Thursday, 22 May 2014

Just Some Books I Enjoy

I've mentioned in previous posts that I'm an English Literature student so one might assume I enjoy reading.

Good assumption, you.

So, after reading many of my friend Alice's lists on her blog, I thought it might be nice to list some books I really enjoy, won't that be fun!? Before I start I'd like to say I'm omitting book series, not because I don't enjoy them, but because I believe they're so subjective and not all books in a series are that good, let's be real. That being said I'd like to mention both the Harry Potter and Alex Rider series because they're great.

I'd also like to say that I like these books, you might not, you don't have to read them but I highly suggest you do (because I'm bias).

Right, let us begin, in no particular order:

  • Alices's Adventures is Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll
I'd say we all know the story of Alice, everyone except my flat mate who, at 20, has never even seen any of the film adaptations - don't worry, I was shocked too. So, for those of you in my flatmate's situation, Alice's story follows her journey through the magical world down the rabbit hole after she follows the anthropomorphised, eager-to-be-on-time White Rabbit. She deals with a topsy-turvy world filled with odd happenings and larger-than-life creatures and characters, learning a couple lessons along the way. This book genuinely delivers a whole new meaning when read as a semi-adult. Also, it's a really easy read so you wont be spending too much time on it.

  • Stuart: A Life Backwards - Alexander Masters
I first read this biography as part of my A Level English course, this definitely didn't take away from the books potent meaning and touching story however. Masters writes the story of his friend Stuart Shorter in the most interesting way, starting at the end (chapter 0) we find out Stuart sadly died and we work backwards from there, to his beginning. This final version is a complete re-write of the first manuscript presented to Stuart and Masters includes interjections of the writing process with Stuart amongst the episodes of his sad and troubled past. The book gives an incredible insight into the lives of convicts and drug addicts and helps to develop an understanding of how people end up in such awful situations. I will say there are potential triggers of substance abuse, self-harm and rape in the book so maybe one to avoid for some.

  • The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared - Jonas Jonasson

I love this story. Love it. There's a real Forest Gump-esque vibe as you follow the incredible life of centurion Allan Karlsson as he sets off on a new adventure on his hundredth birthday. You learn of Allan's involvement in major historical events and how it all comes to play during the present. I love how Jonasson captures the essence of even the most unlikely people having incredible pasts, so many of us forget that the elderly weren't always the elderly - which is pretty strange. Also, the book was originally written in Swedish and it's interesting to read a book that has such strong ties to a non-english speaking country, idk.

  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer
A heart-breaking tale that follows 9-year-old Oskar, who lost his dad in 9/11, as he searches New York for the origins of a key that once belonged to his dad. There is a separate narrative that eventually merges with the main plot, following a 'love' story that started years before the events of the book. The book so cleverly explores the mental illnesses that grief causes and how differently everyone copes with death, especially after tragic accidents.

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
Made popular by the film (that I enjoyed despite thinking it didn't completely honour the book but oh well, it's all subjective) the book follows 'Charlie' during his first year at high school through letters he writes to a stranger. I know this isn't strictly literary genius or whatever but I love this book. Love it. For me it was a situation of right place, right time; the story is so relatable to me, and many others, and portrays the thoughts of the introverted extremely well. Also, again, a very easy read.

I know this was a long one but I hope you enjoyed it, I hope to do more of these lists in the future (they wont all be about books, I promise).

I do want to post more about books though. I'll figure something out that's less time consuming for you and a little bit more structured . . . probably.

p.s. I'm always looking for new books to read so feel free to suggest some either here or over on my tumblr


  1. James, these books seem incredible, thank you for sharing them! I did love the Alex Rider series though compared to the rest of the series, the last book was especially, poignant shall we say. After my exams I do hope to get back to indulging in more reading though it seems you must have a larger range of reading expertise in comparison to me. The only one I'd recommend (if you haven't read it already) is the Book Thief because it's so beautiful and the film adaptation is actually quite close (though evidently can't do it full justice of course).
    I personally don't mind long posts, I write really long posts and it flows better if you're writing how it feels right.
    Have a great day!

    1. Well thank you for reading my ramblings about them, Zainab! I completely agree, the last book of the Alex Rider series was so heartbreaking - Horowitz has actually written a book following Yassen Gregorovich that I've just bought so I'm excited to read that after my last exam. I've heard great things about The Book Thief so I'll definitely check it out.
      Thanks for liking my long rambly posts and I'll check yours out for sure.

    2. You're welcome, I ramble a lot myself you see :) I saw that the last time I went into Waterstones, it'll be interesting to see what kind of read that proves to be :) Good Luck with your exams! Enjoy the books and thank you very much indeed :)

  2. I'm a Lit student too, and having just finished my exams I am SO excited about having time to read things I really want to again! The Perks of being a wallflower is high up on my to read list, it sounds really good :) Plots don't have to be 'literary genius' to be really well written and enjoyable :) I'm in the middle of 'If nobody speaks of remarkable things' by Jon McGregor and so far I would really recommend it!

    1. Perks of Being a Wallflower, from what I can remember is a beautiful read and the film was quite remarkably close :)

    2. I saw that you're at Birmingham, I was choosing between there and Manchester - is it a good course? I'd 100% recommend Perks and I'll be sure to check out your recommendation : )