Yes, that’s right, reading. And not just your average back-of-a-cereal-box, Netflix credits or How-to Books but actual fiction. My only New Year’s Resolution was to read more for leisure and when it got to my birthday at the end of May I thought ‘Jeez Spadge, put down the friggin Macbook and pick up an actual book’. And, somewhat reluctantly, that’s what I did. Since then I’ve read three absolute beauties, in fact I struggled to put them down and that’s seriously rare for works of fiction in my experience.
I think it probably helped that each book (undeliberately) seemed to dance around the subject of very weird relationships; human connections are what fascinate me more than anything. The stranger characters are, the more impressive I find the writing, as well as feel my sanity slowly increase with each chapter. Plus they each came recommended from friends/family who know me pretty well, so the chances were promising.
I would predict these books are all aimed at female readers, despite one being written by a male author from a male perspective, but I’m all about anti-gender boundaries. Everyone should broaden their insight into the female psyche in my opinion because we’re very complex and men like to complain about that, haha. It’s been a very rewarding summer of disappearing into some fascinating lives…
No exaggeration, this book is a masterpiece. Written through the eyes of a young girl who falls in love with a widowed older man, she finds herself having to fill the shoes of his former wife. Incredibly, for a book that has a female name for the title, you never learn the name of the lead character. This just amazed me how she doesn’t seem to have her own identity at all throughout the book. Both the story and the setting reminded me quite a lot of Jane Eyre, which I read years ago, except I literally couldn’t put this book down. Just as you make your assumptions about a situation or predict what’s coming, the book surprises you completely. If you’ve ever been in a relationship where people constantly compare you to their ex-girlfriend or are surrounded by their jealous friends, you will be able to sympathise with the new Mrs. de Winter. Although the book is best known for it’s famous first line, I found the first chapter difficult to crawl through as it starts ahead of its own story, but once you understand that’s happening it soon becomes addictive. Don’t expect to sleep much if you start this book. A classic that I’m surprised hasn’t been turned into more movie versions!
I’d like to uproot a few misapprehensions about this book. First of all that it’s absolutely full of kinky-fuckery (a term used a couple of times within the book if you haven’t read it) and secondly that it’s written terribly. Both surprisingly incorrect, or at least much tamer than expected. Throughout the majority of the book, Christian and Ana actually have a long distance relationship and their clean but flirty email conversations had me grinning like a 16 year old girl. So many reviews or rumours that I’d heard made it sound like he constantly abused her but it’s really not like that at all. It’s a relationship full of frustration, with both characters being attracted to a person so incredibly different, but learning about each other and helping each other, rather than hurting. The book is seriously ‘hot’ in places it’s true but it’s not disgusting or degrading in any way, they worship each other and I think that made it much more comfortable to read. I highly recommend giving it a go if you haven’t already. All shame soon disappears when you realise how it’s actually quite a cute relationship, although I still wouldn’t read it in public.
Of the three books I chose, this was probably the weakest but still a very interesting read. It’s a story about a difficult man, suffering with many social and compulsive disorder problems, trying to find his perfect life partner. Don Tillman develops his own type of survey that easily eliminates women who wouldn’t fit into his life plan. This, as a concept, annoyed the crap out of me but I think that’s pretty much the point of the book. I very nearly gave up with it because of how much the main character annoyed me; I have almost painful amounts of empathy towards others and he kind of made me want to stab the book with a butter knife, so I could watch the grease slowly engulf the pages. However if you’ve ever seen House M.D, you’ll know that these social misfits actually become quite loveable in their own way and I’m glad I stuck with it. It’s slightly more predictable as a story but it’s one that makes you feel warm and content after reading, I can’t grumble at that. Who doesn’t love to watch an unloveable man learn that he’s doing life wrong, when love gets in the way of his logic. There is hope for us all.
I’d love more book recommendations to squeeze in before 2015 if you have any? The rest of the 50 Shades Trilogy is already downloaded… (notice how I’m Kindle-ing those…)