My new library membership has transformed my reading experience. It’s led to the resurrection of my reading of new titles, and I can’t even begin to explain how great it feels. Previously I’d find myself constantly rereading old favourites or feeling lost trying to decide on which titles to invest in. Then I’d be inevitably disappointed, would be £5.99 (or more) out of pocket. In the end, I completely fell out of the habit of reading books, favouring blogs and a scroll through Twitter.
These days, you’re unlikely to see me without a book. I, once more, enjoy nothing better than curling up under a blanket with a book, hand-in-hand with Daisybf whilst he games. I’m truly living the dream.
Here are some of the titles that I’ve recently been reading…
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
The Little Paris Bookshop is one of those books that has done the rounds in the blogosphere. It tells the tale of a bookseller with a melancholy past that you learn of as the pages turn but, at the heart of it, it’s a story of a Parisian bookshop that is situated on a boat moored on the River Seine.
Jean Perdu sells books on a prescription basis, recommending a title based on the customer’s ailment and current lifestyle situation. As you’d expect, I came away with a whole reading list chock-a-block from the book itself and I also came away feeling incredibly inspired by the themes within: love, ambition, courage. It’s beautifully written with a seriously romantic undertone and I’d happily reread it time and time again.
Elijah’s Mermaid by Essie Fox
Truth be told, I hadn’t felt utterly mesmerised by a book in several years until I began to turn the pages of Elijah’s Mermaid. Set in Victorian England, it tells the story of Elijah, Lily and Pearl, a bewitching tale full of wild obsession, passion and full of rich imagery. A dark and intriguing, truly intoxicating read, it’s full of brothels, fairytales and mermaids in a heady juxtaposition that totally worked. I read it in a tangle of days – and its grand finale is certainly can’t-put-it-down material.
Naked As We Came by Hannah Cao
I picked up this debut anthology by fellow blogger Hannah Cao a few weeks ago and have thoroughly enjoyed delving into this collection of essays and poems. Always one to support a peer, I was intrigued to see what would come of her self-published book and I was pleasantly surprised by the calibre of her earliest work. There truly is a piece for every mood, every moment of your life thus far and I found it such a brilliant debt.
Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima
Underpinned with unmistakeable melancholy, Spring Snow tells the tale of Kiyaoki, a late teen with a busy mind and a busy heart. The story is set in Tokyo in 1912, a period during which the archaic aristocracy slowly began to merge with other upper classes, and thus the entire novel is brushed with themes of tradition, class, culture and social power.
As the aristocracy is breached by rich, provincial families, Kiyaoki is brought up by neighbouring family Ayakura, a passage of time that’ll come to define his past, present and future, as he falls for Satoko, a beautiful, spirited girl and daughter of the Ayakura family. I absolutely loved reading Spring Snow. Japanese literature bound in history really gets to me and I absolutely loved the evocative language throughout: it truly felt like I was wading back through time and across oceans each time I plopped myself down to read. I could liken Mishima’s work to Murakami’s in that they both take on themes of perfectionism, of everyday mundanities that take a surreal turn, of love and obsession, but that’s as far as Japanese author comparisons could go. His characters are each richly written, a complete story for each and each inlaid with enough story of their own. I can’t wait to delve further into Mishima’s portfolio of works.
The Wangs vs. The World by Jade Chang
Sadly I’ve left the worst to last and I’m fairly upset that The Wangs vs. The World wasn’t very enjoyable for me. I was excited first and foremost for a novel centred around Chinese characters living in a Western country, written by a Chinese woman, but that’s about all I enjoyed. The storyline is fairly cliche: rich family falls from grace, must journey across the country/world. I found it extremely hard to like any of the characters: pushy Chinese Dad, blogger wannabe socialite teen, artist daughter and inexperienced son, and felt they all took from typical Chinese stereotypes where there was SO much scope to break out of the norm and tell a story of the struggles of immigrant families. Ah well, you live and learn.
Find me on Goodreads to stay in the loop with what I’m reading. What have you been reading, recently?