I’ve been keeping track of each book I buy, using my Moleskine book journal and I’ve decided that I’ll try and make this part of my blog too.
I bought a fair amount of books this month, and have even read managed to read some of them. Here I will list the titles with a short comment for each on why I bought the book, what I thought (if I’ve read it) or what my hopes for the book are. I will also include snippets from their individual Goodreads synopsis.
Dan and Phil Go Outside – Dan Howell and Phil Lester
Hardback, 224 pages
Published November 3rd 2016, by Ebury Press
A personal collection of candid photos and insightful stories from Dan and Phil’s adventure ‘in the real world’
Dan Howell and Phil Lester, avoiders of human contact and direct sunlight, actually went outside. Travelling around the world on tour, they have collected hundreds of exclusive, intimate and funny photos, as well as revealing and captivating side notes, to show the behind-the-scenes story of their adventure.
Dan and Phil are my favourite YouTubers, and I had to buy their book as soon as I saw it in the shops. However, if I had been a bit more patient and waited one more day to buy it, I would have got it for a cheaper price! Instead, I paid pretty much full price for this book, which I wouldn’t normally do. But these two guys are worth it.
I have read this book since buying it, and you can read my review here:
Teen-centric, quirky and romantic, Translucent will appeal to shojo fans who like a little twist with their gakuen mono! Shizuka is an introverted girl, dealing with schoolwork, boys, and a medical condition that begins to turn her invisible! She finds support with Mamoru, a boy who is falling for Shizuka despite her condition, and with Keiko, another girl who suffers from this illness and has finally turned completely invisible. The mysterious disease that these teens struggle with becomes a metaphor in the ordinary lives of the students in their classes, as they try to work their way through their friendships and romances. Writer and artist Kazuhiro Okamoto knows how important surfaces are to people, especially at such a pivotal time in one’s life — when dreams are meant to be chased, despite all hurdles. Translucent’s shifting variables between what people can see, what people think they see, and what people wish to see in themselves and others makes for an emotionally sensitive manga, peppered with moments of surprising humor, heartbreak and drama.
I’m not a ‘shojo’ fan and I don’t know what ‘gakuen mono’ is. I’m not a manga reader. So why did I buy this book? I found it in a local bookshop where all the books are either £1 or £2 each. The title attracted me, so I read the blurb, and that convinced me to buy it.
The premise is one I can get along with. A girl who turns invisible? Right up my street. It’s a bonus that this book happens to be manga, because I’ve been wanting to read manga for a while but haven’t found one that I wanted, until now!
I;m hoping that I’ll get along with the right-to-left reading format, and I’m looking forward to reading something completely new to me.
A Girl Called Jack – Jack Monroe
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 27th 2014, by Michael Joseph
100 easy and delicious meals on a tight budget with Jack Monroe’s A Girl Called Jack.
Jack is a cash-strapped single mum living in Southend. When she found herself with a shopping budget of just £10 a week to feed herself and her young son, she addressed the situation with immense resourcefulness, creativity and by embracing her local supermarket’s ‘basics’ range. She created recipe after recipe of delicious, simple and upbeat meals that were outrageously cheap. Learn with Jack Monroe’s A Girl Called Jack how to save money on your weekly shop whilst being less wasteful and creating inexpensive, tasty food.
Recipes include Vegetable Masala Curry for 30p a portion, Pasta alla Genovese for 19p a portion, Fig, Rosemary and Lemon Bread for 26p and a Jam Sponge reminiscent of school days for 23p a portion.
I’m a terrible cook. I can just about manage boiling up some pasta, and baking some cookies and brownies for pudding. But that’s it, that’s all you’re getting. Part of the reason why I don’t cook is because I can’t afford to buy all the ingredients, and I don’t have the time or motivation to prepare and cook a proper meal.
Food and me don’t always agree, but there’s a part of me that itches to get in the kitchen and make something nice from scratch. I went to see Jack do a talk entitled ‘Queer, Austere and Here’ as part of Nottingham Festival of Literature, and this is what led be to buy their book.
