American Classics TBR

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I’ve been really interested in American classics lately, I can’t seem to get enough! After having recently read and enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye and Of Mice and Men, I have decided I want to delve deeper into American classics and find some more gems, as I have barely scratched the surface! Here is my list of 10 American classics I am super excited about picking up.

1. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The basic premise of this book sounds extremely fascinating to me as I have never read a book portraying mental illness. The Bell Jar is about Esther Greenwood, a girl who seemingly is living the dream and has it all, however this book delves into Esther’s mind and into her regression into insanity. It sounds very interesting and I would like to see how Plath portrays the idea of mental illness through her main character, as it sounds quite a difficult task to manage.

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Before you gasp in horror at the fact I have this on my TBR list, I have in fact read this “Great American Classic”….twice! I read it once in advance as I knew I would be studying it at school. After studying it in school for half a year I had lost pretty much all interest and associated this book with stress, essays and passing exams. I would love to reread this over a year later, after having finished school and English, so I can see how I find it.

3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
I absolutely LOVED Of Mice and Men and the writing style and the way Steinbeck told a story, and so I am eager to investigate his other works!

4. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
I have heard great things about this book and about Hemingway’s works in general. I figured what better way to make my way into his works than with this short but world renowned classic? As far as I understand it, the story revolves around an elderly Cuban fisherman.

5. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
I have owned this book for two years, and I can’t think why I haven’t picked it up yet! This book is about travelling the US and seeing as I rarely read books like this, I am interested to pick it up.

6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
This book sounds jam packed with interesting characters and events and I would like to further investigate books about mental illness and mental state. Seeing as this is set in a mental hospital, I feel it is perfect!

7. Edgar Allan Poe poetry and short stories
I am eager to delve further into Edgar Allan Poe’s writing after having read The Raven and enjoying it, although I’m not good with creepy stories and I’ve heard he can be quite creepy.

8. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
I’ve heard this is a humorous and nostalgic read that I am eager to pick up!

9. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, this would be the first classic duology I have read!

10. Travels With Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
I am fascinated by the idea of Steinbeck documenting his travels across the US with a poodle named Charley. I love the idea that he did said road trip because he felt he was losing touch with his country. I am eager to pick this one up soon!
I hope you guys enjoyed this. Let me know which American Classics you have read and enjoyed!

Back (for good)

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The past few months of my life have been extremely busy for many reasons, which means both my reading and my blog have suffered. I am extremely annoyed at myself for letting something I enjoy so much fall by the wayside and so I am back, for good!

I obviously can’t promise that I’ll be 100% present all the time, what with starting university in two months and having just started a new job. However, school is over, exams are over and I have a LOT of time to dedicate to making this blog what I wanted and hoped it would be! I hope you’ll stick by me and support me!

Amy

5 Historical Fiction Books!

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This post is inspired by PeruseProject on YouTube who just posted a video about her top 5 historical fiction reads, so I thought I’d do the same! Keep in mind that these are not all historically accurate, but I love them anyways. Also, please note that some of these are more recent historical fiction, in the more recent decades. I’ll be including a basic summary and also the reasons I enjoyed these books.

1. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They are the claimants and kings who ruled England before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.

The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown.

This book was so interesting to read. I loved that it was focusing on fighting for the throne but wasn’t a fantastical novel like Game of Thrones. It follows one side and one family’s fight for the throne in England. I loved the time period that this was set in and found it captivating and quite an easy read, although keeping track of all the people’s names was quite intense!

2. War Crimes for the Home by Liz Jensen

`You know what they say about English girls’ knickers,’ ran the wartime joke, `One Yank and they’re off.’ When Gloria met Ron, he was an American pilot who thought nothing of getting hit by shrapnel in the cockpit. She was working in a munitions factory in Bristol during the Blitz, but still found time to grab what she wanted. Ciggies. Sex. American soldiers. But war has an effect on people. Gloria did all sorts of things she wouldn’t normally do – evil things, some of them – because she might be dead tomorrow. Or someone might. Now, fifty years on, it’s payback time. In her old folks’ home, Gloria is forced to remember the real truth about her and Ron, and confront the secret at the heart of her dramatic home front story. In a gripping, vibrant evocation of wartime Britain, Liz Jensen explores the dark impulses of women whose war crimes are committed on the home front, in the name of sex, survival, greed, and love .

This book made me feel all the feelings. It was something I was wary of picking up as I wasn’t sure how I’d like it, but it was so funny. It depicts wartime life on the home front really well. I loved the split between Gloria’s time during the war working in a munitions factory and her time as an old woman. I loved the fact that Gloria was not depicted as some lovesick, wishy washy woman trying to survive through the war. She was such a 3-D character who made me laugh out loud and cry.

