In my mailbox is a meme that can be found over at The Story Siren, intending to share any books bought/gifted/borrowed over time. I’ve decided to post these on Wednesdays sporadically, with the intention to share what I’ve got my hands on recently. Thanks to primarily Goodreads and Amazon for blurbs and covers. Links provided if you’re interested in buying any of the books, or reading a few reviews.
Okay, I said I wouldn’t, then I found good books… don’t judge me! In fairness though, I spent £1.50 on this list of books, I spent £2 on my cuddly toy seal called Bob and my new scarf. And it all goes to a good cause, so hey ho. I have another incoming too, because I couldn’t find anywhere on the Marian Keyes book telling me it was the bloody 4th in the series, that will be included in next week’s I suppose. And hopefully, I’ll have my (non-spoilery) review of Assassin’s Quest up tomorrow, if not, Friday. I’d like to write a few more posts over here but I’m not really sure what to write about aside from these memes and the odd review when I finish a book, but I’m a slow reader so as long as it isn’t about gaming, which I’d like to keep to the Menagerie, suggestions are very welcome in the comments or wherever you would prefer to contact me.
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
Set in the deep American south between the wars, this is the classic tale of Celie, a young poor black girl. Raped repeatedly by her father, she loses two children and then is married off to a man who treats her no better than a slave. She is separated from her sister Nettie and dreams of becoming like the glamorous Shug Avery, a singer and rebellious black woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the support of women that enables her to leave the past behind and begin a new life.
Recommended to me when I was a teen, probably 16 or 17, and even lent to me once, and I still haven’t read it at the age of 22. I’ve heard how fantastic The Color Purple is, and I have been intending to read it for so long that when browsing in the charity shop, I was ecstatic when I spotted it, and the copy looks unread, brand new except for a small dent in the cover. A brilliant find.
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Some books defy categorisation: Life of Pi, the second novel from Canadian writer Yann Martel, is a case in point: just about the only thing you can say for certain about it is that it is fiercely and admirably unique. The plot, if that’s the right word, concerns the oceanic wanderings of a lost boy, the young and eager Piscine Patel of the title (Pi). After a colourful and loving upbringing in gorgeously-hued India, the Muslim-Christian-animistic Pi sets off for a fresh start in Canada. His blissful voyage is rudely interrupted when his boat is scuppered halfway across the Pacific, and he is forced to rough it in a lifeboat with a hyena, a monkey, a whingeing zebra and a tiger called Richard. That would be bad enough, but from here on things get weirder: the animals start slaughtering each other in a veritable frenzy of allegorical bloodlust, until Richard the tiger and Pi are left alone to wander the wastes of ocean, with plenty of time to ponder their fate, the cruelty of the gods, the best way to handle storms and the various different recipes for oothappam, scrapple and coconut yam kootu. The denouement is pleasantly neat. According to the blurb, thirtysomething Yann Martel spent long years in Alaska, India, Mexico, France, Costa Rica, Turkey and Iran, before settling in Canada. All those cultures and more have been poured into this spicy, vivacious, kinetic and very entertaining fiction. —Sean Thomas
I spotted this one on The Book Show. I suppose I had heard of it before that, but I hadn’t bothered to read the blurb, or find out what it was about. I’m still not entirely certain, if I’m honest, but that’s the point in reading something isn’t it – to discover what happens to who, how, and why. It was on my wishlist and so I bought it when I saw it in the shop. I think I spotted this one upstairs in one of the boxes, probably the wrong box (all of the books are in boxes in alphabetical order, wouldn’t be surprised if I found this in the M or P box), or perhaps it was on the shelf, I can’t remember now.
The Boleyn Inheritance – Philippa Gregory
The year is 1539 and the court of Henry VIII is increasingly fearful at the moods of the ageing sick king. With only a baby in the cradle for an heir, Henry has to take another wife and the dangerous prize of the crown of England is won by Anne of Cleves.
She has her own good reasons for agreeing to marry a man old enough to be her father, in a country where to her both language and habits are foreign. Although fascinated by the glamour of her new surroundings, she senses a trap closing around her. Katherine is confident that she can follow in the steps of her cousin Anne Boleyn to dazzle her way to the throne but her kinswoman Jane Boleyn, haunted by the past, knows that Anne’s path led to Tower Green and to an adulterer’s death.
The story of these three young women, trying to make their own way through the most volatile court in Europe at a time of religious upheaval and political uncertainty, is Philippa Gregory’s most compelling novel yet.
Tudor Historical fiction!! You might notice a slight theme here. I came in in the morning and spotted these 3 on the desk ready to go upstairs into their respective boxes, I believe. Three quite good quality, read, but not tatty, copies of books that to me sound very, very interesting. Need I say much more? I’m really craving the rest of their Tudor fiction, both Gregory and Weir’s, and I know I should back off, I already had one of each of their books but they sound so good.
The Queen’s Fool – Philippa Gregory
Mary and Elizabeth, the two young princesses, have a common goal: to be Queen of England. To achieve this, they need both to win the love of the people and learn how to negotiate dangerous political pitfalls. Gregory recreates this era with tremendous colour, and she makes the court an enticing but danger-fraught place. Into this setting comes the eponymous fool, the youthful Hannah, who (despite her air of guileless religiousness) is not naive. She soon finds herself having to deal with the beguiling but treacherous Robert Dudley. Dispatched to report on Princess Mary, Hannah discovers in her a passionate religious conviction (to return England to the rule of Rome and its pope) that will have fatal consequences.
The Six Wives of Henry VIII – Alison Weir
16th Century court politics and intrigue through the eyes of six of the most important women of their time.
One of the most powerful monarchs in British history, Henry VIII ruled England in unprecedented splendour. In this remarkable composite biography, Alison Weir brings Henry’s six wives vividly to life, revealing each as a distinct and compelling personality in her own right. Drawing upon the rich fund of documentary material from the Tudor period, The Six Wives of Henry VIII shows us a court where personal needs frequently influenced public events and where a life of gorgeously ritualized pleasure was shot through with ambition, treason and violence.
Anybody Out There (Walsh Family #4) – Marian Keyes
Anna Walsh is officially a wreck. Physically broken and emotionally shattered, she lies on her parents’ Dublin sofa with only one thing on her mind: getting back to New York. New York means her best friends, The Most Fabulous Job In The World™ and above all, it means her husband, Aidan.
But nothing in Anna’s life is that simple anymore… Not only is her return to Manhattan complicated by her physical and emotional scars – but Aidan seems to have vanished. Is it time for Anna to move on? Is it even possible for her to move on? A motley group of misfits, an earth-shattering revelation, two births and one very weird wedding might help Anna find some answers – and change her life forever.
Sometimes I like to indulge in a little chick-lit. Let’s call it a guilty pleasure, but in reality I’m not at all guilty about it as I read for pleasure. Sure, the more I read the more it helps with my own writing, but it’s a hobby, and so I can read what I want and if I want to read chick-lit I will God damnit. I’d noticed Marian Keyes novels in the shop a fair bit over the past few months, so after asking the opinion of the lady I work with on Saturdays, who does remind me a fair bit of myself and I value her opinion on such matters, I decided to grab one of her books. There were 2 in the K box, this and one about an editor who’s sent to Ireland to work or something. I picked this one anyway after triple checking it wasn’t the 2nd in the series or something, got home, went onto Goodreads, found out it was in fact 4th in the series. So I have the 1st on its way now, a second hand copy from Amazon.