I've just had to take an unintentional break from typing away at my blog, because my laptop broke! After googling the problem over and over and over again, and about 100000000000 attempts at system restore (I exaggerate, but you know what I mean), I'm back in business! I found that because I wasn't able to write, it was all I wanted to do and I found it soooo frustrating. Isn't that always the way? Anyway, today I thought I thought I'd tell you about some of my favourite books :)
1. Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling) - the story of the Boy Who Lived, need I say more? Haha. I am obsessed. I love the books so, so much. I also love the films and I've been to the Warner Bros Studio tour twice so far, hopefully I'll make it a third soon! My dad bought them all for me and my sister when they originally came out, and he read the first four of them to us because we were still fairly little. I remember waiting for the new book to come out each year, it was so exciting! I love the incredible magical world that J.K. Rowling has invented, I love how there's so much depth to it and so much detail, and you can really picture yourself in that world. If I think too much about how I will never ever go to Hogwarts I actually start to get a bit upset haha, so let's keep this short! I've been re-reading them and have read five out of the seven so far - I stupidly lent the last two to someone who seems very reluctant to give them back... hopefully they'll be back soon as they're so sentimental to me because of having them from the beginning. If for some crazyyyy reason you've not read them, give The Philosopher's Stone a go, and hopefully you'll love the world of Harry Potter too!
2. American Gods (Neil Gaiman) - this one was a bit of a surprise favourite for me! For some reason when I read the blurb I just thought that it wasn't really for me, despite all ready being a fan of Neil Gaiman's work. I originally bought this book as a gift for someone else, they read it and said it was really good and that they thought I'd like it, so I borrowed it back and they were so right. American Gods is about a man called Shadow who, just as he's about to be released from prison, receives the devastating news that his wife has been killed in a car crash. On his way home, he meets a man called Mr Wednesday who claims to be a god of America, and wants Shadow to accompany him on his own journey. Because Shadow has nothing left for him back home, he does, and from there the story unfolds. I really enjoyed this one, I also liked how the book mirrored the changes in the world now, where things like television and the internet are perhaps becoming more important to people now than rituals and social celebrations that were important to people years ago. It really is a very good read.
3. The Ocean At The End Of The Lane (Neil Gaiman) - if you hadn't all ready guessed by now, my absolute favourite genre of writing is fantasy. There's something about magical worlds that just grips me, I can get completely immersed in them. The Ocean At The End Of The Lane is hard to describe, but it is incredibly good - another one by Neil Gaiman who is an amazing storyteller. It's about a boy who lives with his parents, he seems to have a somewhat lonely life with no friends, but then he befriends a mysterious girl who lives on a neighbouring farm at the end of the lane. His family acquires a lodger, who then steals the family's car and commits suicide in it. This incident somehow stirs up ancient magical forces and creatures (not good ones!) begin to cross over from their world into his, and it seems that the mysterious girl and the two other women at the farm may be the only ones who can fix this. It's so gripping and so well told and described - a good one to go for if you think fantasy may not be your thing as I think it's a very accessible read.
4. Feather Boy (Nicky Singer) - again, I like this book for sentimental value also, as it's one I read when I was much younger and I watched the children's BBC adaptation of it years ago - did any of you see that? This is one perhaps more for younger readers (teens I'd say, as there is one naughty swear word :O :O :O and it does get a bit suspenseful and scary in places), or those who prefer lighter reads as it's not a very long book - you could probably read it in a day if you wanted. It's about Robert Nobel, the awkward kid in school who always gets a hard time from the school bully but tries to laugh it off, despite having a stressed out mum at home and a dad who never comes to see him. He volunteers to take part in a school project involving a nursing home, about bringing young and old people together. Here, he meets an elderly woman called Edith Sorrel, who sends him on a quest to the intimidating and abandoned Chance House... a short book, but gripping!
5. The Help (Kathryn Stockett) - if you haven't heard of the book, you've maybe heard of or seen the more recent film adaptation. In my opinion, the film isn't nearly as good as the book as it inevitably misses things out that contribute to the growth of the characters and their relationships - The Help is very much character-driven and is set in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962. The book follows three women - Aibileen and Minnie who are two black maids, serving white women in their homes, raising their children, but are not trusted by the families they serve to not steal and are treated poorly, to say the least. There is also Skeeter, a white woman returned home from college to find out that the family's maid whom she loved as she raised her, has mysteriously disappeared, 'gone away', and no one can tell her why or where, not even her own mother. A search for the truth and something more brings these women together despite the intolerant time they live in. Definitely one to put on your reading pile if you haven't all ready.
6. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold) - I think this book is really good, but I have met a couple of people who hated it haha, I say read it and decide for yourself :) it's the story of Susie Salmon, a 14 year old girl who is murdered by her neighbour on her way home from school one day. The book follows Susie in 'heaven' and her family back in the real world in the aftermath of her death, who she can see. It's an unusual book and I'd not read anything else like it before, there's been a film made of it too in which her murderer looked EXACTLY like how I'd pictured him, so creepy!
7. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (J.R.R. Tolkien) - amazing. I really love The Lord Of The Rings. I first read it when I was 10 after I saw the first of the films (which I was also also obsessed with and used to get up at 6am before school and watch all of the special features... anyway...) and I was hooked. I will say that it's maybe not for everyone as it's an older book, so the way it's written can be a bit hard going, but if you stick with it you'll get into it and they really are so very good. Again I love that there is this whole other world to create in your imagination, I love the maps of Middle Earth at the beginning of the books - I just love to read it, as you can tell by my very worn copy of The Fellowship Of The Ring haha.
Lastly, I have some Honorable Mentions! Being The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom) and Room (Emma Donoghue), both of which I borrowed off others so have neither to hand to include in the photos. The Five People You Meet In Heaven is about Eddie, who dies trying to save a young girl from being killed in an accident at an amusement park. When he dies he goes to heaven, where he meets five people who made an impact on his life in some way. It's well written and emotional - one of the chapters definitely brought me to tears. I really must read another one of his books, I'm thinking The Time Keeper. Now with Room, I'm not going to tell you what it's about! Haha! It's since been made into a very popular film (which I've yet to see) so chances are you probably know at least the gist of it, but if not then that's the best way, in my opinion! When I read it, because of the particular paperback copy of the book I had, I couldn't find the blurb straight away, so I just opened it and started reading. It's told from the perspective of five year old Jack, so you know as much as five year old Jack knows about the world. He doesn't fully understand it all, and is still learning and discovering new things about it, and so are you along with him. It's so gripping (I keep saying that about everything haha) and I read it in just a few days, I couldn't put it down!
The Lie Tree (Frances Hardinge) is what I'm reading currently. My dad gave it to me to read (we have similar tastes when it comes to books!) and at first I wasn't sure about it - it's a slow burner that's taken it's time building an atmosphere before the things really start happening, but now they have it's become very intriguing. It's about Faith and her family in a Victorian-era England, who must leave their home for a small island community as something to do with her father's work has brought their family into disrepute. Then, Faith's father is suddenly found dead under strange circumstances, and Faith now feels compelled to discover exactly what has been going on. So far, so good! I will report back :)
Have you read any of these? If you have, what did you think? What are your favourite books?