My Summer reading list

My Summer reading list:

All descriptions from goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/)

 

  • Admissions → Henry Marsh

Following the publication of Do No Harm, Dr. Henry Marsh retired from his position at a hospital in London. But his career continued, taking him to remote hospitals in places such as Nepal and Pakistan, where he offers his services as surgeon and teacher to those in need. Now, Marsh considers the challenges of working in those difficult conditions, alongside the challenges of putting a career of fifty years behind you and finding further purpose in life and work..

  • The Thing Around Your Neck → Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In her most intimate and seamlessly crafted work to date, Adichie turns her penetrating eye on not only Nigeria but America, in twelve dazzling stories that explore the ties that bind men and women, parents and children, Africa and the United States.

  • All about love → Bell Hooks

In eleven concise chapters, hooks explains how our everyday notions of what it means to give and receive love often fail us, and how these ideals are established in early childhood. She offers a rethinking of self-love (without narcissism) that will bring peace and compassion to our personal and professional lives, and asserts the place of love to end struggles between individuals, in communities, and among societies. Moving from the cultural to the intimate, hooks notes the ties between love and loss and challenges the prevailing notion that romantic love is the most important love of all.

  • Desert Solitaire → Edward Abbey

Abbey vividly captures the essence of his life during three seasons as a park ranger in southeastern Utah. This is a rare view of a quest to experience nature in its purest form — the silence, the struggle, the overwhelming beauty. But this is also the gripping, anguished cry of a man of character who challenges the growing exploitation of the wilderness by oil and mining interests, as well as by the tourist industry.

  • The Emperor’s Children → Claire Messud

There is beautiful, sophisticated Marina Thwaite—an “It” girl finishing her first book; the daughter of Murray Thwaite, celebrated intellectual and journalist—and her two closest friends from Brown, Danielle, a quietly appealing television producer, and Julius, a cash-strapped freelance critic. The delicious complications that arise among them become dangerous when Murray’s nephew, Frederick “Bootie” Tubb, an idealistic college dropout determined to make his mark, comes to town. As the skies darken, it is Bootie’s unexpected decisions—and their stunning, heartbreaking outcome—that will change each of their lives forever.

  • The Deptford Trilogy → Robertson Davies

Who killed Boy Staunton?

Around this central mystery is woven a glittering, fantastical, cunningly contrived trilogy of novels. Luring the reader down labyrinthine tunnels of myth, history, and magic, The Deptford Trilogy provides an exhilarating antidote to a world from where “the fear and dread and splendour of wonder have been banished.”

  • The Secret History → Donna Tartt

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.

  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao → Junot Díaz

Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd, a New Jersey romantic who dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the fukú — the ancient curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still dreaming of his first kiss, is only its most recent victim – until the fateful summer that he decides to be its last.

  • The Rachel Papers → Martin Amis

In his uproarious first novel Martin Amis, author of the bestselling London Fields, gave us one of the most noxiously believable — and curiously touching — adolescents ever to sniffle and lust his way through the pages of contemporary fiction. On the brink of twenty, Charles High-way preps desultorily for Oxford, cheerfully loathes his father, and meticulously plots the seduction of a girl named Rachel — a girl who sorely tests the mettle of his cynicism when he finds himself falling in love with her

  • Even Cowgirls Get the Blues → Tom Robbins

Starring Sissy Hanshaw–flawlessly beautiful, almost. A small-town girl with big-time dreams and a quirk to match–hitchhiking her way into your heart, your hopes, and your sleeping bags…Featuring Bonanza Jellybean and the smooth-riding cowgirls of Rubber Rose Ranch. Chink, lascivious guru of yams and yang. Julian, Mohawk by birth; asthmatic esthete and husband by disposition. Dr. Robbins, preventive psychiatrist and reality instructor…

  • Lunar Park → Bret Easton Ellis

Bret Ellis, the narrator of Lunar Park, is a writer whose first novel Less Than Zero catapulted him to international stardom while he was still in college. In the years that followed he found himself adrift in a world of wealth, drugs, and fame, as well as dealing with the unexpected death of his abusive father. After a decade of decadence a chance for salvation arrives; the chance to reconnect with an actress he was once involved with, and their son. But almost immediately his new life is threatened by a freak sequence of events and a bizarre series of murders that all seem to connect to Ellis’s past. His attempts to save his new world from his own demons makes Lunar Park Ellis’s most suspenseful novel.

  • The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton →Anne Sexton

From the joy and anguish of her own experience, Sexton fashioned poems that told truths about the inner lives of men and women. This book comprises Sexton’s ten volumes of verse, including the Pulitzer Prize-winner Live or Die, as well as seven poems from her last years.

  • Ask the Passengers → A.S. King

Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tell her they’re the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions–like what it means that she’s falling in love with a girl.

 

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can’t share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don’t even know she’s there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers’ lives–and her own–for the better.

  • Code Name Verity → Elizabeth Wein

I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine – and I will do anything, anything to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.

 

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France – an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.

