Happy weekend everyone!
Today I am sharing some of the books I have been loving recently, a mixture of fiction, a couple of classics, and even a couple of poetry books! So grab a coffee, you may well find your next favourite book…
The Keeper of Lost Things- Ruth Hogan
“the wonderful thing about books was that they were films that played inside your head.”
Anthony Peardew has been collecting items he finds that people have misplaced, in the hope to help and heal the people who have lost something. This all started after Anthony sadly lost his wife. When Anthony passes on, he leaves this task of returning the lost things to his house keeper Laura, who is not having an easy time with life either. The book uses a dual narrative, as well as this story, there is also the secondary story set in the 70’s with the characters Eunice and Bomber. Eunice, working for Bomber in the publishing industry, has a romantic love which can never be returned. How the two narratives are connected becomes clear throughout. The book entails some moving stories of ‘lost things’, the people who become a part of this journey, but also beautiful theme of how there is always more to be found. An incredibly moving debut novel from Ruth Hogan.
Not only was the book deeply moving in parts, but a great balance is created through the fact that the book is also incredibly funny, not many books have ever made me physically laugh out loud! My Auntie, my Mum, and I, all read this in turn on our recent holiday to France, and hearing the occasional fit of laughter from who ever was currently reading the book made it clear that the humour is achieved very well. Sunshine, a nineteen year old girl with Down Syndrome, who befriends the character’s is potentially the most hilarious character I have across from any book. I won’t spoil some of her winning lines but they are remarkable!
Little Women- Louisa May Alcott
“Be comforted, dear soul! There is always light behind the clouds.” Little Women is one of my Granny’s favourite books. Whilst spending Christmas with her, she told me how she read it over and over when she was a similar age to me, so I thought I should put it on my list of books to read. This was such a lovely and heart warming read. I feel with some classics, they can take a lot of concentration to read (maybe this is just me!), but this one was extremely enjoyable. Set in the idyllic town of Plumfield, during the civil war in New England, the enjoyable tales of the four sisters in the March family still feel relatable to aspects of family life and growing up to this day, even if it is a little different in this modern age.
The lessons the girls learn and problems they face are still relevant today. Reading how their ambitions grow and their character’s develop as they grow up is both rewarding and fascinating, reading almost makes you feel like you are an extra member of the family. You will empathise with Jo and how she struggles to control her anger and her driving ambition to become a published writer, and smile at Meg’s ever kind nature. Watch Amy learn that there is more to life than physical beauty, and admire Beth’s musical talent and warm personality. I think many people will see even just a small part of themselves in all of the March sisters.
A Thousand Splendid Suns- Khaled Hosseini
“A society has no chance of success if its women are uneducated…”
After reading the Kite Runner last summer, a very moving book, I made it a priority to read some more of Hosseini’s work. A Thousand Splendid Suns was perhaps even more moving. Possibly because this one focuses more on following the journey of two young women.
The book is set in the conflicted capital of Afghanistan, Kabul which is under the authority of the Taliban. The book begins by following the story of Mariam, who at fifteen years old is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed, a significantly older man who she has never even laid eyes on before. Nearly 20 years later, Mariam befriends a young woman named Laila, who has yet another story of how her life has been thrown in to pieces by the Taliban rule, this is what brings the two women together. The story follows the hardships of living in this oppressed and dangerous environment, but also demonstrates how it brings out the kindness and brave nature in the right people.
Books like these are extremely important to read, because stories like Laila and Mariam’s are going on today, right now. Despite it being fiction, having an insight in to how survival alone is a struggle in other parts of the world make me realise how grateful I am to live in a safe environment, where as a young woman I am able to get an education and feel safe in my home and the streets that surround me. If you read one book from this post, please let it be this one, an incredible read.
“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.”
The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald
“They’re a rotten crowd’, I shouted across the lawn. ‘You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.”
This is probably quite a cliché pick for an English student! I studied this for two years during my A Levels and decided to re-read it so I could purely enjoy it, and not have to study every word I was reading!
This is a very short novel if you need something quick to read. The story follows the narrator Nick Carraway as he is gradually entwined into the lives of some of the richest and most complex characters of 1920’s Long Island in New York. Nick finds him self living next door to the mysterious Gatsby, a millionaire who throws hugely extravagant parties for crowds of people but is rarely seen enjoying them. Just across the bay, lives Nick’s cousin Daisy Buchanan and her arrogant husband Tom Buchanan. Through the perhaps initially nieve eyes of Nick, we learn of the complicated love between Gatsby and Daisy, mixed with the scandals of the elite, and the mask of the riches and pleasures of the jazz age. For such a short novel, Fitzgerald creates such an interesting and dramatic plot. The scenes of 1920’s New York and Gatsby’s lavish parties are extremely vivid and beautifully described, there are some beautiful quotes in the book.
I have now started another Fitzgerald book; ‘Tender is the Night’ so we’ll see of it lives up to Gatsby!
Milk and Honey, and The Sun and her Flowers- Rupi Kaur
I read each one of these within the day that I bought them! Previously to this, I had appreciated poetry, but apart from studying poetry in GCSE and A Level English, which consisted of Shakespeare and John Donne’s work, I did not used to read it outside of my studies.
But I think for many people who have read these, Rupi Kaur has changed the game when it comes to poetry. Many people think of poems as old fashioned, very long, and perhaps not topics that are relatable, but these books could not be further from that. I read Milk and Honey first, the book is split in to four chapters; the hurting, the loving, the breaking, and the healing. Every poem is beautifully written, the topics and emotions that are covered throughout would resonate with anyone who reads this, some of them made me have tears in my eyes because they were so powerful and raw.
The Sun and her Flowers was equally as brilliant. Each of the chapters are titled from the life cycle of a flower; Wilting, Falling, Rooting, Rising, and Blooming. This again covers a huge range of emotions, from pain, heartbreak, womanhood, sexuality, strength and love. There is also some illustrations incorporated throughout, making the art of the books even more vivid.
Thanks for reading, hope you are having a fab day where ever you are!
Let me know if you have read any excellent books recently?!