couple of days when I was on holiday. The Taliban Cricket Club by Timeri N. Murari was incredible. Set in 2000 during the middle-end of the Taliban's reign of Afganistan, the book is based in fact (although the work itself is fiction), and follows the life of a young lady. Rukhsana hates life under the Taliban. They have forced her to give up her job, where a burkha and she cannot leave the house without a male companion. All she and her family want to do is find a way to escape Afganistan and get across the boarder to Pakistan and freedom. When they discover the governments decision to set up a cricket team, Rukhsana believes she has found her cousins way out. Having learnt cricket at university in Delhi, she vows to teach her cousins and help them escape. This book was a fascinating read about the lives of young women under brutal regimes. I was only young during the outbreak of the war in Afganistan and didn't really understand fully the Taliban and its laws. This was an eye-opening read for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 4/5

I also read The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman whilst on holiday. The only other Gaiman book I'd read was Coraline and I hadn't really enjoyed it, but after hearing him on BBC Radio 3's Arts and Idea's podcast I thought I'd give him another go. I enjoyed this book - or rather collection of interconnected short stories which follow the life of a boy growing up in a graveyard - and gave it 3/5.

The final book I read this month was A Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka. This book is a lot more enjoyable than it sounds. From the perspective of one of two feuding sisters, this is a surprisingly light read about family life. The father in this is both funny, infuriating and pitiable, the sisters well balanced and not caricatured, and the 'villian' both contemptible and lamentable. I wouldn't palce it in the top 1001 books you have to read before you die, but it's a nice little read. 3/5

And that, sadly, is it, which means I've read 941 pages this month. Which, it's fair to say, is a little bit disappointing after last months success. I did get halfway through The Life of Pi, however, and if I get the chance to finish that tomorrow or Monday I can add that to the pile!

October TBR

I'm not really sure what to put in this. Most of the book I'll be reading will be university stuff, but fingers crossed I'll get around to reading some other bits and bobs too!

As I said, I plan on finishing Life of Pi by Yann Martell in the next couple of days or so, and hopefully I'll also finish Vagina, a new biography too!!

The first of the novels I'll be reading for uni this month is Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. I have always wanted to read this, and am not really sure what it't about, so hopefully that'll be interesting.

The second novel I'll be reading is Gulliver's Travels  by Johnathan Swift. Again, despite going to Gulliver's Kingdom when I was little, I don't really know what this book is about. 

I think I'll leave it at that to be getting on with. Hopefully I'll get into a bit of a routine and I'll post more frequently again!

Best Wishes


Saturday, 14 September 2013

August Wrap-up and September TBR

Hello, sorry this is coming to you so late but I was away on holiday in the over the end of August and the first week of September, then I've been moving into my new house and saying goodbye to old friends and preparing for uni and yeah. Generally been crazy! But enough of that, let's get down to it!

August Wrap-up

The first book I read in August was Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, and I reviewed it here. Same goes with the second book I read (Divergent by Veronica Roth).

Then I picked up Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. I really liked the concept of this book - the struggle to produce words when letters dissappear is super intersting, particularly as a writer. The world building in this book (which is an epistolary story) is amazing, it doesn't feel like it's being explained just for the reader, which could have been difficult as the author is almost solely speaking to characters which already exist in the world. This said, I never really got involved with the characters - there were too many names flying around with not enough backstory. I gave it 3/5.

This was followed by two books which weren't on my TBR - City of Bones by Cassandra Clare and The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, which I also reviewed here.

Back on piste I read The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith. Following the life of Alex Li-Tandem (an autograph salesman) this story is about his coming to terms with the death of his father and his obsession with the autograph of Kitty Alexander and how these impact his daily life. Whilst this book didn't live up to NW, it was still a really good read and I gave it 4 stars.

Finally, the last book I read in August was The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern. This book was incredible, it managed to skate the line been childish fantasy and young adult novel perfectly. In it, we watch the circus and take part in the lives of the people who work there - particularly the lives of Celia and Marco whose destinies have been preordained since their youth. It is wonderfully written, an easy enough read that anyone with a touch of imagination and the desire to be taken on an adventure would really enjoy. I gave it 4/5.

So that was it! Sorry my wrap-up wasn't as detailed as they have been in the past, but there are 4 full length reviews hidden in those hyperlinks, so it's not as short as it might appear. I did pretty well with my TBR from last time - the only book I didn't read was Vagina, but I wasn't in the mood for non-fiction. Maybe next month, eh? In total I read 2921 pages in the month of August, which I'm very pleased about.

September TBR

I feel a tad cheeky putting two of these on here as I've already read them, but here goes.

The Taliban Cricket Club by Timeri N. Murari. This book is about Rukhsana, a young Afgan women living under the brutal reign of the Taliban in 2000. Partially based in fact, we follow her as she risks her life teaching her cousins cricket in order to help them escape the country she has grown to fear.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Beginning life as a collection of bedtime stories for his daughter, The Graveyard Book features Bod, the boy raised by ghosts, as he grows up and discovered the real reason for his supernatural upbringing.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka. Recently my friend gave me a copy of 1001 books to read before you die, and this was in there so I thought I'd pick it up. Fingers crossed nit's as good as they say!

The rest of these books I'm adding tentatively, as Uni starts on the 23rd and I'll have got a tonne of reading to do for it.

The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler - I've heard so many good things about this book that when I saw it on Amazon Kindle for 99p I had to have it!

White Teeth by Zadie Smith - Loving her at the moment, and when I saw this in a charity shop for a bargin 75p I had to pick it up.

And once again, Vagina, a new biography by Naomi Wolf. Maybe.

Till next time,