Now I know, I haven’t posted about books EVER before, they bore me if I am totally honest, but I thought I would let my best friend LUCY who loves books and reading and is going to study English and Publishing at University which is good but also not because SHE’S LEAVING ME, CRY. But I will visit her as much as she will let me!!
Anyway, onto her post, she decided to do her Top 5 favourite fast reads, Most of these books, I haven’t heard of before, but there’s no surprises there, let me know what your favourite book out of these are.
5: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
The Plot: Harry August is a young man cursed (or blessed) with eternal life, of sorts; at the end of each lifetime he is born again, reliving his life over and over, seemingly endlessly. This is a book that explores the worth of a human life, questioning what we would do in the face of the knowledge that no matter what decisions you make or actions you take, nothing has a lasting impact.
The Good: Claire North is one of those rare authors who manage to explore a concept with exceptional depth and understanding – existentialism is the main theme in this book, and boy does North make you question even your own existence! Harry August is brought to life with a skill that drew me into his world – so much so that when he (finally) triumphs in the end of the book, I nearly leapt for joy.
The Bad: ‘Harry August’ moves at an interminable pace and is sometimes just a little bit (gulp) boring. For me, his lives blurred into one partway through the book as the novelty of his ‘reincarnation’ wore off – but stick with it, it’s well worth a read.
4: The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
The Plot: This is the sort of book which ‘does exactly what it says on the tin.’ Seriously. Jonasson writes about the unlikely, but incredibly funny, adventures experienced by hundred-year-old Allan, who climbs out of his window and, you guessed it, disappears. A series of hilarious circumstances soon occur, including a suitcase full of cash, a triple murder, an elephant and a series of flashbacks which show how Allan has an uncanny knack for being in the wrong place at the right time.
The Good: Jonasson writes with wit and imagination, creating a story which took me down many twists and turns and left me feeling somewhat like I’d just stepped off a roller-coaster, exhilarated but somewhat nauseous. Unique, daft and a real delight best sums up this book!
The Bad: Okay, so admittedly the historical flashbacks are a little dull and don’t actually add much to the novel except an insight into Allan Karlsson’s past and an opportunity for me to switch off. And yes, sometimes the events verge on the downright ridiculous and unbelievable, but doesn’t that add to the joy of it?
3: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Plot: Bronte’s novel follows Jane Eyre, who after a childhood full of cruelty, takes up the post of a governess at Thornfield, where she falls in love with the master of the house, Mr Rochester. Yet things are not quite what they seem at Thornfield Hall and Jane Eyre soon embarks on a journey of self-discovery as she searches for a richer and wider life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.
The Good: The main reason I’m a fan of this book is Bronte’s progressive, strong willed, independent female lead character. Finally! No more simpering ‘ladies’ subordinating to their husbands – I know, society wasn’t always as free thinking as it is today, but seriously, why couldn’t more authors be like Charlotte Bronte!? Jane Eyre is full of dialogue bursting with wit in an emotional and almost lyrical novel. Bronte writes with masterful character development, the likes of which I just don’t see much of today. Not only that, but there is a captivating gothic sub-plot which adds to the joy of the novel!
The Bad: Not much bad in this timeless classic except for Jane Eyre’s uncanny knack for making questionable life choices – seriously, who would marry a man who keeps his wife (crazy or not) locked in an attic? Not a good move.
2: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Plot: Wade Watts lives in a society of gamers, where the new reality is computer generated and the real world goes to waste. Wade devotes his life to trying to crack the mystery behind ‘Anoraks Almanac,’ tempted by the promise of massive power and fortune which is to be the winners reward. But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself in the sights of players who will stop at nothing to win the ultimate prize.
The Good: ‘Ready Player One’ gives a clear insight into virtual reality as it is today while realistically portraying where it may go in the future. It’s written with the appropriate amount of wit and mystery, leaving me on tenterhooks at the end of each chapter; Cline does a startlingly good job of breaking down stereotypes and confronting that age old saying, ‘it’s what’s on the inside that counts’ without sounding one bit preachy. Also, the 80s references add a fond nostalgia to the plot, even for those of us who weren’t alive!
The Bad: This book is packed with gaming references that went right over my head – I’m not a gamer, neither am I great with technology so I never was destined to completely understand this book.
1: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Plot: Doerr’s book takes a look at the effects of WWII. Marie-Laure and her father are forced to flee Paris during Nazi occupation to stay with Marie-Laure’s reclusive Uncle in Saint-Malo, where her father teaches her to navigate the streets by memory alone. Orphan Werner grows up (illegally) listening to a late-night discussion program run by Marie-Laure’s Uncle. Soon, he is recruited by the Hitler Youth where his technical talent sets him on a path straight into the heart of the war; more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner’s travels soon lead him to Saint-Malo, where he and Marie-Laure’s paths cross.
The Good: This book is truly heart-warming, and I will admit (without spoilers) that I nearly shed a few tears near the end of the book. In a stunning display of insight, Doerr takes a look at how, against all the odds, people try to be good to one another, regardless of the cost to themselves. Written with a perfect sense of detail, I felt as if I were transported to the streets of Saint-Malo alongside Marie-Laure as Doerr filled my senses with his abundance of metaphors. Emotional, heart-warming and beautifully poetic, this book is truly a work of art.
The Bad: Nothing. I highly recommend this book!