While debating literature’s greatest heroines with her best friend, thirtysomething playwright Samantha Ellis has a revelation—her whole life, she’s been trying to be Cathy Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights when she should have been trying to be Jane Eyre.
With this discovery, she embarks on a retrospective look at the literary ladies—the characters and the writers—whom she has loved since childhood. From early obsessions with the March sisters to her later idolization of Sylvia Plath, Ellis evaluates how her heroines stack up today. And, just as she excavates the stories of her favorite characters, Ellis also shares a frank, often humorous account of her own life growing up in a tight-knit Iraqi Jewish community in London. Here a life-long reader explores how heroines shape all our lives.
In a dusty library, in the quietest corner of a house in a Tokyo suburb, live the Little People: Fern and Balbo, Robin and Iris. Just a few inches high, sleeping cigarette boxes and crafting shoes from old book jackets, they need only one thing from their Humans–a nightly glass of milk, served in a sparkling blue glass goblet, by a trusted young member of the Human family.
But when the Second World War come to Japan, both Humans and their beloved Little People face a world they could never before have imagined. It will take great love, bravery, and a rather loyal pigeon, to bring their unique families back together once more…
First published: 1959 (in Japanese); this translation/edition is from 2018 by Pushkin Press
**I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
One of the many things I love about being a part of the online reading community is how you get a peek into other people’s reading lives. Stripped down to its bare bones, reading is a pretty solitary hobby; you get yourself a book, you sit down (or lie down, or stand – whatever floats your boat) and you read that book. It’s just you and the characters, the story and the world of the book. It doesn’t feel lonely at all (this is something most readers will agree upon, I think), but it is something you do alone, most of the time.
And then you go online and talk about that book you’ve read with other people all over the world who also love to read. I love it! I’m very lucky to also have friends who love to read and love to talk about reading, but I’ve seen quite a lot of people within the community say how happy they are to finally be able to talk about books with other people who understand. I just think that’s wonderful.
Following the death of his mother, Max Friedman comes to believe that he is sharing his brain with a tumour. As he becomes focused on controlling the malignant tenant, he starts to lose touch with his friends and family, and with reality itself – so Max’s father sends him off to the artsy Baldwin School to regain his footing.
Soon, Max has joined a group of theatre misfits in a steam-punk production of Hamlet. He befriends Fish, a girl with pink hair and a troubled past, and The Monk, a boy who refuses to let go of the things he loves. Max starts to feel happy, and the ghosts of his past seem to be gone for ever.
But the tumour is always lurking in the wings – until one night it knocks him down, and Max is forced to face the truth.
Published by Pushkin Press in 2018
**I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.
First published: 2017
The year is almost over, which means it’s time for the End of Year Book Survey, brainchild of the wonderful Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner! My reading goal for this year was to read 35 books. It was a bit lower than previous years, but I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself, especially considering the fact that at the beginning of 2017 I had no idea what my life would look like at the end of it. I managed to read those 35 books, and I’m currently half way through the 36th. I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to finish that one before the new year, though, because I’ve got over 250 pages left to read and there’s only 4 more hours in 2017, which I won’t be spending with a book
I had a fun reading year! Of course, there were so many more books I wish I’d read this year, but that would be the case even if I’d read over a 100 books. So, I’m pretty content! Most of my reads were 4 or 5 star ones; I guess that’s the advantage of not being able to read that many books and being extra picky about choosing my next read.
Anyway, there are about a million questions to get through, so let’s get to it!
We’re eleven days into the Festive Fortnight, so it’s high time for a book tag! I went in search of a fun Christmas-themed one and Google brought me the Twelve Days of Christmas Book Tag via XingSings. I’ve been reminded once more of how bad I am at making choices; picking books for the answers to these questions was so hard. But I did, so let’s get into it straight away!
The Twelve Days of Christmas
ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE.
The partridge stood alone in the pear tree. What is your favourite stand alone?
Man, we’re jumping straight into the deep end, aren’t we? This question tore me up inside, but in the end I’m going for Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. I might change my mind again tomorrow, but that’s okay. This is one of my favourite books ever! It’s got so much love and heart and it’s just wonderful. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve recommended it to.
“I need you to be my person. I need to see you. And hear you. I need you to stay alive. And I need you to stop kissing other people just because they’re standing next to you when the ball drops.”
Two festive short stories
Midnights is the story of Noel and Mags, who meet at the same New Year’s Eve party every year and fall a little more in love each time…
Kindred Spirits is about Elena, who decides to queue to see the new Star Wars movie and meets Gabe, a fellow fan.
First published: 2017
Last weekend, my boyfriend and I took the train to Amsterdam for a fun day out together. I was planning on taking some nice festive pictures of all the Christmas lights, but it was pouring rain when we got there, which was a bit of a bummer. We still had a great day, though! We spent some time wandering around town, had great food, and visited an interesting exhibition on Medieval times at a museum.
And then, of course, there were the bookshops. Oh, the bookshops… I love them so! I was planning on buying some books in Amsterdam since I still had some book vouchers, but I didn’t expect we’d come home with eight of them! Eight is enough to warrant a good book haul, right? Right! Let’s go!
I’m sure most of us can list a couple of things we don’t like about winter, like the cold or how it gets dark so frickin’ early (if you sense some frustration here… you might be right), but isn’t it way more fun to talk about our favourite things about winter instead?
My favourite thing about winter is how cosy everything gets. Part of that has to do with Christmas (which is my other favourite thing about winter) and all the lights going up around town. But it also has to do with the cosiness of being at home in a warm jumper with a cup of tea and a blanket. And books, of course. I’ve been loving curling up with a book on the couch at night after work. There’s just something extra special about doing that when it’s cold and dark out.
That’s why today, on the third day of my Festive Fortnight, I’m sharing with you a list of five books that I think are perfect for curling up on the couch with. It’s a bit of a random list in terms of what’s on it, but I thought to myself “which books would I love to read around Christmas when it’s cold outside?” and these are the books I came up with.