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November 18, 2014

Reading round-up


(I love my Kindle for how much reading I've been doing but it's just not as photogenic as books are!) One of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon is lying in bed, reading, with a cup of tea - and now that uni has finished for the year, I've been doing quite a bit of this. Here's a round-up of some of the books I've read in the past few months.

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne. This is a super fun book! It's not hard to get through at all. The glorification of the British Empire and racism in the book is uncomfortable to read though (it was written in 1873). I may or may not have put my own around the world in 80 days trip on my bucketlist.

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray. Oh man, it was a slog getting through this one. The subtitle is "a novel without a hero" and yes, I ended up hating all the characters in the book.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I enjoyed it! Pretty gripping. I finally saw the movie the other day and it was as good as the book, I was on the edge of my seat even though I knew most of what was going to happen.

Wild Swans by Jung Chang. A family history/autobiography set during the rise of communism in China, told through the stories of the author's grandmother, mother, and then her own. I'm trying to learn more Chinese history, because I sadly know very little of it, and I'm going about this through reading memoirs and historical novels. I found this book really gripping and interesting, but if you're reading it without the intention of trying to understand the politics of this period in China, it might be a bit heavy or dry.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. Jennie had mentioned this as one of her favourite books along with Harry Potter and Rebecca, which I love, so I trusted her recommendation of The Luminaries. And oh man, it's a good book. It's very long, about 800 pages, and it actually look me about a fifth of the book to really get into it, but when I got there I was hooked. It's a Victorian era mystery set in New Zealand - in Hokitika, in fact, where we'd stayed a night on our NZ road trip this year (we'd rolled into town after dark and it was so quiet we joked that it felt like a "murder town" - how fitting). Not only was the plot really intriguing, reading this was an amazing experience in itself, I can't describe it. Usually I read for a good story, to relax before bed, or to pass time during a commute, but I was reading this to read. I'll probably buy the hard copy so I can have it on my shelf. It's one of those books I wish I could unread so I can read it again for the first time.

And right now I'm reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Anyone have any book recommendations?

40 comments:

  1. great little round up - i am def. interested in taking a look at the luminaries now. Wild Swans makes me think of Joy Luck Club but maybe they are still very different. And Gone Girl is another on my list. I tried out the audio book version though and just could not get into it, but maybe it's just more of a sign that i am not an audiobook kind of gal.

    love from berlin

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    1. Ah yeah I still need to read Joy Luck Club! Hmm audio books are awkward for me as well.

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  2. Ahhh! I want to read more, I actually might make it a thing on y blog so you can all keep me in check.
    I especially want to read Gone Girl!

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  3. I'm stocking up my Kindle for the holidays and for my trip to Calgary this weekend so thank you for the suggestions! My friend also recommended "Brain on Fire" have you read it? I loved "Gone Girl"! So suspenseful. Another good one is "While I was Sleeping" ....spooky!

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    1. I haven't heard of these! Thanks for the suggestions :)

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  4. 80 days around the world as a possible bucketlist?
    My my :P I want to read 'Gone Girl' as well!
    Xx

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    1. Haha indeed! Just gotta find a good time to take 80 days off.

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  5. Wish I had the time to read more Jane. Currently reading Lawless on my train journeys.

    Buckets & Spades

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    1. I think reading during the commute is a good way to get some in + pass the time!

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  6. I've just finished reading "Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit" and I liked it, now I'm reading Irish fairytales - incredibly witty, folklore yet eloquent... I'm enjoying it, so far. Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne - one of my favourite books, the sense of steampunk wanderlust in it makes me wanna experience the same adventures.

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    1. Oh I've heard of Oranges, sounds interesting, will pop it on my list!

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  7. I have Gone Girl as an audiobook and I'm quite looking forward to listening to it. I think I'd like to see the film too. At the moment I'm listening to the Sherlock Holmes adventures :)

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    1. Read/listen to the book and watch the film, they're both good!

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  8. Sadly I don't have much time to read this days, but I'm currently reading eat, pray, love and I'm really enjoying it!

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    1. I still haven't read or watched Eat, Pray Love yet!

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  9. Oh I loved the Luminaries! I agree - took me a little while to get into it, and AGES to finish!

    I read Falling Leaves recently, which is also about a Chinese family, and touches on the history of China. It was very sad, but such an important read. I highly recommend it, if you haven't yet read it!

