My recent library membership has led to me resurrecting my love for reading new titles and I can’t even begin to explain to you how good it feels. Previously, I’d find myself rereading old favourites and splurging once in a while on new titles that inevitably disappointed me and in the end, I fell out of the habit of reading altogether, instead favouring blog posts and scrolling mindlessly through Twitter. Nowadays, you’re unlikely to see me without a book and I enjoy nothing better than curling up in bed with a book, hand-in-hand with Daisybf as he games. I’m truly living the dream…
The Little Paris Bookshop is one of those books that has been highly spoken of amongst 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 chockablock 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.
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, 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 peak is certainly can’t-put-it-down material.
Naked As We Came by Arden Moore
I picked up this debut anthology by fellow blogger Arden 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. You can pick a copy up here.
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.
Sadly I’ve left the worst to last and I’m fairly upset that The Wants 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 here to stay in the loop with what I’m reading.
What have you been reading, recently?