3. Camille by Tess Oliver

At a time when society conforms to the strictest rules and most proper etiquette, sixteen-year-old Camille Kennecott and her guardian, Dr. Bennett, live a most unconventional life. They hunt werewolves.When unwitting victim, Nathaniel Strider, wanders into one of their full moon pursuits, Camille and Dr. Bennett believe they have found a specimen for their study.

Finding a scientific key to unlocking the mystery of lycanthropy would end their late night excursions. Yet beneath the irresistible exterior, Nathaniel is transforming into a flesh-tearing monster, and as each experiment fails, Camille loses another inch of her soul to him. In a month’s time, she must face the prospect of destroying the boy who has stolen her heart

I found this book for free on the kindle store and whizzed through it. I always have an idea in the back of my head where I assume because a book is free it’s going to potentially have a pretty thin plot, 2-D characters and not be that great. I was so wrong! This book was so captivating. It takes place in the early 1900s and it depicts that time extremely well. Although there is the fantasy element to this book, it is still excellent in
the depiction of destitute London at the time. Excellent and a quick read.

4. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

THE FEELS IN THIS BOOK ARE SO INTENSE. I was torn as to whether to include this one, as although it is set in 1986, it doesn’t focus on the time, it is more the plot. However, there are some great little mentions of objects and trends evocative of the 80s era. This is one of my favourite books of all time and I defy anyone to read it and not be moved.

5. Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy

Evacuated from Blitz-battered London, shy and genteel Elizabeth White is sent to stay with the boisterous O’Connors in Kilgarret, Ireland. It is the beginning of an unshakeable bond between Elizabeth and Aisling O’Connor, a friendship which will endure through twenty turbulent years of change and chaos, joy and sorrow, soaring dreams and searing betrayals..

I feel like this book was a result of my mother’s influence. I loved the story this book depicts and again I thought it did an excellent job of conveying what Britain was like in WW2.

I hope you guys enjoyed that:) I am hoping to delve into some more historical fiction as soon as I can!

Good news all round!

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I have some generally good news, and some good news for me! I’ll start with the generally good news…

TWO MORE DAYS OF EXAMS AND THEN I’M ALL YOURS AGAIN. I WILL BE BACK TO THE BOOKS AND BLOGGING AND I’LL BE BLOGGING LIKE I NEVER HAVE BEFORE. EXPECT BOOK TAGS, BOOK PLAYLISTS, BOOK REVIEWS, WRAP UPS, ALL THAT GOOD STUFF MAN! As soon as I get out of my art exam on Tuesday, I have some insane catching up to do. I hope you guys are as excited as I am.

Okay, now the good news for me in particular.

If you’ve read some of my posts you may know that I have been waiting to hear back from university. All I wanted was to hear back from my dream university (aka Robert Gordon University) and from my dream course (BA Hons in Applied Social Sciences). All of the people I knew who had applied for courses at this university had heard weeks ago, people applying for other universities had started to hear back and I was starting to get really panicked. 

However, on Friday afternoon I came home in a really foul mood to see an email in my inbox from RGU. My hands were shaking and I held my breathe as I got my mum to read it. She burst into tears and handed me my phone and I then read that I’d gotten an unconditional offer to my dream university, my dream course. I can honestly say without a shadow of a doubt that that was the best moment of my life to date. I have never felt so much pride in myself and although I know so many other people will be receiving unconditional offers for universities all over the place, I cannot describe to you how magical it made me feel.

So, as of September this year, I will be studying an undergraduate degree in Applied Social Sciences at RGU and I honestly cannot wait. I am ready to move on with my life and leave negative and destructive people behind me. I cannot wait, and I cannot wait to bring all of you guys along for the ride!

If I only need to say one thing to convince you of how awesome this university is, I’ll say this: there is a Dumbledore’s Army Society, aka a Harry Potter fanclub which I will sure as hell be joining when I get there.

I hope you guys don’t mind holding on a day or two, I’m coming back alive and kicking!

Reading Slumps: A Discussion

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I’m in a bit of a reading funk, I haven’t had very much in the past week and I’ve quite frankly not had very much time.

The question for me is this: is that a bad thing? I’d have to answer no. I have read 6 books this month, a massive success in my opinion and I’m kind of at the point where I need a break. Reading is one of the things I love to do more than anything in the world and so I don’t want to make myself resent it by pushing myself to read and read and read. It’s the same with drawing, I consider myself quite good at art and so after having spent maybe 3 or so weeks on a project I like to leave it a while before I start something else. It continues to keep it as a hobby I find great pleasure in. I feel personally, that if I was pushing myself to read and read when I wasn’t in the mood, it’d start to feel like a chore.

Currently, I’m reading Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut and although I am thoroughly enjoying it, I am having a hard time a) having time to read and b) being motivated to do so. I decided that I’m going to attempt a chapter or so every evening or a minimum of twenty-ish pages. If I do finish it by the end of the month, YAY! If not, that’s okay too.

What are your thoughts on reading slumps? Do you think there’s anything wrong with taking reading breaks?