Here are my book reviews from January to June of 2015. I decided to break this year into two since I read a considerable amount in half a year (almost the same as ALL of 2014!) All reviews are spoiler free & I’ve given a small summary of the plots. I also have my own rating below each book. There are books I’ve read for uni & for leisure. I read more after my semester had ended since I was quite busy with college work. But anyway, enjoy!
My rating system is as follows:
10/10: Absolute classic/ Mind blowing/ life changing.
9/10: Amazing/ Superb.
8/10: Excellent/ Fantastic.
7/10: Great/ Enjoyable.
6/10: Good/ Solid.
5/10: Average/ Ok.
4/10: Disliked it.
3/10: Detested it.
2/10: Hated it with a passion.
1/10: Shouldn’t have been written/ Absolute Garbage.
1. The Bone Clocks (2014) – David Mitchell.
My third David Mitchell novel, you can see my full review here. Thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It follows the life of Holly Sykes through 6 different time eras. I loved the fantasy elements of this novel, it was so intricately woven throughout. It’s kept interesting by the introduction of many characters who weave in and out of Holly’s story with their own tales to tell. I particularly liked Ed Brubeck’s war stories. Highly recommended, another of Mitchell’s great works!
2. Wuthering Heights (1847) – Emily Brontë.
I’m sorry to all the Brontë fans out there. I just didn’t like this novel. I read this for my Victorian Literature class. The characters were just horrible to one another and they complained about everything. They’re such “woe is me” characters, I just couldn’t stand it. I remember one bit where Heathcliff growled and gnashed like a dog while frothing at the mouth and I was like “I can’t read this. This is awful.” I gave 2 stars for Ellen who had to put up with these annoying characters & another star for the momentary kindness the kids give each other during childhood.
3. Kim (1901) – Rudyard Kipling.
I read this for my Colonial/ Postcolonial Literature class. I enjoyed this. It gave a great insight into the various sects in India and the colonial past of India. I thought Kim’s character was hilarious and he was so sneaky. The story involves Kim, a young boy who goes on a journey with a monk in search of enlightenment (I think!) The espionage is exciting. Kim’s a wee bit racist at times to different ethnic groups & the story does go off point at bit, but a good read all the same.
4. Heart of Darkness (1899) – Joseph Conrad.
Another book I had to read for Colonial/ Postcolonial. Oddly enough, after I read this I kept hearing people referring to it- in books, tv shows, movies. I mean it’s good, but I didn’t think it was that prominent. The book tells the story of a group of explorers in Africa. It describes the natives as cannibals and there is a great discussion on the western perspective and what one considers to be civilised. Great read, and short as well I think.
5. The Lonely Londoners (1956) – Sam Selvon.
Another C/PC book. It tells the story of west Indians who immigrate to London in search of a better life. The language here is colloquial. It’s written who west Indians speak so very interesting! It is a bit hard to read but you get used to it. It gives a good insight into immigrant experience. It is a bit lacking in plot and it’s a bit random.
6. The Moonstone (1868) – Wilkie Collins.
I read this for Victorian. I really enjoyed this. A great detective novel. We’re presented with a lot of perspectives and evidence and it’s like we’ve to figure out who stole the diamond. Great twists throughout!
7. The Pit & the Pendulum (1842) – Edgar Allen Poe.
I just read this because I wanted a little break from college books and it was a pretty quick read. Basically, a man is stuck in a pit and it shows his agony and torture there. Harrowing as usual, but its Poe!
8. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) – Oscar Wilde.
Finally read Wilde, which every Irish person should! Read this for Victorian. This was a great satire on Victorian society and on homosociability. It follows Dorian Gray as he doesn’t age while his painting becomes more decrepit. A lot of social commentary in this novel. A good read for everyone.
9. Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (2012) – Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
A good LGBT novel, and even more because it follows two Mexican boys, so it’s really good for the marginalised out there. It’s a coming of age story of two boys and there lives as the go through there teenage years. Poignant at times, it’ll make you smile. It was slightly repetitive at times & I would’ve like more romance (but that’s just me). A great read all the same.