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    1. Ooh yeah I should read Falling Leaves as well! Thanks :)

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  10. I'm so pleased you enjoyed The Luminaries too, I totally agree with wishing you could unread it to experience it for the first time again. I know I'll pick it up again in a few years time for a re-read!

    Let me know how you get on with The Secret History, it's one I've been tempted with for a little while now! xx

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    1. I finished it today - it's REALLY good!

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  11. I started reading The Secret History and haven't finished it yet, but I like what I've read so far. About to start reading Aleph by Paulo Coelho. Just finished reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (it was fantastic and now I am going to be taking a winter trip down to Savannah!)

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    1. The Secret History is really good, it gets better as it goes! I'll look those books up :)

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  12. If you liked Gone Girl, try Gillian Flynn's 'Sharp Objects'. It's my favourite of her books! I will read anything Melina Marchetta writes (Lumatere trilogy if you feel like YA Fantasy). Nicole Krauss's 'The History of Love' is one of the most beautiful books I have read.

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    1. Cool I'll check out Sharp Objects! Ooh yeah I love Marchetta, I've only read the first Lumatere book though I should read the rest.

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  13. I've heard so much about Gone Girl. I really ought to pick it up. I've just started using my iPad to read, and I have to admit that I'm not quite used to it. I like the weight of a book in my hands, and the satisfaction of flipping pages, haha.

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    1. Hmm I don't really like the glare of ipads/iphones, I find the kindle better than that, but yeah it doesn't 100% replace a physical book!

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  14. I just wish I would use my time to read more books than be blogging all the time...

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  15. All these books sound wonderful! I wish I had some recommendation, but I haven't read any new books in a while. I so need to get a Kindle soon! :)

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  16. ha, my only experience with vanity fair is being forced to read it for english in year 11, except i didn't actually read it. i was never one of those rebel kids, and i actually loved english and did 4 unit for the HSC but i just never read that book, haha. i'm sure it's probably more interesting to me now than it was then (i was much more interested in my own books than ones we were being forced to read) but i don't know if i'll ever get through it tbh.

    little henry lee

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    1. Oh man studying it for school would've been so bad! I can understand why you never read it haha.

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  17. I haven't read Vanity Fair and I don't think I will now.. Around the world in 80 days sounds interesting, and I'm definitely adding The Luminaries to my list as well. I have read so much lately and don't want to recommend anything because I'm not quite sure what you like, but off the top of my head books I have loved recently; The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes, The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer, The Rosie Project (and sequel Rose Effect) by Graeme Simsion, and the Selection series by Kiera Cass (fluff, but enjoyable). I am currently reading The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, so far so good!

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    1. Thanks so much for all these! I'll look them all up!

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  18. Oooh, glad to hear you like your Kindle! I'm planning on getting my two younger brothers each a Kindle for Christmas. And hopefully tey end up reading as much as you!

    I've been dying to read Gone Girl! I bought myself a copy a few months back, but ended up giving it away as a gift... ooops.

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    1. Two kindles! That's so generous of you haha.

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  19. Thank you for the suggestions! Are you on Goodreads? You sound like you have a good taste in books. :)

    I had to read Vanity Fair for English so I can't help but cringe a little every time it's mentioned. I'm not even sure what it's really about because...... you know...... sparknotes.....

    I have absolutely no attention span so it takes me ages to read a paragraph, but I did manage to finish Deathless by Catherynne (?) Valente in one sitting! It's that good. I also liked The Master and Margarita.

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    1. I used to use Goodreads but not anymore! I'm just too lazy to keep entering my books haha.

      Look I STILL don't know what the point of Vanity Fair was...

      Thanks for the rec!

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  20. Uh, you made me remember I have a Verne's copy of that book that I haven't red yet.
    Will put my hands on it soon.
    Last great book I've read is "Just kids" by Patti Smith. It's a classic of our generation. Completely worth it and amazing story. I knew to little about her and now I'm a fan. She's a great artist.
    "John and Mary" wich is actuallly a book, not the movie is a nice love story if you want to read a novel.
    It has a unique way of the story being told by both sides of the couple. Love it.

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    1. I've heard of Just Kids but never read it, will check it out! Thanks!

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  21. I read Gone Girl as well and still have to get my butt to the theaters to see it ;)

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