I won’t include all of the books I bought in my long, long hiatus, because we’ll be here until next January, but I will include the last stack of books I bought with Christmas gift cards and money. I’ll include a brief synopsis, and no doubt exclaim how excited I am to read them – would I be a book blogger if I didn’t?
1. Persuasion by Jane Austen
I have Emma (read) and Mansfield Park (not read) in these Vintage Classics editions, and when Persuasion dropped slightly in price, I decided to add it to the collection. I have now read nearly all of Jane Austen’s bibliography and I must say I will be sad when I run out, which means I’ll be saving the remainder until I need it, as Austen’s writing always seems to have a way of cheering me up.
In this novel, Anne Elliot is reunited with the man she was pressured into refusing to marry, despite being in love with him. However, he no longer seems interested in her romantically, and appears to prefer her friend. The synopsis hints at the exploration of societal pressures of the time, lost romance, unrequited love and friendship, some recurrent themes within Austen’s writing.
2. Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
Having previously read Night Film by this author, I was intrigued when she released a young adult novel. I don’t buy a large amount of young adult books anymore, but I chose this one after hearing the synopsis multiple times and becoming more and more interested.
In this one, the main character Bee’s boyfriend has died under mysterious circumstances and she believes her friends hold some of the answers. I believe there is a strange man who knocks at their door and they become trapped in time until they make a difficult decision. The recurring time theme is one I’m quite interested in, so hopefully this book will be well written and meet my expectations.
3. The Last Children of Tokyo by Yoko Tawada
I read one of Yoko Tawada’s other books Memoirs of a Polar Bear last year and enjoyed it despite the surrealist, and occasionally mind bending nature of it. This prompted me to search for some of the author’s other books, and I became intrigued by this one. It is only a short book, so it won’t take much time to read, but if I enjoy it as much as the other one, then I’ll be very happy with my purchase.
In this book, Yoshiro is an elderly great-grandfather and Mumei is his frail, weak great-grandson. The roles between the old and young are reversed in this novel that explores themes of environment, disease and humanity. Can Mumei stay alive long enough to witness and benefit from a cure?
4. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
I was looking at the Rory Gilmore challenge, saw this book was on there, and realised I had never read it, which I feel I need to rectify. Furthermore, one of my goals for this year is to push myself with older literature as I can often get swept away with new and contemporary releases, despite enjoying a wide variety of genres and time periods.
Huckleberry Finn escapes from an abusive father and travels down the Mississippi river with Jim, a slave with whom he develops a close bond with. The book explores themes of class, race and age in an era when it was controversial to discuss them. Acting as a source of inspiration for many authors, even now, the book holds important messages within its pages.
5. Love’s Labour’s Lost by William Shakespeare
I’ve read a few Shakespeare plays, both in school and during my own leisure reading and I find that once I persuade myself to pick them up, I tend to thoroughly enjoy them. Shakespeare is always a commitment as the language is complex, and something the contemporary reader is not used to within the literature they consume. However, there is always something to gain from a Shakespeare play, and I decided it was about time I read another one.
This particular play is one of Shakespeare’s earlier comedies, which sees the King and his companions choose study over the search for love. However, when the Princess of France, and her ladies-in-waiting arrive, this pledge becomes more difficult than originally planned. Will the men stick to their promise, or will everything go wrong?
6. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Another entry in my ‘I must read more classic literature’ list, and one which I am thoroughly interested in based on it’s ghostly nature. Recently, I have been enjoying novels with a gothic or horrific aspect to them, so this will most likely be read sooner rather than later.
In this book, we see a young governess take charge of two orphans in a country house that becomes increasingly unsettling. She becomes more paranoid that there is a malicious presence out to get the children she is charged with protecting, but is it of a ghostly nature, or is it something else? Oscar Wilde praised this story, so I am more excited than usual to get to it.
7. The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla
I used to be a Sociology student, so any non-fiction that tackles problems with our society, I am eager to read. Here, Nikesh Shukla and twenty other authors explore how it feels to belong to an ethnic group other than white British in Britain today. They explore themes of racism, xenophobia and alienation, amongst others, and I think it will be an important, albeit difficult read.
I will upload reviews of the books, as I read them but if there are any that you’d like me to try and get to first, let me know. Also, if you have any more recommendations for books I should read, especially classics and non-fiction, please leave a comment. Happy reading everyone!