About Me

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19 years old from the UK, I have always loved a good book and a cup of tea, and am often asked to recommend books I have loved, thus created this blog in order to share my thoughts with whoever is interested. Please share recommendations if you wish!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Still Alice- Lisa Genova

Many months ago our family's cousins from Canada came to the UK to visit; amongst a wide range of topics we discussed, I mentioned both my love of reading and Science- this fuelled the recommendation of this book. I would initially steer away from authors who write about Science subjects as I'm often left disappointed by a lack of depth however Lisa Genova happens to have a PhD in neuroscience from Harvard university; useful for someone who is writing a book about Alzheimers disease.

This book is full of detail and depth of knowledge, and is almost exactly what I look for in a science related novel; and this is purely down to the authors background and the background research she must have undertaken to write the book. The story follows the life of Alice, a university professor at Harvard university, a distinguished scientist and researcher as well as an outstanding teacher- however we follow her story as she is diagnosed with early on set alzheimers disease when she is just in her fifties. What I like about this book is it is incredibly realistic- the struggles Alice and her family face happen to hundreds if not thousands of people every day and the book highlights these issues perfectly.

For example, the author touches of genetic inheritance and genetic screening/testing and the impact this can have on children, grandchildren and future generations.I have a personal interest in genetic testing and found the authors interpretation and handling of the subject wonderful- full of insight and tactfully written but still maintaining the hardship of making, and living, with these decisions. In addition we have the real life impact on the husbands/wives or partners of people with alzheimers; completely without sugar coating or skimming around the surface. The reader sees an honest look at a sufferers life (and the lives of the family of the sufferer).

The style of writing for this book is somewhat clinical, well thought out and scientific- the perfect narrative voice for Alice; however the writing style does develop through the book as what is most important to Alice changes. The inner thoughts of Alice, particularly when the disease is really progressing into later stages, are beautiful and though provoking. For anyone, like me, who has had a friend or relative who has or is suffering with alzheimers this is a fresh, heartbreaking and interesting perspective of the disease.

My only criticism of the book is that I feel that this front cover would allow this book just to blend into the background of the other 'real life' novels that are swamping the shelves at the moment- which is a shame because this book is right ahead of the crowd. Without a doubt this is one of the best science based novels I have ever read and I have every intention of picking up more of Lisa Genova's books. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The Bone Clocks- David Mitchell

I will admit, rather shamefully, that this is the first David Mitchell novel that I have read and I’m thoroughly annoyed with myself that I’ve waited this long. I will hold my hands up and admit that I was drawn to this book due to the huge press/media campaign that Mitchells publishers/promoters threw at the world- it felt like I couldn’t turn a page in a newspaper without the advertisement glaring back or turn on the TV without an interview with him popping up; well let’s face it, they did their jobs. I bought it (in hardback none the less). 

Mitchell is a fantastic writer; a classic ‘unique’ author- full of long descriptive words and twisting detailed narrative. *Sigh* they don’t make ‘em like that anymore. That being said, you really need to concentrate whilst reading this book as it is very easy to get lost and this is definitely not a skim readable book- something I learnt the hard way. However, if you stay on your toes this is such a gripping read, and as I said before, the writing style is truly incredible.
My favourite thing about this book is the way the story is played out- it begins in 1985 and centres on the main character Holly Sykes, and although she is in every chapter/section of the book, the narrative voice is not always hers. We flick from person to person, glimpsing key characters from previous sections and meeting new ones. However, unlike many books of this style, the story is still concise and logical as Holly runs all the way through. I also love (and this is a slight spoiler) that Holly is the first and last narrative voice- this really rounds of the story. In addition; this book is FULL of beautiful quotes for example “Some magic is normality you’re not yet used to”- I think I like this quote so much is because, although it talks mainly of an event occurring in the story, it also hints at the future of Holly’s life and how she will adapt and change to accommodate new things.

As I said earlier, you need to keep your wits about you whilst reading this book and some of the concepts are really imaginative and require thinking about- this is a book for adults and a little beyond YA readers I fear (although that’s only because I think some sections may be a little boring for younger readers, by all means give it a go and prove me wrong). My only other real criticism is that I grew fond of, and developed an interest, in characters that were quickly taken away from me, due to the nature of the book. Although, I am convinced this was a literary technique used to emphasise the changing nature of life and how people come in and out of it: but I digress.
An excellent, excellent book and I would highly recommend- full of action and new interesting ideas and plots, a definite to read.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The Shock of The Fall - Nathan Filer

This is book is extermly unique; which I imagine is not something that others who have read this may think. If you have ever read 'A curious case of the dog in the nighttime' then you will find some parralels here, and if you enjoyed the Curious Case then this book is definatly a must read for you.

The reason I say it is unique is because you truly get a proper insight into what it feels like to suffer from a mental health condition. Not that you don't get that from Curious case, but this story leaves you bewildered, lost and confused- allowing the reader to truly appreciate how living with conditions such as the one that the main character suffers from, actually feels like. Due to the nature of the illness in Curious Case the story is much more straight forward than that in The Shock of The fall and offers an honestly different view of mental health illnesses.

The writing style of the author really lends itself to the storyline, and in places the narrative is truly wonderful and vivid. In addition to this the way this book is written and printed really breaks up the story so you don't have to fight to understand it as much as if it was written in a traditional straight forward manner. Obviously this style also lends itself perfectly to the narrative voice of the main character, Matt, but still evolves with Matt as he gets older, something most authors would have failed to adapt to.

Matt is a stunning character in himself- beautifully portrayed and you can't help but let your heart break for him. His journey is truly interesting and the detail of his personality is vital for the story. I also adored the characters of Matt's parents who take on a background evolution through the book that is also gripping to read and something I havn't really experienced on this scale to much in books before. Again the writing style lends itself to waves and waves of detail which, as I'm sure has become apparent if you keep up to date with this blog, is something I love in books.

I have no real complaints about The Shock of the Fall, a side from I imagine some readers may not enjoy the jumpimg about of the time frame, which I admit does take a little while to get used to, but is not something that really impares the reading of the book. This book is outstanding, a true gem and so worth the read- for all ages (however teenagers please keep in mind that this is not young adult).