  • Shatter Me →Tahereh Mafi

I have a curse

I have a gift

 

I am a monster

I’m more than human

 

My touch is lethal

My touch is power

 

I am their weapon

I will fight back

 

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

 

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

 

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

 

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

 

Everything I never told you

Everything I never told you is a very interesting book, and not at all what I expected. Reading the back I assumed what the storyline would be, it described a dead daughter with a pressuring mum and a father that wanted her to fit in, a brother who blames a boy and a sister who is invisible in the family. I assumed one thing and while reading the story this seemed to occur however the end of the story isn’t as it seems and the characters are very developed making me empathise with each of them in a different way.

I picked up this story as it was on sale but was surprised by how much I enjoyed the story and characters. It’s described as a murder mystery style book about the girl’s death however it’s more of a story about a family and the fact she is dead sets the scene. It is also a really interesting look into how a Chinese man is treated in America especially after marrying an American woman. Set in 1977 it’s interesting to see how times have changed.

I’d recommend the book,just not as a tense murder mystery. It was very slow at times and there wasn’t much mystery but a compelling storyline.

 

Alice…

**trigger warning book contains scenes of rape and sexual violence**

“Alice dreamed of blood. Blood on her hands and under her feet, blood in her mouth and pouring from her eyes. The room was filled with it.”

Everyone’s heard of Alice in Wonderland and there’s been enough reinventions. I thought this as I sat in Waterstones one day to escape the rain, the cover is what first attracted me to the book and i’ll admit i first thought it was called ‘beware the claws that catch Alice’ before i realised it was just Alice (slightly disappointed have to say). I read the back and was intrigued…I took the book off the shelf and continued to wander the store finding many other great books (anyone else make a list on their phone as they wander or just me?) however at the end this book still stuck in my mind….

And for good reason. From the first page I was hooked, the book was such a disturbing version of the tale that the two stories are completely different. Alice and Hatcher start by escaping the hospital they’ve been confined to because they’ve seen things..Alice remembers a rabbit, one that gave her a scar before she escaped. But her parents believe it was her fault for entering the old city and leave her trapped. After escaping the duo go on an adventure around the old city which itself is split into 4 areas, each controlled by a boss: the walrus,the carpenter,the caterpillar and the cheshire. Girls in the city are taken advantage of and Alice and Hatcher fight their way through on their quest to find the rabbit, and deal with the jabberwocky.

As the story continues Alice learns that she’s faced these demons before and so stops running and starts fighting…

Throughout the book Alice and Hatcher’s descriptions aren’t emphasised too much allowing the reader to really imagine the story. I have to warn however that the book can get very graphic and disturbing particularly in the treatment of the girls by the bosses. If you can deal with the details then you will enjoy this book… I’ve included an example below…

“The wings were not attached to her shoulders by straps. The girl’s back had been cut from the top of her shoulder to the bottom of her rib cage on both sides of her spine. The beautiful butterfly wings were neatly sewn into the exposed muscle. As the girl flexed her shoulders, the wings would beat.”

GIRL UP

They told you you need to be thin and beautiful.

They told you to wear longer skirts, avoid going out late at night and move in groups – never accept drinks from a stranger, and wear shoes you can run in more easily than heels.

They told you to wear just enough make-up to look presentable but not enough to be a slut; to dress to flatter your apple, pear, hourglass figure, but not to be too tarty.

They warned you that if you try to be strong, or take control, you’ll be shrill, bossy, a ballbreaker. Of course it’s fine for the boys, but you should know your place.

They told you ‘that’s not for girls’ – ‘take it as a compliment’ – ‘don’t rock the boat’ – ‘that’ll go straight to your hips’.

They told you ‘beauty is on the inside’, but you knew they didn’t really mean it.

Well screw that. I’m here to tell you something else.

Recently I read Laura Bates’ girl up..as a feminist I looked forward to it, instantly drawn in by the cover. I have to say, to me personally girl up reads like a guide for a teenager into feminism and self love. The quote above is slightly deceiving with not much of the book having a screw that attitude. Having read Gala Darling’s ‘Radical Self Love’ I find that many of the books around the topic of feminism repeat each other with varying methods and graphics but the same tone is used…I long to find  a book on feminism that packs a punch and changes my perspective rather than simply reinforcing the same old cliche phrases. However I really did love the graphics and layout of the book… and would recommend it to anyone with a teenage daughter

 

The girl on the train

woman-on-the-train

I’ve just finished reading the girl on the train and although it left me underwhelmed and i could talk about that for ages…but what really stood out to me on a personal level was how much I empathised with Megan..not the whole deep secret husband you don’t love etc.. but in the idea that life may seem perfect but that’s not always the case and the desire to run from things for no reason as a fleeting sensation.

Also my distaste for Rachel, sorry but the way it was written (as someone who doesn’t drink it’s harder for me to empathise) it seemed that her descriptions dragged and her intentions were obsessive for no reason but then that’s the character so i have a love/hate with her and the length of the book. I feel like there’s a difference between building tension and dragging it out… but overall I liked the story and plot twists and definitely the characters.