Monday, 8 September 2014

My Summer Reads

This summer was when I came out of my reading slump. At the beginning of the year I finally started reading books for pleasure again rather than because I had to, looking at Photography books is wonderful and researching subjects that interested me for my dissertation was fun too but since then, my main reading material has really been online.

Every time I used to read something would wind up distracting me, I'd end up watching TV or back on my computer, it's not something I'm proud of and I'm not saying reading books is better or worse than either of those things but given that it's actually something I like, it was a bit stupid that I'd denied myself something like that for so long.

A few of the blogs I regularly read, like Becky Bedbug and Vivatramp post book reviews quite often, and this kind of daunted me when it came to sharing this post with you. I wouldn't say I'm a slow reader but sometimes these girls are reading a whole book a week, A WHOLE BOOK, at a normal pace it takes me at least a month.

Maybe I've not quite found 'the one' since jumping back on the horse but here are the 4 reads I've managed to squeeze in since the end of June.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline –
I put off finishing this book for such a long time but once it gets to the middle of part two, it gets really good and really intense. Ready Player One is set in a future where almost nothing takes place in the real world any more, people work, play and are even educated using a MMORPG called, Oasis. The creator of Oasis passes away and sets up challenges within the online world for users to complete in order to win his multimillion dollar fortune.

The comparison of how good someone's life can be online compared to how terrible everything can go in the real world was an aspect that I quite liked. There's lots of commentary on how far technology could go and how damaging it could be to have your life online but on top of that it was just a good teen novel with plenty of thrills.

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk –
This was my holiday-read and the first book I've managed to read in under a week in the longest time. If you've heard of or read it, you'll know why I got a few raised eyebrows when my friends read it over my shoulder. It's kind of messed up, I'm not sure what I was expecting as it was the first Palahniuk book but I wanted something gritty and it definitely delivered.

Exploring so many grotesque themes, it was a little more adult that I was expecting too and it does escalate very quickly but it's also full of dark humour and social commentary (which apparently, I like). Set along a main narrative with short stories in between, I did actually quite enjoy it but felt the ending let it down because it just seemed like such a shrug after all the intense situations that the characters had been through together and shared with each other.

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson –
This actually got Moon into reading more again and he banged on and on about it for the longest time before I finally caved. I can definitely see why he liked it and I actually found it really funny. It does get a bit preachy when it comes to the media showcasing 'the right kind of madness' and exploiting people on television but it's quite fun once you're around halfway through and going about trying to spot psychopaths in your day-to-day life.

I don't usually read non-fiction books for pleasure but this was really easy to get through - I even passed it on to a few people at work. I guess I really learnt that 'psychopath' is used so much in the wrong context in the everyday and you don't have to be a criminal to be one, which is the creepiest thing.

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson –
I read quite a few reviews of this before picking it up and the cover intrigued me for ages. As a Swedish translation, it's a little dry in places but the story of adventure flows well.
I found there were a few historical references that I (shamefully) had to look up later but I really liked this fun story even if took me a little longer than I'd like to fully commit to it.

I felt it was right that I share my little accomplishment with you and figured it would be a good way to motivate myself to get back to reading more again, there are some great books coming out in the next couple of months too.

:: Have you entered my giveaway to win tickets to the Royal Berkshire County Show on the 20th September? ::

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