28 August 2017

What I read this summer 2017 + FREE Summer Book List 2017

Hey everyone!

The Summer Holidays are nearly over with only a week to go, so I have decided to share with you what books I have been reading. Starting from nearly 10 weeks ago when I was in sunny Samoa, to now, in bed, all the time - here are all the books I have read!

1) The Handmaid's Tale // Margaret Atwood

This was the first book I read this summer after being inspired by the TV show that my mum was watching. I thought it was brilliant. Atwood brings beautiful language to a truly horrific story, centering around a dystopian future where women are second class citizens, to highlight the mistakes being made in our own world.   I found the criticism of the dictatorship very interesting as Atwood shoes the flaws in the system through the weakness in the Commander, Moira and Offred herself, as well as the frequent flashbacks to a time where Offred was happy.
I would recommend this novel to someone interested in feminist literature as this book provides a fascinating take on misogyny and what it could mean for women.  However, if you're not into books which have flashbacks then I don't recommend this book as you may find it hard to follow. 

2) The Girl Before // JP Delaney

This new thriller was absolutely captivating. It flicks between the two similar stories of Emma and Jane, who both get involved with the same man and live in the same in the house. Emma comes first, and the end of her story is slowly revealed through Jane who lives in the house after her. It is told very cleverly, with insights into each woman's character through their relationship with Edward and their relationship with the house. The ending is satisfying as it doesn't necessarily go where you expect.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good thriller centred around female leads. The story really grabs you and you are desperate to know what happens! I do not recommend this book to people who aren't keen on novels with the structure where characters switch from chapter to chapter; however, this factor really compliments the story and I would not say it complicates the book or takes away too much from one characters story. 

3) Everything I never told you // Celeste Ng

A shorter story in comparison to the previous tales, Everything I never told you is succinct and very satisfying.  The part of this story which stood out to me was the complexity of the characters and their relationships. Celeste Ng really explores every character in the tale in a lot of depth in a way which makes them seem very human. The characters are taken away from their stereotypes and the author then really plays with every expectation of each member of the family to show their capability for emotion and a complex history. In a similar way to thirteen reasons why, this book critiques both teenage and adults societies by showing the pain the characters feel in response to racial and gender discrimination.

4) Sense and Sensibility // Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility was the first book I read when I got home from my holiday as my boyfriend bought me a beautiful set of Jane Austen clothbound classics from Penguin.  I found it truly fascinating to read the story of these three sisters, as I believe that through Jane Austen's portrayal of the lives in upper class society during the early 1800s, I gained an insight into the real lives of  women during this time.

The story constantly divulges into the roles of women and the most obvious is the contrast between Elinor and Marianne. Elinor, the eldest sister, is headstrong and forward thinking; she doesn't rush into love from romance and puts her future, and her family's future first. Marianne, contrastly, allows herself to let her emotions control her and she falls in love very easily, She values people with energy, and passion for books and music as she does. Both have characteristics of a modern woman, but they are completely different through marianne's bubbly personality and elinor's kind but sensible nature. She also explores the role of women through the acquaintances reactions to the girls emotions and the men they fall in love with.

I would definitely recommend if you're interested in feminist icons such as the wonderful Jane Austen. She is a wonderful story teller and satisfies the readers wants in a way that modern authors often do not. 

5) 1984 // George Orwell

1984 is a book I have been interested in for a long time. I watched animal farm in school whilst learning about Russia and wanted to know more about Orwell's writing.  Again, this book is dystopian but in this world there is no truth except for the truth of The Party and Big Brother.  The character of Winston interests the reader as he is made very human by the author, who explores his sexuality and defiance against The Party.  

I would recommend this book to people interested in political literature as well as horror books, as although this isn't a horror novel, it grips in you in a similar manner. 

6) To Kill A Mockingbird // Harper Lee

This story is told through the naive eyes of an 8 year old girl, similarly done to the boy in the striped pyjamas. This leaves the reader to fill in the gaps with the knowledge of racial tensions in the 20th century regarding Tom's case. This book touches on the role of women and girls through Scout as well as the implications of having a lawyer as a father on a childs life. The character of Boo Radley acts as a symbol of how society misjudges broken people, touching on mental health and more. Such a complex tale told simply and brilliantly!

7) Carrie // Stephen King
I cannot even begin to discuss how clever this story is! King begins by introducing Carrie as a character that the reader can sympathise with and slowly unravels her dark and twisted mindset induced by her mother and peers. The frightening thing about this novel is not the horror that Carrie inflicts, but how he makes the reader almost want them to feel pain as Carrie does after seeing the pain they put her through. This book really plays with the mind and I enjoyed it immensely.

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// Jeani

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Thank you // Jeani