Thursday, 22 May 2014

September to May: A Bookish Tour (Part 1)

Hello all.

Since I started this blog, a big part of it has been books and reading - as you know, I do quite a lot of reviewing - and so today I'm going to take you on a (very) whirlwind tour of what I read during my hiatus. Sometimes I feel like a one- or two-sentence review is as good as a few paragraphs, which is good because that's all you're getting today!

Come to the Edge by Joanna Kavenna

When our narrator leaves comfortable suburban life for a so-called farm retreat she doesn't know what she's getting into, and as she embarks on life in the country with Cassandra White, a hardened widow of questionable sanity in a house with no heating and some psychotic goats, it is far more difficult than she imagined. But  an unlikely friendship forms, and before she knows it, she is involved in a mad (and legally dubious) Utopian scheme to reclaim the valley for the locals ...

What can I say about Come to the Edge? It was a hilarious and brilliantly wicked satire that was utterly impossible to put down. The writing was excellent, the plot original and fantastic and the social commentary extremely timely and compelling. It was also soul-destroying. But you know as well as I that the more emotional devastation a paperback can wreak ... the more we want to read it.

Rating: 9/10. I'm serious guys. Read. This. Book.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Margaret Hale has lived all her life in her idyllic Hampshire village but as the story begins she is uprooted as her family moves to the industrial town of Milton in the North of England. As the title suggests, the two regions and peoples are juxtaposed as Margaret finds herself in a world that is totally unfamiliar.

This was a very enjoyable novel - despite the fact that the blurb of my copy made the ending as predictable as anything! Margaret was a little annoying at times - seriously, must you start crying again?? - but there were some excellent subplots and I did think it was beautifully written. 
Rating: 8/10

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

A novel set in 1952 India, just after independence from the British Empire, A Suitable Boy is a novel with amazing scope as it tells the story of four large families against the backdrop of a country reeling between the traditional and the modern as it faces elections and bloody Hindu-Muslim tensions.

I absolutely adored this book. Yes, it was nearly 1500 pages and yes, it took me four months to read it (that is a third of my year, guys, with only a brief break for Georgia Nicolson and Skulduggery Pleasant) but as you may be able to see, the quote from The Times on the front says: "Make time for it. It will keep you company for the rest of your life." These are true words indeed, because this was a stunning, epic and beautiful novel. It was funny and tragic, showing with incredible warmth the relationships of four families and their marriages, children and parents; I feel that it captured perfectly both the love and the constraints present in family life. Oh, and it taught me a lot about India. I can't go through it character by character, subplot by subplot, or we'd be here all night, but I really wholeheartedly recommend it. Even though it may take four months of your life ... you will not regret it.
Rating: 9/10

Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men by Derek Landy

I can't really give a blurby-thing for this without spoilers for the previous books in the series, but here's a few things to sum the whole series up. Awesome magic. Fighting. Satire. Hilarious characters (with brilliant names). A talking skeleton (he's a detective). Almost the end of the world. And a lot of other stuff.

This is one of my favourite fantasy series - second (or third, I guess) only to Harry Potter and Narnia. I know a lot of you readers are self-proclaimed fantasy fans, so if you've not heard of these books you should go and read them right now. They're just awesome. And well written. And hilarious. And Irish. And the plots are fantastic, and the friendship between the main characters (Skulduggery and Valkyrie) is one of my favourite book relationships. Or rather, favourite relationships full stops. (Because we all know that real-life relationships aren't much cop.)
Rating: 9/10

OK, so, those are the first four books in the epic tale of What-I-Have-Read-Since-September. Tell me, do you prefer short reviews like these or the longer ones like I normally do? Hope you read ALL of these books!

Emily x


  1. aw yay emily, i'm just so glad that you're definitely back *hugs*.

    a suitable boy's cover though - it's so pretty!

    aaaaand could i invite you to write a blog post at my blog? because you're baaaaacccckkkkkk and i want to be the first to have an emily etc guest post thing (:


    1. I definitely am!

      I know! My copy is even prettier though *__*


  2. oh and HEY EMILY, who made your blog button type thing?

    1. A girl called Lucy from what was called The Teenage Memoirs. It is now coming up on my blogs' list as being called LSXB, but it says she's not posted for four months. I don't though, because sometimes url changes mean the posts stop streaming to your feed, so maybe she is still active - I'm just not sure. Sorry to be of so little help!


Thanks for commenting! :)