Saturday, 8 September 2012

Books I've Read This Summer



So this summer I’ve managed to get through twenty books. There are a lot of books which I haven’t read, and I’m really disappointed that I haven’t had a chance to read them. Hopefully I’ll manage to get those ones read soon, but realistically I have no idea when that will happen. But I wanted to share small, bite-sized reviews with you in regards to what I have been reading this summer. I've linked to previous blogposts which mention or are related to the book I'm talking about.

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The Strange Tale of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson:

I really liked this one. It was an intriguing tale, and although the ending wasn’t exactly a surprise, it was a good little book and a nice short read. A great way to begin my summer reads.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding:

This is something I'd wanted to read for ages, so I’m glad I finally got a chance to this summer. A very strange book, but thought-provoking none the less. I’m re-watching Lost at the moment and I keep finding small, little details which remind me of this.

Children of the Dust by Louise Lawrence:

This disappointed me. It had a great premise, but I didn’t like the execution, and I didn’t like the characters much either. However, this did kick-start my post-apocalyptic reads of the summer.

Pure by Julianna Baggott:

In contrast I loved this! A great concept, fabulous characters and I’m incredibly glad this is the first in a trilogy. A YA dystopia which had everything I could want. 

Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro:

The first thing I’d read by Ishiguro. I absolutely adored it. It definitely grew on me, and I really came to like the protagonist Stephen. An event near the end made me cry. 

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf:

Whilst reading the first part of this book, I wasn’t particularly enthused by it. Sure, it was decent, but it all seemed a bit too normal for my tastes . . . then I got to the second and third part, and my perspective of the book changed. I understood why Woolf had to include the first part, and I’m really looking forward to reading this again with a renewed perspective.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller:

I picked this up on a whim and I’m so glad I did, because it was wonderful. I really enjoyed it, and it was a great read to break up my university required reads too. One day I’d love to read this again!

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks:

This was quite a strange one. I liked the premise, although at times it did get a tad confusing. The ending was completely unexpected, and although I’m not quite sure it fitted, at least it managed to surprise me.

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood:

Ever since I read The Handmaid’s Tale I’d been meaning to read more of Atwood’s work, and I really liked this. It was a great dystopian novel, and a really good read. Atwood has yet to disappoint!

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro:

This is the main book Ishiguro is known for, largely due to the film made based on it. Although I have to say I think I actually prefer Remains of the Day, which is surprising considering how Never Let Me Go is typically my sort of book. Nevertheless, still a great read.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare:

I’ve been meaning to read this for years, ever since I was cast in my school’s production of it which I eventually dropped out of. I was meant to be Bottom, and I was actually quite sad to find that Bottom played a relatively big part! On retrospect, I should have stayed in the production.

The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan:

I liked this. It was different from the sort of thing I usually read, being a bit of a mystery novel, but I liked Hannay’s adventure and it had a decent plot. The film version is completely different for some strange reason.

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare:

I may not have read this purely to understand the Mean Girls reference but that was definitely a benefit. A good play, and another good work by Shakespeare. Since he’s basically the god of literature, I suppose that was to be expected.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle:

This surprised me by how good it was. I was expecting it to be really boring and a bit rubbish, but I really enjoyed this. I liked the little mini mysteries, the narration by Dr Watson and the enigmatic character of Holmes. I would definitely read more Sherlock Holmes after this.


Without a doubt the strangest book I’ve ever read in my entire life. This boggled my mind from start to finish. Calvino is without a doubt much, much smarter than me, and I admire the challenge he created in writing this. A great premise, even if it proved hard to understand at several points.

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells:

The first work by Wells I’ve ever read, and again it was a nice, short read for summer. I liked the storyline, and it certainly presented the strangest futuristic image I’ve ever seen. Since Wells predicted a lot of other future events, I’m really hoping his vision in The Time Machine doesn’t come true, even if I’ll be long gone by that time.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess:

I’m so glad this was recommended to me. I was worried the rape and violence would bother me, but it didn’t and it didn’t feature as much as I expected. I was very surprised to see the sudden, Nineteen Eighty-Four-ish twist to events, and I really loved the plot. A great read.

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys:

I’m ridiculously grateful that this wasn’t anything like Jane Eyre, even if it gets its roots from Charlotte Bronte’s story. A great read, and I’m glad I get to study it this year at university.

Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane:

This kept reminding me of Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. Even if the time periods are completely different – Red Badge of Courage is about the American Civil War whilst Birdsong is about WW1 – the feel of war and the thoughts of the protagonists were similar. I guess it goes to show it doesn’t matter when or where war happens – its impact and devastation are still the same. 

A Sentimental Journey by Lawrence Sterne:

Not too taken with this honestly. I read it for my university course, and I’m glad it’s not on the syllabus this year as I found it a bit convoluted and dull at times. It doesn’t help that it’s not exactly a modern book either.

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So that concludes my mini-reviews. I hope you’ve taken some book recommendations out of them, or maybe decided to steer clear of some. I really hope I get around to the other books I wanted to read, and if I do, I’m sure you’ll be hearing about them in the future too.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing :) There are a lot of books on that list that I would love to read someday, I'm so behind on my classics.

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    1. I'm glad you liked it! I'm exactly the same; there are so many books I want to read and never enough time to actually read them!

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