August: In Reading

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You know how I moved house and got behind on everything? Yeah that’s totally why I’m posting about what I read in August in October… Totally not behind in anything at all, no sir.

Being as I moved to Wales and started using a library I managed to zoom through these books really quickly whilst reading some books that I’ve had on my bookshelf since forever and promised myself as I was packing them that I would finally finish them rather than have them collecting dust on yet another bookshelf. In fact, three of these books were from my local library and I was really impressed with the selection they have especially as The Rest of Us Just Live Here hasn’t been out all that long. Needless to say my lack of motivation to finish the books I already own showed itself as I only managed to finish one those I packed and unpacked with such positivity this month…

So yeah – lots of catching up has been going on and I’m finally on track to finish off my challenge this year, so onto the books and what I thought of them:

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The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

I really want to like David Mitchell and get one with my his writing, I really do – but I’ve started to understand that his books and writing is like marmite, you either love it or hate it. I personally hate it.

Alright so I hate most things and am really hard to please when it comes to a good book but I cannot put into words easily how much I disliked this book. I’ve read Cloud Atlas before and got about a third of the way through before giving up because it jumped backwards and forwards between perspectives and time periods so much that I found it to be uncomfortable reading and couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I gave the 2012 Wachowski sibling’s film a chance in the hope that it would help me understand what the hell was going in with the novel but it just solidified to me how difficult the book was to grasp – even though it was a pretty decent film in itself I know trying to finish the book would’ve wound me up.

But yeah, that’s a whole other story we’re talking about The Bone Clocks here.

The bit on the back of this novel reads: ‘One drowsy summer’s day in 1984, teenage runaway Holly Sykes encounters a strange woman who offers a small kindness in exchange for ‘asylum’. Decades will pass before Holly understands exactly what sort of asylum the woman was seeking…’ and blah, blah, blah.

Like me you probably read that and thought ‘oooh that sounds right up my street, I enjoy a good action adventure novel’. Well tough, ‘cos you don’t get much action adventure until almost the end in this book. Before then you have to sit through whole chapters full of stuff that doesn’t really relate to the plot itself. When I picked up this book the staff in my local shop were singing it’s praises and I’m really starting to think they’d all been brainwashed because this book did nothing but bore me half to death.

I want action, I want adventure – I don’t want near two hundred pages about some faded author doing the promotional circuit for his latest poorly selling work as he frames a colleague for drug possession in a foreign country because he annoyed him.

I was bored, I didn’t like this and cried with relief when I finished it. Sorry David Mitchell you just don’t do it for me.

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The Manifesto on How To Be Interesting by Holly Bourne

I saw this book during my usual browsing through the shelves of my local bookshop months and months back and jumped at the chance to read it when I realised that my local library had it in stock for me to borrow. Here I was thinking this would be a lovely little chick-lit YA read to tide me over between a couple of ‘big’ books. Well… reading this book didn’t exactly work out as I planned.

From time to time I read a YA book that makes me think that maybe, just maybe I’m too old to keep reading them. Let’s face it, some of them are aimed at readers that are much younger than me, some of them are still in school and are dealing with the social ins and outs of daily life as a teenager. Me, well I’m twenty-five and am pretty much sure of who I am as a person and frankly don’t care if one of my friends does something to annoy me because I love them anyway and all will be forgiven by morning. Reading this book was a stark reminder that sometimes, even if the back does sound intriguing you should leave a book in it’s section and walk away because you’re not going to get anything from it as a mature reader in your mid twenties.

In fact, looking back on if I had read this as a teenager I would’ve been sourly disappointed as the themes of the book weren’t exactly pleasing because the main character didn’t entirely go through the best journey of self discovery required for an impressible young person reading this novel.

Basically the main character decides to ‘become’ attractive instead of farting around with her looks and attitude in order to exact some sort of revenge on the popular girls of her school just because they’re so nasty. You could call this a Mean Girls rip because Bree, the main character, gets in with the popular crowd and then becomes just like them… in a way. Yeah it’s a little confusing in exactly where the character development is to be honest with you.

I’d say the problem with Bree is that she’s selfish. She thinks too much of herself from the off and continues much in this vein even after she’s had her transformation into someone more beautiful. She goes a bit Girl Online by secretly writing a blog about all of her escapades and outing the fact that she’s been getting off with one of her teachers (who should very much know better??) and pretty much treads on anyone and everyone apart from some kids in the year below her at a writing club when she (kind of) goes through her downfall and (kind of) learns her lesson.

Basically, don’t read it if you’ve watched Mean Girls because that’s so much smarter and funnier. Soz.

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Once in a while there comes a book that you see in the shop from time to time and you think… ‘yeah I totally don’t do that whole judging a book by it’s cover thing but – I like how this looks and I want to read it anyway but I’m not going to buy it because the blurb doesn’t speak to me and I’m like far too old and grown-up to just buy a book because it looks pretty… ‘

And then you read a couple of reviews about it and it gets mentioned in some blogger’s top lists about how it’s an awesome magical adventure and you think… ‘crap, I spent my money of other stuff and am totally too poor to go back and buy it now’.

Surprise, surprise that’s when your local library comes in the save the day!

I practically marched with this to the librarian when I saw it on the shelf even if the copy was dog-eared and a bit damp (I know, weird). I started reading it within a couple of days of getting it out and then spent a good few days dipping in and out of this pretty awesome tale.

You could call it a love story between two competitors pitted against eachother on a battleground of epic proportions. Yeah, that’s about it really. If you don’t like romance novels or even supernatural adventures you can stuff it and just read this for it’s descriptions of the circus that is featured throughout. It’s worth it for that alone. I lost a good few hours of my life within the tent flaps of the circus and I wish and hope this gets turned into a film because I was practically planning out the shot-lists in my head as I was reading it.

Note… a quick Google search tells me that it is in development by none other than Mister D. Harry-Potter-Producer-God Heyman himself. Waaaaah!

If I could shove a copy into your face via the internet I would, if you haven’t already you need to read this.

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

So you know how I totally blasted The Bone Clocks at the beginning of this post and said how I didn’t get on with David Mitchell at all as a writer – well Patrick Ness’s latest book just goes to show that you shouldn’t completely write off an author just from one or two of their published works you didn’t like.

I’ve read quite a few Ness books and there was only one so far that I didn’t get on with which was More Than This even though quite a few other book bloggers out there that I follow loved it. I recommend the The Knife of Never Letting Go to so many people as it’s up there with Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials work and Ness’s latest book just adds itself to the never-ending list of books I recommend to friends and strangers.

This one is described as the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer told from the perspective of one of the kids at Sunnydale High School who has nothing to do whatsoever with saving the world and just had to put up with all the weird crap that keeps disrupting their education. As soon as I read that tagline somewhere I appreciated this novel even more because that’s totally what it’s all about. It’s written quite tongue-in-cheek with a serious spin as a group of teenagers deal with the shockwaves of events out of their control whilst trying to enjoy the last few weeks of their time together before graduating high school and moving onto the next chapters of their lives. If you’re not an ‘indie kid’ you’re safe, if you are – you’re buggered.

You’d think a story about the ‘other’ characters in an action-adventure type plot would be boring but this wasn’t it. It was funny and heartwarming and a real page turner. I couldn’t put this down and had finished reading it within a day and so had my boyfriend once I’d stopped shoving it into his hands and demanding he read it as soon as I’d turned the last page.

That’s me done for August (finally), have you read any of these books and what did you think of them? Let me know in the comments.