1 // All the Books

I can't remember the last time I didn't have a book on the go; to put it simply, reading has become an intrinsic part of my being. I've grown up among dust-coated and inked individuals – and the flick of a page has become second nature. And yet, I don't feel as if my humble blog lingers enough on the specific books I've read across the years. And so, in order to share more of the books I've read, I've allocated each of my books a number – and, with each of these posts, I'll ponder and muse over a randomly selected array of my books, noting my thoughts on aspects of them.

“She'd become an English major for the purest and dullest of reasons: because she loved to read.” 

The Marriage Plot is about Madeleine Hanna, a dutiful English Major who is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels. As Madeleine studies the age-old motivations of the human heart, her own life intervenes in the form of two very different romances.

I picked this book up last year, after finishing The Virgin Suicides (by the same author). It's an odd book and, although regularly pretentious and waffly, it offers occasional bouts of brilliance. The opening, for instance, is one of the best I've ever read. The novel as a whole is incredibly dense, and arguably too long, but mostly enjoyable. After all, I can't help but agree with the cover quote: "[The Marriage Plot] reminds us with uncommon understanding what it is to be young and idealistic, in pursuit of true love, and in love with books and ideas."

"I lost track of the time…" "For two hours?" "There were books involved."

THE Well of Ascension is the second book in the Mistborn series; a trilogy set in a world where the "bad side" have already won, and evil prevails. THE WELL OF ASCENSION follows Vin, a Mistborn, who uses Allomancy – the power of the metals – to rebuild their world.

Oh, MISTBORN, how I love you. Ever since a young age, I've had a penchant for dedicating hours and hours towards fantasy – wondrous, loveable fantasy. This series fills me with an odd sense of nostalgia – although I read it only last year, and it's classified as an 'adult' fantasy series, the book has a comforting air about it. It reminds me of the hours I spent as a child, wholly and truly enamoured by the fantastical. I remember finishing the first book in this series, THE Final Empire, whilst I was in Cornwall, and seeking every bookshop in vain, as I searched for the sequel; THE WELL OF ASCENSION, quite simply, is fantasy doing what fantasy does best.

BOOK 19: A ROOM WITH A VIEW BY E.M. FORSTER
“It is so difficult – at least, I find it difficult – to understand people who speak the truth.” 

A Room With a View is the story of a young middle-class girl, Lucy Honeychurch. While on holiday in Italy, Lucy meets and is wooed by two gentlemen: George Emerson and Cecil Vyse. And thus begins a tale of human struggles such as the choice between social acceptance or true happiness.

Upon finishing A ROOM WITH A VIEW for the first time, I wrote: “This had a profound effect on me. I couldn't tell you how or why, but it just did.” And I still don't know why I love it so; I just know that, ever since I came across my copy, in a quaint Cornish bookshop, it's one for my favourites shelf. Perhaps my adoration for Lucy Honeychurch has spurred on my love for Forster's novel, or maybe I just loved the  pure and sincere exploration of human emotion. Whatever the case, A ROOM WITH A VIEW doesn't deserve to be dismissed as "bland" or "dated"; A ROOM WITH A VIEW deserves to be read and reread, loved and always loved – it's really that simple.

BOOK 202: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
“Ursula craved solitude but she hated loneliness” 

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born – only to die before she can draw her first breath. Throughout her life, Ursula dies repeatedly, in a number of ways, only to be reborn. Clearly history has plans for hers – for, in Ursula, rests nothing less than the fate of civilisation.

My love for Kate Atkinson has been a long and constant one – mostly due to her much-adored Jackson Brodie series. When I heard of this book's release, I was immediately intrigued. Fortunately,  lIFE aFTER lIFE, although not quite as brilliant as the previously mentioned series, does not disappoint. This book offers an audacious twist on history, and one can't help but love its wild originality. 

“Every hour wounds. The last one kills.”

Days before his release from prison, Shadow's wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home, only to encounter the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America. Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.

I received this book for my birthday a year or two back, and read it almost immediately; inevitably, I fell in love with its blissful originality and dangerously unsettling premise. American Gods is what the best kind of fantasy is: the kind that tricks you into believing you've escaped reality when you're really just revisiting a world you know all too well. If you love profound, yet thick, fantasy novels by storytellers who know their craft: read this. If you dislike long books, steer clear.

Have you read any of these? What did you think of them?  
N.B. I've seen other bloggers do similar things to this, but I can't remember for the life of me what these posts were called, so I'm going with my own title: "All the Books". I hope you enjoy them!

12 comments:

  1. I love this style of posts (and the gifs are gorgeous). I've only read Life After Life out of these, but I really enjoyed it. I'd really like to read the Mistborn series also. I think this post idea is a great way to share a lot of the books you haven't mentioned before (like The Marriage Plot). I hope you do more of these!

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    1. Thank you – glad you liked it! The Mistborn series is fantastic: a must for any fantasy fans.

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  2. What a great mix of books! I recently read A Room With A View and found it very endearing. I think it is still relevant today because we are still faced with what is expected of us versus what makes us happy.

    Have you read any other books by Gaiman? Do you have one that you would recommend to newcomers? I have Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett) and Stardust, which has mixed reviews online (but I don't want to be disappointed).

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    1. I definitely agree! And, more importantly, its overarching message is still relevant; happiness should always be valued higher. I've read a couple of Neil Gaiman books, and I've had mixed views on them, but I did enjoy The Ocean at the End of the Lane. For a newcomer though, perhaps Good Omens? It's the most Neil Gaiman-y of his books, if that makes sense.

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  3. Wow, you have a really great mix of different genres there!

    I'm really pleased to see that you liked Mistborn. I'm a big Sanderson fan and I'm currently re-reading The Way Of Kings, which I actually think is better than Mistborn in many ways.

    American Gods is one of those books I've been meaning to read for ages but just haven't got around it yet. However, I've read a couple of Gaiman books and so far none of them really blew me away so I'm always hesitant when I consider buying American Gods.

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    1. I can't wait to read The Way of Kings! I've heard many people praise it highly indeed. :)

      I enjoyed American Gods, but only because I'm a Neil Gaiman fan in the first place. If you haven't *really* loved any of his books so far, I can't guarantee American Gods will change that. You could try the library though?

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  4. I love this idea!:) This reminds me that I must get round to Brandon Sanderson... I bought the final empire months ago!

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  5. Dammit Ruby, now I want to read ALL OF THESE! I am strongly considering picking up Life After Life... but oh, American Gods and Mistborn are must reads too. This blog is not good for holding my bookish self back from making too many purchases.

    and may I add, your writing has been exquisite recently! x

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    1. Haha sorry! Life After Life is just beautifully written. And Mistborn is enthralling to say the least. And thank you! That's so lovely to hear.

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  6. RUUUUUBBBYYYY!! Firstly- I NEED to start Brandon Sanderson's books! I went through this time where I just kind of assumed I didn't like Fantasy but i was just lying to myself. I LOVE FANTASY BOOKS. I'm almost finished with A Game of Thrones it's brilliant! Can't wait to start book two!
    I have a copy of Life After Life on my bookshelf and I will get around to it soon- PROMISE! Love this post!

    Rita xx

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