Monday 14 July 2014

What I'm Reading # 1

All the way back in January I set myself a goal to read 52 books this year. That's a book a week. I was so excited to do this, because I absolutely LOVE reading, but lets just say it didn't go to plan. By the end of week three I'd read three books, two good ones (The Life of Pi and Brave New World), and one pretty awful one (The Time Keeper), and was on track to completing my goal. However, I only got round to starting book four in ... JUNE! That's four bookless months. Granted, I was busy with my final year of university and stuff, but, truth be told, I was slacking. I thought if I made a pact to post on the blog, as frequently as required, the books I'm reading and have read, it'll push me to actually read them!

Soooo ... on to the subject of this post, what I'm reading right now. Since finishing uni about 3 weeks ago I've read two books, and am onto my third. I'm really enjoying this challenge, and have lucked out on choosing some really great books (I'm one of those people who finds it really hard to finish a book if I don't like it, that's half the reason I didn't read anything between January and June. It wasn't for lack of trying!).

I LOVED this book! Everything about it struck a cord with me. I do think that sometimes I take away more from books and TV than other people do (or even than the author put in there!), so for all I know you might've hated this book. I never used to understood how people could look at paintings and draw these incredible, life-affirming conclusions from them, but in the past few years, as I'm sure I've mentioned over and over again, my views on life, the universe and everything have completely changed. I used to be the one taking the piss out of the teacher for saying something about a rock symbolising the authors' ongoing struggle with depression and being a metaphor for the state of affairs at that time. But now, I'm one of them!

The themes that arose in this book, for me, were, not fitting in, the struggle to find yourself in an inflexible education system, the concept of intelligence, age and ageing, friendship, growing up, the struggle of knowing what the right thing to do is, and if what you think is right is necessarily what other people agree with. I'm at the stage in my life where I question everything, and this book made me feel ok about that. Age is just a number, a friendship between a teenager and a retired old man is no less meaningful than one between two people the same age. It made me think about education, and everything I perceive to be wrong with the current system in Britain (an around the world); it only works for certain types of people, it works to amplify certain, agreeable qualities, and stamp out those unique qualities that make people who they are.

Overall I loved this book, and would recommend it to everyone, irrespective of how old you are. Without spoiling it anymore than I already have, I also loved how it started at the end. I'm a nerd. But I was reading this around the same time I was catching up on Hannibal Season 2, and they do the same thing there, they start with the end of the last episode, and then work through the series to explain how they got there. I think this adds another dimension to reading, as you as the reader (or watcher) are looking to draw together the strands to lead you to the known conclusion. I feel that I read into it more if I know what's going to happen, or even form a stronger bond to the characters. Five Stars!

This book I discovered by accident, I was reading through a past issue of Wired Magazine, and spotted a picture that drew me to read the article. It was of a woman standing in front of a 'murder wall', there were strings between pictures, post-it notes and newspaper cuttings, exactly the type of thing I like! So I went out to Waterstones and bought it #supportinghighstreetretailers! Considering both of these books were pretty random choices, I did quite well this month.

This book was right up my street. It merged two of my favourite things, time travel and murder. Ok, murder isn't really my favourite thing, but lets just say I did spend about a year of my life watching every SINGLE episode of Criminal Minds. It's interesting OK?! So, anyway, a time-travelling murderer, how does that work? Very well in my opinion. The author had obviously spent a lot of time researching the different time periods that the killer goes through, from the 30s right up to the 90s, and this made the whole thing seem authentic, and dare I say, believable. As the reader we follow two main timelines, the decade-jumping, back and forth one of the killer, and the pretty linear one of the girl that got away.

All in all I thought this book was great. The chapters are each focussed on a particular character, something I like a lot, even when these particular characters don't stick around for long! The book is very clever, especially how everything comes together at the end. I have to admit, there's a bit towards the end where I shouted in shock, but I'll leave you to decide when that was. Again, I'd have to give this book five stars!

I never thought I'd see the day I'd be picking up a book from the Business section of Waterstones! This isn't the kind of book I usually read. But ... I'd heard rave reviews, and thought it could be interesting. Turns out I was right, this book's great! I can't wait to hear everyone else's opinions at the end of the month in the ABM Bookclub. 

Sophia Amoruso manages to creates a incredibly relatable, informative book by blending autobiographical content with business tips and motivational anecdotes. It's great to hear first hand exactly how she made it to the top. I often find that when successful people are asked about how they got there they tend to be quite indirect, so it was a refreshing change to be told the exact steps that made a directionless young woman into a multi-millionaire. 

If you buy this book for no other reason, there is a great chapter towards the end on hiring and firing, where Sophia gives some really insightful tips on CV and cover letter writing which is a great resource for everyone. Sophia doesn't attribute her success to luck, but to her consistent hard work. You wont come out of this book with unrealistic expectations for your future, but instead with the drive and determination to work that little bit harder to become a #GIRLBOSS. 

Volume Two | Volume Three

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