I was lucky to be given an excellent selection of books for Christmas and my birthday and have been steadily working my way through them. I say lucky, it was probably something to do with me telling everyone I know that ‘you can never have too many books!’
By coincidence (or by the fact they know me very well) most of the books I got from friends and family were memoirs of interesting women – and that’s all I’ve read so far this year. These women have all had vastly different lives to mine and yet in each book I related to certain parts so strongly I felt like I was reading about myself. I enjoyed them all and each one had me thinking about my own life and feeling lots of feelings.
Inspired by this post on Vivatramp, and in turn by this video by Vanessa at chboskyy, I thought I’d share a bit about my taste in books. So here are the things that will make me pick up a book without fail. I’d love to hear your lists too, or any recommendations you might have!
- Stories about siblings
- Coming-of-age tales
- Teen novels – or anything about high-schoolers trying to figure out life
- Mysterious goings-on and sinister twists (but not so much murder mysteries)
- Dysfunctional families
- Sad, thoughtful stories that make me cry
- Messed-up characters (particularly if they’re female)
- Plots that consider mental health
- Character-based narratives
- Magical realism
- ‘Hysterical’ women
- Characters figuring out relationships
- Narratives of identity
- Dark and stormy settings
- Eerie, unsettling worlds
- Alternate realities
Landline by Rainbow Rowell – I devoured Eleanor and Park, Attachments and Fangirl, so I was excited to pick up another rainbow Rowell book. Unfortunately I didn’t love it quite as much as the others, something about the story just didn’t quite speak to me in the same way as her other books have. Still, I love the way she writes so it was an enjoyable read.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler – I love this so far, I haven’t been so absorbed by a book for a while. I didn’t know anything about the book or the author so I had no idea what to expect when I picked it up. This also meant I didn’t see the twist coming at all, which turned it into a completely different book than I’d been anticipating. I’m really enjoying getting into Rosemary’s mind, while it’s a very different story she reminds me a lot of Lee from Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep, one of my favourite books. And the way it unraveled sibling love and jealousy is realistic and familiar, despite being so far removed from the norm. With just a few chapters left I’ve got that feeling of waning to know how it ends without having to actually stop reading it when I finish…
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje – I was gifted Ondaatje’s In The Skin of a Lion a couple of years ago and it was one of those books that took a while to get into but once I did I thought it was brilliant. A couple of chapters into The English Patient, which is in part a sequel to ITSOAL, and I feel much the same. It’s beautifully written and each sentence feels perfectly crafted and practically sing off the page, so that I want to hang onto every word. And yet, I’m struggling to get into it. I mostly read on the tube and some books are just not suited to reading in short distracting bursts. It might be one that I save for a Christmas break when I can dedicate some lazy sofa days to it.