Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Reading List #25

After a short pause became a slightly longer pause, I’m back and ready to carry on with the next instalment of The Reading List. The blogging paused but the reading didn’t, and I have enough to write about for weeks!

The Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick

Pat Peoples is trying to get his life back on track after leaving a psychiatric hospital, and amongst his aims is reconciliation with his wife Nikki. He has left hospital with the new purpose of being nice to everyone, and always hunting for the silver lining. When he befriends Tiffany, certain plans he thought he had set in stone start to become unstuck.

I saw the film before reading the book, and the film is amazing, but the book just has the edge for me. It was heart-warming, funny, sad, moving… It’s about believable human relationships and also about Pat’s relationship with himself. It’s perfectly written and one I would pick up again.

Mansfield Park, Jane Austen

Fanny Price is patient and watchful, and this simply follows her growing up amongst family relationships, society pressures, and the expectations of marriage.

It feels like one of those books you ‘should’ read, especially having studied an English Literature degree, but all I really have to say is it’s exactly what I expected. I did quite like the heroine, although many find her patience annoying… but overall I found the book nice, and not ‘wow’.

A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini

Mariam, aged 15, is sent to marry 45 year-old Rasheed in Kabel. Two decades later, 15 year-old Laila joins Mariam’s unhappy home. The bond between the two women grows, and offers protection to them both.

Under the shadow of Taliban rule, this book contains starvation, brutality and fear, but love triumphs. It is absolutely stunning, and brought tears to my eyes multiple times. The characters are so fully-formed, and the story is amazing. There is an exquisite simplicity to the way the story is told, and nothing is overdone, which can be a hard thing to achieve.  Through its simplicity, the horror of the situation comes through in such an authentic way, and the result is beautiful. I won’t be forgetting this one any time soon.

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Through the eyes of Scout and Jem, the novel follows their father, a lawyer, as he defends a mockingbird – a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Set in the Deep South in the 1930s, this novel is steeped with prejudice, hypocrisy, race and class.

Again, it is the simplicity of certain elements of this book that make it most hard-hitting. I don’t often return to books, as there are so many to be read, but I’m glad something made me come back to this classic.

So there we have it, as random a mix as ever! The next instalment will be on the way soon…

What have you been reading recently? 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Time Flies

Ok, I will hold my hands up and admit it’s now 3rd September, but as I haven’t slept yet I’m still going to count this as my day 2 of September post.

And I guess that kind of fits with the theme of today’s post: time.

Or, more specifically, the time that flies.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had conversations with those friends you can speak to for hours and hours, and it feels like minutes.

A lot of things have been changing for me recently, which of course gives us even more excuse to chat.

A phone call with one friend who’s ill at home…

Or a lunch with another friend who’s been working out in Africa…

Or a skype call with a uni friend who is currently living in France…

In fact, the skype call to France ended after close to three hours, and there was still a sense of ‘to be continued’.

And that’s it really. I don’t have a pearl of wisdom, or a witty anecdote.

I just wanted to acknowledge the power of a good old chat. It cheers you up, gets you excited making plans, and let’s your friendship groups know you’re all there for one another.

I just like a good natter.

And that’s it.

So there J

Monday, 1 September 2014

The Challenge #7: September 2014

The return of the blog means the return of my monthly challenges, as they were great motivation last time.

Having just returned to this little corner of the internet, I thought I’d get September off to a strong start, and blog every day for the month.

I’ve seen lots of my favourite bloggers do similar things over recent months and years, and I think it’s a great way to challenge myself and get back into the swing of things.

It will also hopefully help to guide me in the direction I want my blog to be heading in. The creation of lots of different posts will reveal the things that are on my mind and that I feel most comfortable writing about.

So there we have it.

Day one: DONE.

Only 29 to go…
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