Shelved: Romance (Adult novel, Realistic fiction)
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books, 480 pages
Release date: January 5th 2012
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.
For many of us, Christmas is synonymous with days spent eating, sleeping and reading reading reading. I’ve got a pile of books sitting on my desk, ready to be DEVOURED and I’m so excited to get into them as soon as humanely possible. So here are some of the books on my reading list for the end of 2015!
The Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling
Yes, you heard correctly. The ENTIRE Harry Potter series. When I was younger I sporadically read a few books out of order, but never all at once with the full experience. I’ve been delving in and out of Hogwarts for the past week now (I’m up to Goblet of Fire) and it feels like coming home. As you can see, all of the books I own are second hand (except for Prisoner of Azkaban, which I borrowed from the library because I have yet to find it in its Bloomsbury edition). I am so engrossed in this series at the moment, it’s hard to read anything else!
Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall
What a lovely cover! I read A Little Something Different and absolutely adored it, I was so happy to get my hands on Sandy Hall’s latest book. From what I’ve read so far, it has all the components of a happy little young adult novel – sweet romance, summer holidays, babysitting jobs, everything sweet and fun and easy to read.
The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
Yes finally! It IS HERE. I’ve heard so many good things about this book and I’m studying Nazi Germany in Modern History right now, so this will definitely be an interesting read for me.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Just because this is a prescribed text from school, doesn’t mean I’m not super excited to start reading it. I’m horrible with classics, but I’ve heard so many great things about this book so I’m PUMPED. (Also, age-gap novels are my guilty pleasure. Oops.)
Shelved: Young adult fiction ( LGBTQ, Romance), historical fiction
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing paperback, 384 pages
Release date: September 20th 2011
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.
But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
Shelved: Young adult fiction (Contemporary, LGBTQ, Romance)
Publisher: Penguin Books paperback, 303 pages
Release date: April 7th 2015
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
I pride myself in being an avid reader – someone who devours books and loves them with every ounce of my little being. Alas, I am but a tiny 16 year-old girl with not enough time on her hands and not enough mental capacity to fully comprehend Old English. I am a child of the modern era, the kindles, the e-books, the crappy $12 Young Adult Fantasy fiction. And I am absolutely in love with it.
I have a very clear memory of my childhood that haunts me to this very day: I’m 10 years old and borrowing my favourite Candy Apple pre-teen novel about cheerleaders and cute boys, when my librarian shoots me an unnerving glance. The look on her face is one that I can still envision now; the very face of coffee-drained teachers that stays imprinted in my mind to eternally disgrace me: the look of disappointment. At the time, I was unaware and oblivious of the problem. I had no idea what I was doing wrong or why I felt so guilty. She scanned my book and said, “You’re too old to be reading books like that. Your reading level is advanced, why not read some classic novels?” Cue ominous music. I remember the feeling of shame, humiliation, embarrassment. She thought I was smart. She thought I was too good for childish books. And here I was, holding a sparkly pink 100-page flimsy novel for kids. So even though Candy Apple books were my favourite books of all time as a 10 year-old, I put all my childish books under the bed and forced myself to read like a “big kid”.
And here comes the period of early adolescence, a time of secrecy and discretion. I was twelve, and struggling to get through Jane Eyre. I was thirteen and hiding The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants beneath Oliver Twist. I was reading about 18th century class-systems when all I wanted to do was read a damn book about teenagers falling in love. What was so unappealing about modern novels written for 15 year old girls? They were heartfelt, honest and true.
The hierarchy of classic literature domineering over contemporary novels is something that has haunted me for my entire life. Even to this day, I feel more confident holding To Kill a Mockingbird in public than a cheesy chick-lit book covered in pink hearts. Evidently, classics are eternal and profoundly beautiful. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be classics. But at the same time, contemporary novels are a work of art; they are aimed at a new audience of tech-savvy kids. I’m tired of hearing old art teachers telling me that the book industry has gone downhill. The book industry is not deteriorating, it’s evolving! We are a society that is changing and progressing and constantly in motion, it’s no surprise that our words are developing with us. We have learned to write about new issues and new themes that can still transcend time and stay relevant. If Jane Austen was all about class-structure and socialisation of gentry, John Green is all about kids having fun and going on road trips and falling in love. They are both examples of authors whose writing is influenced by their environment.
As for the actual production of literature, there is the endless debate of e-books verses printed novels. I personally don’t own a kindle and haven’t read many books online, but I definitely don’t see the issue with it. We are reading the same words, we are feeling the same emotions. E-books are simply a different medium. It’s especially easier for those who aren’t able to access specific books, or for people who don’t want to spend $30 for a hardback. What about readers with vision impairments? One of the advantages of online reading is that text size and brightness are adjustable. Unlike physical books, e-books can be read in the dark. You can have multiple stories on one device. Isn’t that beautiful? Isn’t the evolution of language something that amazes you?