10. To the Lighthouse (1927) – Virginia Woolf.
One of my friends LOVES Virginia Woolf, so I was looking forward to reading this. I did like this book. I enjoyed the depiction of family life, especially all the tension that was between certain family members. The perception of male/ female was also really interesting.
11. Season of Migration to the North (1966) – Tayeb Salih.
Another C/PC novel. It discuss the idea of hybrid identities. The main character comes home after studying in England. It compares ideas of the West with Africa.
12. The Hobbit (1937) – J.R.R. Tolkien.
A really great fantasy novel. I loved this. I felt it was so fast- paced even though some said it was slow. It was filled with action, drama and laughs. It was a bit tame, but in fairness it was aimed at children. I thought it was superb and had a great flow throughout. Some bits were creepy, like the cave scene with Gollum. By far the best scene in the novel. Can’t wait to tear into LOTR.
13. Good Morning, Midnight (1939) – Jean Rhys.
This period novel gives a depiction of Paris during the 30’s. It involves a woman who seems to be drifting in society. She’s very depressed and lonely and drinks quite a lot (even for me)! It’s mostly just her thoughts and there’s not much plot to it.
14. Guardian (2014) – Alex London.
I adored the prequel to this novel: Proxy. That’s why I was seriously disappointed by this book. I just didn’t have the umph of it’s predecessor. Even the characters seemed to have lost their pizazz. The characters in this book have to fix a problem with society and they spend the whole novel either talking about it or trying to get somewhere. There was nothing really in this, if you get me. The society is also problematic and the disease thing made no sense. It’s also slow to get into.
15. Dubliners (1914) – James Joyce.
My first time reading another of Ireland’s greatest writers – Joyce. I loved this novel. It has a number of short stories following the lives of a number of people living in Dublin. They all have their own stories. It is a great depiction of Dublin’s culture and the city life. It has its laughs, drama, tragedy, etc. My favourites were “After the Race” & “Counterparts” which both involve drinking!. :L I really enjoyed it, a must read!
16. Atonement (2001) – Ian McEwan.
I adore the film, one of my all time favourite films, so I had to read the novel. It’s a brilliant depiction of Pre-WWII & WWII itself. It’s just a beautifully written novel which a great romance. Great characters and settings, there are real harrowing circumstances for each of the characters. Brilliant period drama.
17. Murder on the Orient Express (1934) – Agatha Christie.
My second Christie novel. Another good detective story, not quite as good as Death on the Nile. This didn’t have quite as much drama or build up to it. The murder occurred relatively early in the novel, so most of the novel is just investigation. I would’ve liked more exploration of Istanbul but I suppose it was more about the train. The twist is quite mind blowing though!
18. Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone (1997) – J.K. Rowling.
Ok I’ll be honest, up until now, I’d only read Harry Potter 4-7, I’d never read the first three. I started on 4 and never got around to reading the first 3. But it was an enjoyable and poignant read! Really funny, loved seeing the characters when they were young.
19. The Knife of Never Letting Go (2008) – Patrick Ness.
This was a pretty good dystopian novel, which also had fantasy elements to it. It had a lot of action in it. Todd went through a lot in this novel! It was a really interesting read though because everyone can hear the men’s thoughts so when you read it, there’s the narration and also people’s thoughts. So weird but it really stuck with me! I enjoyed the accents, they were enjoyable. The cliffhangers and travel were good. Looking forward to the next one.
20. The Girl on the Train (2015) – Paula Hawkins.
I rarely pay attention to Best Seller lists, but this sounded similar to Gone Girl and I really wanted another mad twist story but this was just terrible. The characters were pitiful, they were either drunks or having affairs or just plain dim witted. The story really dragged and I felt myself not really caring about any of the characters. I only gets good towards the very end but to be honest, I was pissed off way before that. Not great, to be honest, I wouldn’t pick it up.
21. Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets (1998) – J.K. Rowling.
Enjoyed the 2nd in the HP series. A really enjoyable read, it was a good detective book. It gave a lot of background that would’ve been otherwise missed. I recommend you pick it up!