I haven’t attempted to cook anything yet, because I haven’t had the time, but I’ll definitely have a look at the tips for eating on a budget and changing shopping habits. But it’s hardly a book I’m going to read from cover to cover. I also paid full price for this…which defeats the idea of sticking to a budget…but I did get it signed by Jack so that’s a bonus!
Lighthousekeeping – Jeanette Winterson
Paperback, 232 pages
Published in 2004 by 4th Estate
My mother called me Silver. I was born part precious metal, part pirate.
Orphaned and anchorless, Silver is taken in by blind Mr. Pew, the mysterious and miraculously old keeper of the Cape Wrath lighthouse. Pew tells Silver ancient tales of longing and rootlessness, of journeys that move through place and time, of passion and betrayal. His stories center on Babel Dark, a local nineteenth-century clergyman who lived two lives: a public one mired in darkness and a private one bathed in a beacon of light. Pew’s stories are, for Silver, a map through her own particular darkness, into her own story and, finally, into love.
With Lighthousekeeping, Winterson begins a new cycle and a return to the lyrical intimacy of her earliest work. One of the most original and extraordinary writers of her generation, Winterson has created a modern fable about the transformative power of storytelling.
Jeanette Winterson is one of my favourite writers. Whenever I see a book by her, I buy it. I haven’t read many of her books, but she is so quotable and brilliant to read that I refuse to leave behind any book of hers that I come across. I didn’t even read the blurb to this book, I simply saw it and bought it.
Winterson is an imaginative writer who goes beyond the ordinary and I’m hoping that this will be no different. It might end up on a pile of her other books for a while, but nevertheless I will treasure it until I come to read it (at which point I hope I’ll love it).
What I do: More True Tales of Everyday Craziness – Jon Ronson
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 2nd 2007, by Picador
In “What I Do: More True Tales of Everyday Craziness,” the second volume of Jon Ronson’s collected Guardian journalism, he hilariously demonstrates how our everyday lives are determined by the craziest thoughts and obsessions; how we spend our time believing in and getting worked up by complete nonsense. But also, as he chillingly demonstrates, there are clever people working in the highest echelons of business who are employed to spot, nurture and exploit the irrationalities of those among us who can barely cope as it is.
For a long time this book was known as ‘the only Jon Ronson book I haven’t read’ but all that was fixed when I went to see his talk ‘Psychopath Night’. Afterwards, I met him and I still can’t believe it was real.
I found the book at the event and bought it immediately (paying full price, but again it was worth it because he signed it).
I’ve since read the book, and you can read my review and more about meeting Jon here:
The Happy Reader
Paperback, 64 pages
Published November 10th 2016, by Penguin Classics
Editor-in-chief: Seb Emina
The eighth issue of The Happy Reader, the bookish quarterly published by Penguin Classics in collaboration with Fantastic Man
Technically this is a magazine, but since it is bookish in every way and has its own ISBN number, I think we can safely add it to a list of books. This is my favourite magazine, and what is great about this issue is…I’m in it! I wrote a letter which got published, so this is automatically my favourite purchase of November.
You can read my review of the issue, and more about my letter here:
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
Paperback, 50th Anniversary Edition, 211 pages
Published in 2004, by Voyager
The terrifyingly prophetic novel of a post-literate future.
Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.
I waited and waited to find a cheap copy of this book, and it was well worth it! I finally found it and read it straight away. It’s an incredible classic which every book lover should read. I highly recommend getting the 50th Anniversary Edition because of the inspiring introduction and afterword written by the author.
I have read and reviewed this one, and you can read it here:
Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi
Paperback, 343 pages
Published March 6th 2008, by Vintage
The Story of a Childhood and The Story of a Return
The intelligent and outspoken child of radical Marxists, and the great-grandaughter of Iran’s last emperor, Satrapi bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. This is a beautiful and intimate story full of tragedy and humour – raw, honest and incredibly illuminating.
This is the book I’m currently reading. I was told before I started it that it is an eye-opening read and I am inclined to agree. The comic strip format is something new to me, but it is the perfect way to tell a story such as this.
It is a true story, and although the subject matter is serious, the author includes plenty of funny moments that will endear you to her and her family throughout the book. I’ll be finishing this one soon, so keep an eye out for my review!