Now Reading: Susan Fletcher – Eve Green

The last book that I read (Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín) was one of the best books I have read in a long time.

(Spoiler alert – don’t read the next paragraph if you plan on reading this book)

It was set in the 1950s, and focused on a young Irish girl named Eilis, who is persuaded to move to Brooklyn by her older sister Rose. She struggles with settling in, but eventually meets a guy (Tony) she really likes. She is then shocked with the news that her older sister has died, and her mother wants her to return to Ireland. She makes plans to return home for a month, but marries Tony before she leaves. He loves her, but  isn’t convinced she would be able to leave her mother in Ireland if she had no permanent tie to Brooklyn. When she gets back to Ireland, her mother and friends have started making plans for her to stay, getting her a job and setting her up with a guy. She doesn’t tell them about Tony, and is almost tempted to stay and just write a letter to Tony asking for a divorce. In the end though, she makes the right decision and returns to Brooklyn and to her new life with Tony.

The book drew me right in, and I felt myself wishing Eilis to make the right decisions. I love books that make me feel involved, and this one definitely did. When I turned the last page, I really wished there were a couple more chapters, but I think Tóibín left it in the right place. This quote from the description of the book on Amazon hits the nail right on the head:

Brooklyn is a tender story of great love and loss, and of the heartbreaking choice between personal freedom and duty. In the character of Eilis Lacey Colm Tóibín has created a remarkable heroine and in Brooklyn a novel of devastating emotional power.

photo-4It took me a while to decide what book to read next (I’ve too many on my shelf to choose from), but I finally settled on Eve Green by Susan Fletcher. I’ve no idea really what it will be like, but the quote from The Observer on the back says ‘An exceptional debut of grace and subtlety’, and the book was the winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award. Quite a lot to live up to, but we’ll see how it goes. I did originally want to read Anna Karenina next, but it’s 848 pages long, and I wasn’t quite in the mood for something so in depth. I think I may read it over Christmas when I’ve got more time for reading.

Now Reading: Colm Tóibín – Brooklyn

photo-3I LOVED the last book I read, typical Nicholas Sparks really. At first I thought the book was going to be really predictable, man falls in love with woman, woman already has a boyfriend, she has to make a choice, blah blah blah. Then at the end of a chapter, I turned the page to an insert page which said ‘Part Two’. The story had skipped forward 11 years and she was in a coma. I did NOT expect that to happen and wasn’t sure where the book was going to go. In the end, it was still predictable, but that’s kinda what I like about Nicholas Sparks, the books are so ‘feel-good’ that they are easy and enjoyable to read.

My next book is Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín. I bought it from Amazon for about £2, and apparently it was the winner of the 2009 Costa Novel Award. I’ve never heard of the book before, but it jumped out at me when I was trying to decide what to buy, so I’m glad to finally start reading it.

Now Reading: F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Beautiful and Damned

I’ve just finished reading Moneyball by Michael Lewis. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’d been told by a lot of people on Twitter that I should read it, and I did really enjoy it. I was worried that there were going to be too many statistics which would make it hard to read, but I found it really informative – any statistics mentioned were clearly explained. I felt compelled to keep reading as I really wanted to know what was going to happen next. The book all took place a few years before I started watching baseball and I had no idea how the season ended, so it was really surprising what Billy Beane achieved with such a small payroll and a willingness to try a new idea.  I’ve just found out the film is out in the UK on 25th November – I’ll definitely be in line to see it.

the-beautiful-and-damnedThe next book I’m reading is The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I recently bought a set of three books from The Book People (The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night). I read The Great Gatsby a couple of years ago and I really enjoyed it, so I’m hoping that I enjoy this one as much. I’m a terrible one for judging books by their covers (especially if I’m in the local charity shop stood in front of a shelf of books for 25p each and trying to decide which ones to buy), but I do really like the covers that they have put on these books, they look very stylish and 1920’s-esque, perfect for these stories.

Now Reading: Michael Lewis – Moneyball

I finally finished reading Jane Eyre last night. I’ve not had much time for reading lately so it’s taken me a while! Too long for me to go see the film adaptation at the cinema I think, so I guess I’ll have to wait for the DVD to come out. The book was superb, a true love story with tragedy, heartbreak, and of course a happy ending (eventually). Whenever I though the story was starting to go a bit slow, boom – another twist! I really wish I had read this one last year when I first got it, as I really really enjoyed it.

20111015-142302The next book I’ve got is Moneyball by Michael Lewis. I’ve had people on Twitter telling me that I should read it for the last year or so, and I finally decided that I would buy it from Amazon. I’m looking forward to what I hope will be a good baseball book. There has been a film adaptation out recently in America, but I would guess that it probably won’t come out in the UK, can’t see many people being interested in a film about baseball. The only reason I could think of would be that it has Brad Pitt in it, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Now Reading: Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre

Jon Richardson’s book was just as I expected, honest, a little grumpy and completely hilarious. The book was pretty much just a stream of consciousness, and there were a lot of times reading the book that I found myself nodding in agreement with what he was saying. It was a lot like his stand-up or the radio show he used to do but a lot more frank – it’s refreshing that he’s not embarrassed to just tell it like it is.