I often wonder what people did when the steam powered-printing press was invented. Mass printing of novels and newspapers meant that a colossal amount of ordinary citizens were able to access the written word for much cheaper. Did the old-fashioned traditional people of the Industrial Revolution say “No! We don’t need your technological advancements that actually benefit us a society! We want the old way back!”? It’s crazy to think about how history is merely a reflection of everything that surrounds us. Why do we reject the progression of our own society? Humans are innately so afraid of change and so hungry for comfort that we don’t realise that sometimes its beneficial for us to move on from our old ways.
In summation of this unnecessarily convoluted rant, we need to accept modernisation in the book industry. We need to glorify, venerate, romanticise books about vampires and werewolves and 16 year-old girls. We need to stop hating on people who read e-books! It’s time for us to end this eternal battle of classics over contemporary. There is no shame in adults reading picture books. There is no guilt in loving every cliche John Green YA quote there is. There is no need to hate someone who loves a book. No matter what kind of book it is, whether it be from the 1930s or the 2000s. A book is a book, and book-lovers need to stick together. If not, I guess you can go back to churning butter or reading hieroglyphics.
Shelved: Historical fiction (Mystery, Romance)
Publisher: Michael Joseph paperback, 589 pages
Release date: February 1st 2011
Fifteen year-old Belle has lived in a brothel in Seven Dials all her life, with no understanding of what happens in the rooms upstairs. But her innocence is shattered when she witnesses the murder of one of the girls and, subsequently snatched from the streets by the killer, she is sold into prostitution in Paris. No longer mistress of her own fate, Belle is blown across the globe to sensuous New Orleans where she comes of age and learns to enjoy life as a courtesan. Yet thoughts of home and the knowledge her status as golden girl cannot last compel her to break out of her gilded cage.But Belle finds escaping tougher than she imagined, for her life is threatened by desperate men who crave her beauty and attention. Armed only with resourcefulness and spirit, she has a long and dangerous journey ahead of her. Will courage be enough to sustain her? Can she make it back to her family and friends and find her chance at true happiness?
Shelved: Young adult fiction (Contemporary, LGBTQ, Romance)
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont paperback, 288 pages
Release date: February 1st 2015
Seventeen-year-old Delilah’s crazy life is about to get crazier. Ever since her father took off overseas, she’s been struggling to run the family’s cafe without him and survive high school. But after a misjudged crush on one of the cool girls, Del’s become the school punchline as well. With all that’s on her plate she barely has time for her favourite distraction – spying on the beautiful Rosa, who dances flamenco at the tapas bar across the road. All this leaves Del grappling with some seriously curly questions. Is it okay to break the law to help a friend? How can a girl tell another girl she likes her without it ending in humiliation and heartbreak? And – the big one – is it ever truly possible to dance in public without falling over?
In the grand scheme of things, I’ve probably got around a hundred favourite books. I love every piece of literature I’ve ever read (well, okay, almost every piece), but only a few books get a special place in my
heart Favourites shelf on Goodreads. These are the books that have made me cry just because I was sad that I finished reading them. These books will stay with me for years and years because they’ve left such a large stain on my heart, and I sincerely hope you’ll consider reading a few! Click on the book covers for goodreads links.
13. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
More gorgeous covers! I didn’t expect to love this book so much, but as a horribly superstitious art student, I felt like this book was speaking to me. Love the characters, love the plot, love the cute-photographer-indie-leather-jacket-love-interest. Love, love, love.
12. I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip by John Donovan
Apparently this is the first ever LGBTQ novel, first published in 1969. Unbelievably ahead of its time, this is also my favourite LGBTQ novel. It realistically deals with the hardships of romance and heartbreak through the lives of two young boys in the backdrop of a city scene.
11. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Gorgeous, dreamy, American suburban reverie. Love the language and structure, love the characters and minimalist plot. Eugenides is a genius story-teller! And also I bought this lovely book second-hand for $2, which means I love it even more.
10. The Real of Possibility by David Levithan
I don’t even know how to explain how much I love Levithan’s writing. His prose is magic but his poetry is a whole new level of beautiful. Definitely a quick read that will stay with you for a long time even after the last page.
9. Looking For Alaska by John Green
I’m such a teenage cliche but this is such an amazing book! If you haven’t read it already, you probably should. John Green has a way with words that makes you feel like you’re on one giant adventure.
8. The Anatomy of Being by Shinji Moon
Shinji Moon is quite possibly my favourite poet of the 21st century. This is such an amazing collection of poetry, I don’t even know how to explain how much I love it. It’s a very short book, so if you have the chance, you should definitely give it a go!
7. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Ummm unconventionally beautiful heroine and racially diverse romantic interest in the 80’s? Sounds like a book for me. I swear to God this book was so heavy and full of life. All the songs and the cheesy sappy dumb lines just makes me want to restart my life as a teenager. Honestly.