Thursday, 25 July 2013

Half-a-day reads.

Hey there! Hope you're all fine and dandy. Today I shall be reviewing two books, one old favourite and one new. They each took only half a day to read, and I literally CANNOT RECOMMEND THEM ENOUGH. (But I can try.) 

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
My name is Elizabeth but no one's ever called me that. My father took one look at me when I was born and must have thought I had the face of someone dignified and sad like an old-fashioned queen or a dead person, but what I turned out like is plain, not much there to notice. Even my life so far has been plain. More Daisy than Elizabeth from the word go. 
      But the summer I went to England to stay with my cousins everything changed. Part of that was because of the war, which supposedly changed lots of things, but I can't remember much about life before the war anyway so it doesn't count in my book, which this is
      Mostly everything changed because of Edmond.
      And so here's what happened.

Daisy always been Difficult, Difficult with a capital D. Her mother died when she was very young and her father has now remarried a woman nicknamed 'Davina the Diabolical' by Daisy and her friend Leah. Davina is pregnant and Daisy's father wants to start a new life with her and their baby - and his Difficult teenage daughter, who refuses to eat or make friends, is not part of the plan. So he sends her to England to stay with the aunt and cousins she has never met, and there she meets Osbert, Edmond, Isaac and Piper, with whom she spends the perfect summer - on their idyllic farm in the countryside, the looming threat of WWIII cannot touch them. But no one can stay out of the war's reach forever...

How I Live Now is one of my favourite books ever. I first fell in love with it a few years ago and then about a month ago I was off school "ill". I should have used my day's grace to get done the things that I needed to do, but instead I spent the morning rereading How I Live Now (which I got from the Oxfam bookshop a few months ago), and let me tell you I have no regrets. It is just as I remembered it - absolutely stunning, with a beautiful, winding plot and prose that actually makes me cry. From almost the first page you adore Rosoff's characters and setting, and her writing style is gorgeous. She doesn't use speech marks, but after pretty much the first chapter you stop noticing and it just adds to the book's charm. The funny think about How I Live Now is that it is about, well, incest. But strangely it doesn't seem to matter - Daisy and Edmond are just two teenagers who fall in love and who happen to be cousins. If someone had said to me a few years back, "Hey, Emily, your future favourite book is going to involve incest!" I would've been liked "Whoa no way!" but really that is not the case. As Mark Haddon is quoted on the front cover as saying, How I Live Now is utterly faultless. Now I suggest you go and get a box of tissues because I'm about to share some quotes with you.

I was dying, of course, but then we all are. Every day, in perfect increments, I was dying of loss.

Every war has turning points and every person too.


If you haven't been in a war and are wondering how long it takes to get used to losing everything you think you need or love, I can tell you the answer is no time at all.

[talking about her mother] I sometimes wished someone would just fill me in on the simple boring things like did she have big feet or wear make-up and what was her favourite song and did she like dogs or have a nice voice and what books did she read etc. I made up my mind to ask Aunt Penn some of these questions when she came back from Oslo but I guess what you really want to know are the things you can't ask like Did she have eyes like yours and When you pushed my hair back was that what it feels like to have your mother do it and Did her hands look serious and quiet like yours and Did she ever have a chance to look at me with a complicated expression like the one on your face, and by the way Was she scared to die.

Eventually everyone came out of the water and for hours and hours and hours we lay under the tree and talked and read and occasionally someone got up to throw a stick for the dogs and Piper played with Ding and made tiny woven wreaths of poppies and daisies to decorate his baby horns and Isaac whistled back and forth to a robin and Edmond just lay there smoking and telling me he loved me without saying anything out loud and if there ever was a more perfect day in the history of time it isn't one I've heard about.


(There are a couple of others, beautiful ones, but spoilers. :( )

Rating: 9.8/10 (yes really.) 

Down With Skool by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle


As you will understand if (or should I say WHEN ~hits palm of hand with truncheon~) you read this book, I can't really do the customary extact-from-beginning, so instead, here are some pictures. To give you an idea....
[NOTE: I do not own this image or any of the subsequent ones]







Likewise a summary is preeetty much impossible, so this one will suffice:

There is not much that can be said, except that this book is HILARIOUS AND BRILLIANT IN EVERY WAY SHAPE AND FORM and you should BUY, BORROW, STEAL, ILLEGALLY DOWNLOAD, PURCHASE ON AN EREADER, BUY AN EREADER SO AS YOU CAN PURCHASE IT OR DO WHATEVER ELSE SO AS YOU CAN READ IT.

That is all.

Rating: 109.8/10

Now then you people, get your bums of those sofas/computer chairs/beds/rocks/mantlepieces/thrones/llamas and go and get your hands on both these books! I don't care HOW you do it! (Not killing anyone in the process is advisable, but if that's what you have to do I support you.)


4 comments:

  1. Okay. Down with Skool looks hilarious.

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    1. It is literally SIDE-SPLITTING.

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  2. Down With Skool looks amazing! It sounds so funny!

    (:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gah you should read it, it's so hilarious :')

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Thanks for commenting! :)