The next book I’m reading is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I was bought it for Christmas last year, but it’s never worked it’s way to the top of the pile. Last time I was at the cinema I saw an advert for the new film adaptation, so I decided now was as good a time as any to read it. I probably won’t go to the cinema to see it (too expensive nowadays!), but it will be good to have read the book before it comes out on DVD.

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Now Reading: Jon Richardson – It’s Not Me, It’s You

We Were The Mulvaneys was definitely not one of the best books that I have read recently. The story was good, focusing on the falling apart (and eventual putting back together) of a American family following the events of one night. It just took a long time to get going, and didn’t really capture my attention fully until around 250 pages in (out of about 450 in total). There was a lot of description involved in setting up the story, which meant that I found it hard to get ‘involved’, or to feel ‘attached’ to the characters, like I tend to do in my favourite books.

The next book I am reading is by my favourite comedian, Jon Richardson. When I first started work, he did a Sunday morning radio show with Russell Howard, and I used to listen to the podcasts on my way to work. They used to talk about such random things, but made me laugh so much that I’m sure I got strange looks from everyone else on the bus. I didn’t know he  had a book out until I saw on Twitter that he was doing a book signing,  so I was straight on Amazon to buy it. It looks like it’s going to be a funny book, about his OCD and how it makes it hard for him to find a ‘significantly tidy other‘. As he describes on the back of the book, it is ‘an essential guide to what you do wrong and why it irritates him so much‘.

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Now Reading: Joyce Carol Oates – We Were the Mulvaneys

I was a bit unsure about what to expect from my last book (The Postman Always Rings Twice). The blurb said that it was originally banned in Boston when it was released in the 1930s because it was too erotic and violent. I think I’ve been desensitised by modern films as I didn’t find it too bad. It was violent, but I’ve definitely read worse. The story itself was very interesting, I was just disappointed the book was only 116 pages long!

I got home from work today to my latest parcel from The Book People. This time I bought a couple of sets, including one set of 10 books for £4.50, which is where my next book comes from. Not a clue what to expect from it, but I’m just glad it’s a longer book than the last two, so it doesn’t end just as I’m getting in to it!

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Now Reading: James M. Cain – The Postman Always Rings Twice

The book I just finished was rather strange, but I quite enjoyed it. It was a collection of short stories written in the 1300s, some a bit stranger than others (The Eaten Heart was the weirdest).

My next book, The Postman Always Rings Twice, is part of my ‘successfully made into films’ set. I’ve never watched the film, and although I’ve heard of the book in the past, I don’t really know what it is about, so it should be interesting.

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Now Reading: Giovanni Boccaccio – The Eaten Heart: Unlikely Tales of Love

I really enjoyed the last book I read (One Day by David Nicholls). The book was set on the same day every year for 20 years, and it was pretty cool that the day just happened to be my birthday (St Swithin’s Day). The ending of the book was a complete surprise (I won’t say why in case I spoil it for you), but it was definitely unexpected. I’m looking forward to the film coming out in the cinema, although I’m 99.9% sure that it won’t live up to the book. I’ll be adding Nicholls’ other books on to my wish list, although for now I think I should read some more of the books I already have!

Which brings me on to the next book. I bought a set called ‘Great Loves‘ from The Book People quite a while ago, and I’ve only read the first 5 books from the set, so I’m going to make another start at it. Penguin describes the books as:

“a tribute to the power of love in all its guises, romantic and passionate, deviant and doomed “

The books I have read so far have been good, not the type of books I usually read, but I think that’s a good thing!

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Now Reading: David Nicholls – One Day

First of all, it seems like forever since I started reading the last book, because I haven’t had much time for reading the last few weeks. But even though it’s taken me a while, I loved the book. I always expect auto-biographies to be a bit fake and fluffy, but David Wells definitely wasn’t pulling any punches. Brutally honest about himself, but also about anyone else he didn’t like (I think the Blue Jays took the brunt of most of it). I was surprised that he wrote the book while he was still playing, there was a lot of the book that I would have thought could make him pretty unpopular in the club house. Regardless, I learnt a lot about him from reading the book, and he seems like a genuinely nice guy – I think I had the wrong picture of him before I started reading.

My next book is one that is coming out in the cinema really soon. I saw the trailer for it when I saw Bridesmaids (funniest film of the year), and it looked like a great film (Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess). The trailer for the film said that it was based on a best-selling book, and I always like to read the book before I watch the film (mostly because the films never live up to the book, so I prefer to get the true story first), so when I saw the book at Asda on the 3 for £10 offer, I couldn’t really resist!

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