A Few of My Recent Reads

I initially sat down to write an entirely different blog post to this one. But then I realised that I didn't feel like writing that blog post. Today, I just want to talk about books, simple as. And so, given the summer holidays have just ended, it feels fitting for me to review a couple of the books I read this summer. I've picked out three very different reads, and so, without further ado, here are my thoughts on them…
 Under the Skin by Michel Faber
| PAGES: 296 | Publisher: Canongate | First Published: 2000 | Sci-fi | Mystery | *FOR MATURE READERS* | 
Under the Skin makes for a completely surreal reading experience; it's wildly original, beautifully written and utterly unforgettable. The character of Isserley is unlike any other, and her tale is unpredictable from start to finish. Admittedly, the first two thirds of the novel are incredibly slow-paced – though it picks up considerably near the end, given there's the 'big reveal'. Essentially, this is a book that will (pardon the pun) really get under your skin; it's deeply affecting, thoroughly exhilarating and the ending will haunt your mind for days afterwards. I don't want to say much else (in fear of spoilers), so I'll just say this: Under the Skin is a thrilling, lyrical, genre-defying read, and I just loved the sheer insanity of the whole thing. ★★★★

| Pages: 181 | Publisher: Vintage | First published: 2007 | Non-Fiction | mEMOIR |
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is not, contrary to what the titles says, a book solely about running. In fact, you don't have to be a runner to enjoy it – just, preferably, a Murakami fan. I've always found him to be an incredibly interesting person, and this memoir, if anything, has further piqued my interest in him. Though only a short read, it offers glimpses of great profundity throughout, and I was surprised by the sheer depth of some passages. Whilst I wasn't hugely invested in the passages on running, I found his discussions about the writing process fascinating, and I was stunned by his thoughtfulness and humility (especially when he admitted he doesn't see himself as a 'natural writer'). This said, the book did feel a bit disjointed – given it was written in chunks over the course of a few years – and this slightly marred the reading process. ★★★½

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
| PAGES: 345 | Publisher: Faber & Faber | First Published: 2015 | Fantasy | Historical Fiction| 
The Buried Giant is a very frustrating read in many ways. Ishiguro is a wonderful writer, there’s no doubt about that. He crafts beautiful and sincere sentences, each of which is full of meaning. In fact, I found so many passages of this book to be so simple and yet so thoughtful (“But then again I wonder if what we feel in our hearts today isn't like these raindrops still falling on us from the soaked leaves above, even though the sky itself long stopped raining. I'm wondering if without our memories, there's nothing for it but for our love to fade and die.” ) However, there was one thing that stopped me from enjoying this book: the characters, or rather my inability to connect to them. A crucial part of the book is the relationship between Beatrice and Axl, an elderly couple. In short: I didn’t find either of the characters particularly engaging, and consequently felt disconnected from both their relationship and their story. Whilst The Buried Giant offered a profound exploration of memory and how we deal with the past, I ultimately had difficulty appreciating this theme when it was conveyed through two characters I fundamentally struggled to connect with. ★★½

Have you read any of these? Have you read anything recently you recommend?
I've just started back at school & I'm working hard to find a way to balance schoolwork & blogging.

6 comments:

  1. You read so many interesting books :) I'm currently reading South of the Border, West of the Sun, my second Murakami, and I can't wait to read all his other work!

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    1. I have yet to read South of the Border, West of the Sun! I should get around to it soon. :)

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  2. I'd really recommend Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill - upon finishing the book I wrote a many paged essay on why it was so good. The novel is sort of a crossover between YA and General Fiction but it's phenomenal.
    I'd also highly suggest scheduling posts if you're trying to balance education and blogging. I'm currently doing this for the start of Year 12

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    1. Only Ever Yours sounds fantastic! As does her other book – I think it's called Asking For It? I can't wait to read some of her work. :)

      I've struggled with scheduling in the past, but I'll probably do this in the future. :)

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  3. I haven't read any of these books, but I really want to get into Haruki Murakumi. I keep seeing his books popping up, so I think it's time that I try them.

    Hope you had a good summer:)

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    1. He's a truly fantastic writer.

      My summer was great, thanks! I hope yours was also fab. :)

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