Now Reading: Maria Àngels Anglada – The Auschwitz Violin

I got a few books for Christmas this year:

  • The Auschwitz Violin by Maria Àngels Anglada
  • Room by Emma Donaghue
  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  • The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  • The Lily Bard series by Charlaine Harris

photo-11It was a tough choice to decide which to read first, so I’ve decided to read them in the order I opened them. First up is The Auschwitz Violin by Maria Àngels Anglada, which Cameron bought for me. I love reading books about the war; two of my favourite books are World War Two (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Diary of Anne Frank). I’ve got two days off, then it’s back to work for 3 days and then a 3 day weekend, so I’ve got plenty of time to get through a couple of books.

Now it’s time to take a look at the January Sale email from The Book People. I had the catalogue through the door a couple of days ago, and there were some really good deals in there.

I think someone needs to confiscate my credit card…

Now Reading: Alexandra Potter – Be Careful What You Wish For

photo-9The last book I read was typical chick lit – totally predictable with a little twist in the middle, but great all the same – just what I would expect from Belinda Jones. I’ve read a lot of books recently that are a bit different from my normal style, so it was nice to get back to something a little bit easier to read for a change.

And I’m carrying that on with the next book I’m reading – Be Careful What You Wish For by Alexandra Potter. I actually started it yesterday and I recognised the first 10 or so pages, so I think it must  be one of the books I’ve started in the past that I just didn’t get into and left for later. I’ve got a bit further now though and it seems quite good so far. After this I think I’m going to give Anna Karenina a try, so this will be a nice laid-back book beforehand. Although saying that, I had a lot of books on my Christmas list, so if Santa is nice to me, I may have a lot of books jumping to the top of my reading list!

Now Reading: Belinda Jones – The Paradise Room

photo-8I really loved the last book I read (Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck), I can’t believe that I’ve never read it until now! I loved the relationship between George and Lennie, so the ending of the book really shocked me. I don’t want to say too much in case you want to read it yourself, but I had pictured a few ways which this book could end, and I was way off with all of them! It was a short book which I just couldn’t put down once I started – if you’ve not read it, you really should!

My next book is The Paradise Room by Belinda Jones. It’s a book I’ve had for a while, but definitely a trashy book compared to my last few books. It probably won’t take me too long to read, especially if it’s anything like the other Belinda Jones books I’ve read. I really like her style of writing and always find it hard to put her books down once I’ve started. Perfect reading for after I’ve been dragged around the shops by my sister on my day off work tomorrow 🙂

Now Reading: John Steinbeck – Of Mice and Men

john-steinbeck-of-mice-and-menSo the last book I read  (A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian) was only a little bit about tractors, but I really enjoyed it! A few people had told me that it was a really funny book, but I also found parts of it to be really sad. I loved the character of the Dad, both stubborn but also charming and helpless. The end of the book was totally not what I expected to happen, but I prefer how it ended to how I would have written it. I guess that’s why I’m not an author! I learnt quite a lot about Ukrainian history while reading the book, although these parts were some of the saddest parts, because you know that they are true. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone thinking of reading it, don’t be put off by the title.

My next book is Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. For GCSE English at school, there were two sets of students. One who studied a set text of a series of short stories, and one who read Of Mice and Men. Unfortunately, I was in the set who had to read the short stories over and over again, so I never got to read this book.  It’s only about 100 pages long, so shouldn’t take too long to read, but the thing I hate about short books is I usually get too involved and then they leave me wanting more. I suppose this should be considered a good thing though…

Now Reading: Marina Lewycka – A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

photo-61The last book I read (Eve Green by Susan Fletcher) was really good. It took me a while to get into it, but once it had grabbed my attention I found myself desperate to find out what happened next. When I’m reading I often guess (or try to guess) what will happen next, and I did this often during this book, but I was wrong every time. Most of the books I read are quite predictable, so I really enjoy books that surprise me, and this one definitely did just that!

The book was the winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award, and I can see why. Fletcher perfectly captured the thoughts and feelings of Eve Green, the woman recalling her past, and of Evie Green, the eight year old version of Eve who travels through tragedy, grief, mystery and unlikely friendships towards love, happiness and some sort of understanding.

The next book I am reading has been on my shelf for a while, and the title keeps catching my eye. As with most of my books, it’s part of a set from The Book People, so I don’t really  have any idea what it is about, although I’m guessing (and hoping) that it’s not actually about tractors. We’ll see…

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.

It’s not often I say this but…

the-help-poster-1I went to see The Help today and it was as good as the book. I read the book earlier this year, before I found out it was going to be released as a film. It was a great book, even made me cry in places. I managed to avoid the tears in the film though, although not sure Cameron did! 😛

If you’ve not read the book, it’s about the civil rights movement in America in the 1960’s. Set in Jackson, Mississippi, it’s about an aspiring journalist (Emma Stone) who decides to write a book about the hardships experienced by the black maids employed by well-off white families, including her own.

the-help-movieFor me, it was quite hard to believe that it was only 50 years ago that these situations actually happened, the idea of building separate toilets for ‘coloureds’ to use is mind boggling, never mind the idea of labelling them ‘coloureds’. It’s a great film about the courage of those involved in the civil rights movement, the world would have been a very different place without them!

The acting in the film was amazing – Emma Stone played a brilliant Skeeter, and Viola Davies as Aibileen was simply the-help-actresseswonderful! And best of all, unlike the last book to film adaptation I saw, the accents were spot on! It did surprise me how different Viola Davies looked out of character when I found this picture, she looks a lot younger than I thought she was – another testament to her acting!

If you’re interested in seeing the film, check out the trailer:

Now Reading: Nicholas Sparks – The Choice

photo-2So I gave up on the last book I was reading (The Beautiful and Damned). I was really looking forward to reading it, but I had a hard time getting into it and there’s nothing worse than reading a book that you’re not enjoying (ask my dad – he stuck it out through 1,232 pages of Les Miserables). I’ll definitely try it again later, hopefully when I’m in the right mindset to read it.

My next book is The Choice by Nicholas Sparks. I’ve read a few of his books, I find them really easy to read, and they always pull me right in. I just ordered a couple from Amazon, so they’ll give me a nice break from my attempt at the last book.

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.