Recommendations || What I’ve Been Reading Recently

I didn’t achieve my Goodreads Goal for 2016. It turns out that 75 books was far too lofty a target. I blame it on being busy with wedding planning and moving, so I’ve set the same goal for 2017 so let’s see if I’ll hit my target this year!  

So here’s what I’ve been reading recently  since my last update

Wide Sargasso Sea (Penguin Modern Classics) by Jean Rhys  

This slim novella is extremely famous and it looks into the life of the “Jane Eyre” madwoman in the attic. It’s the tale of Rochester’s first wife and paints him in an entirely unpleasant palette. Its themes are inherently about the power struggle between men and women and post-colonialism (and colonialism) but I just didn’t find it particularly readable. Clever though.  3/5 

The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan 

Woof. This is the one I was most hesitant to write about. Marina Keegan’s life story is tragic – she passed away shortly after her university graduation and this collection of stories was publish posthumously. Would it have been published at all if she was alive and sending them out to publishing houses? I truly don’t think so. She’s called the voice of a generation, and she very well had the potential to be a great writer. It’s tragic that she didn’t have the opportunity to follow that path, but I found the stories here thin and unimaginative. 2/5

The Bloody Chamber And Other Stories by Angela Carter 

Carter’s stories are traditional gothic fairytales reworked with a modern feminist slant on each. (Some of them were surprisingly sexual, but not once you imagined the root origin of most fairy tales.) I found her take on Bluebeard particularly enjoyable. 3/5 

Alice (Chronicles of Alice 1) by Christina Henry

I’m not even entirely sure how to describe this novel: a trippy, dystopian, steampunk take on Alice on Wonderland? Regardless, it wasn’t successful. I found it gross and frankly embarrassing. Rape as a narrative device is done to death and I’m done with it. 2/5 

Fellside by MR Carey

A slight genre venture away from my usual reads – this is set in a women’s penitentiary on the Yorkshire Moors and focuses on a drug addict who accidentally set her flat on fire resulting in the death of a boy who lived in a neighbouring flat. (Then she starts getting haunted by a ghost – you can see why I picked it now, right?). It’s the same author as “The Girl With All the Gifts” which is next on my list to read. 4/5

Nos4a2 by Joe Hill 

Stephen King’s son is back again for another novel. This one focuses on a child abductor obsessed with Christmas and a mom who will go to hell and back to rescue her kid (and herself). The story is pretty cut and dry with few twists and surprises. (It’s also pretty darn gory so maybe not for the faint of heart.) 3/5

The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin 

This novel centers around reincarnation in children and the families that it can bring together. I really enjoyed reading it, but in retrospect I can’t remember many details or why I enjoyed it. Which I think is the perfect description of this novel. It’s “nice” without being groundbreaking. 4/5

The Hidden People by Allison Littlewood 

I picked this book off the “recommended” shelf the first time I went into the York public library for one reason: it was about a man chasing myths leaving his Crystal Palace home for Yorkshire and I had also just moved from Crystal Palace to Yorkshire. There the similarities ended. It centres around the rural belief of changelings and fairies. About halfway through I started to tire of the plot and wish that the changelings and fairies were real. 3/5

The Oversight (Oversight Trilogy) by Charlie Fletcher 

A typical Amanda read. The Oversight is set in Victorian London and it’s about the secret society that protects the normal people of England from terrifying magical creatures that they don’t know exist. We join the society at their weakest point, where the collapse of the Oversight might be on the horizon and then who knows what will run amok in England? Thoroughly enjoyable.  4/5

Blindness (Vintage Classics) by Jose Saramago 

People say that you either like Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” or you like Saramago’s “Blindness” and I hated “The Road” 4/5

Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange by Ines de la Fressange 

It’s cotton candy lit. Beautiful with no substance (but I knew that when picking it up.) I wish there was more on fashion. A good chunk of the book is dedicated to place to eat and stay in Paris which is only helpful if you are planning a trip to Paris. 2/5

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Maria Kondo

Some of the things Kondo says sound crazy, but in general, I can really get on board with her philosophy of minimalism and only owning things that truly make you happy. 3/5

The Paradox: An Oversight Novel (Oversight Trilogy) by Charlie Fletcher 

The second novel in the “Oversight” series. It’s not quite as good as the first, and you get the feeling that it’s mostly a set up for the third, but it’s still an enjoyable read. 3/5 

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

After declaring “Eat, Pray, Love” as one of the worst, most self-centred, poor white woman books of all time, I gave Gilbert another chance to redeem her smug ways in “Committed”. She failed again. I gave her one more chance because every freelancer out there has proclaimed “Big Magic” as life-changing. It wasn’t. But it was a nice exploration of living creatively and I think I was able to stomach it for once because Gilbert finally deigned to talk about something other than her blessed life. 3/5

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard 

The sequel to “Red Queen” which I read and loved last year. And in fact, I think this was one of the few instances where I’ve actually liked the second book in the series more than the first. I’m so excited to see what the 3rd novel brings in 2017! 4/5

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West 

“Shrill” was probably one of my favourite reads of the year. Right up there with “How to Be A Heroine”. I just loved every bit of it. I found it hysterical, and I set multiple chunks aside to read aloud to Sam. (I hardly ever do that.) I honestly think that everyone should read it. 5/5

Whitefern by Virginia Andrews 

The second “Audrina” novel. However, I should have done a bit more research before nabbing this one at the library. Since Andrews death, there’s been a ghostwriter using the name and characters (a la Keene and the Nancy Drew series) and the ghostwriter…. just isn’t very good. 2/5

The Mirror Sisters by Virginia Andrews
I picked this one up at the library at the same time that I nabbed “Whitefern”. This is definitely one of the better ghostwritten Andrews novels. It doesn’t have your classic gothic setting, but it still exudes a low-level menace and sense of dread. The atmosphere is great, but the dialogue is disappointing. It’s so stilted and forced, definitely a bit of a slog. It ends on a cliffhanger and I’ll be picked up part 2 in the spring to see where the story goes. 3/5 

What have you been reading lately? Do you have anything wonderful to recommend to me?

I’m trying to stock up on books to take on the honeymoon. On a normal flight to New Mexico, I can get 3ish done, so I need a true stockpile for Thailand! 

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