Top 10 Tuesdays: Top 10 Authors I’d Love to Meet

Top 10 Tuesdays: Top 10 Authors I’d Love to Meet

Hello, lovelies!

Welcome back to another Top 10 Tuesday! I hope you’ve all had a great start to your week!

If you’re not familiar with Top 10 Tuesday, it’s hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl and features a different book related topic each week. This week weeks topic is the ‘Top 10 Authors I’d Love to Meet’.

I’ve decided to put my own spin on this week’s topic to include authors past and present as a lot of the authors that came to my mind are no longer with us.

If you’re also taking part in this weeks Top 10 Tuesday or if you’ve done a similar post in the past then please leave a link to your post in the comments and I’ll check it out.

 

  1. Fredrik Backman

 

If you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you would have seen this one coming. I adore Frederick Backman’s books and would love the chance to meet him and hear all about the inspiration behind some of his eccentric characters.

 

  1. J. R.R Tolkien

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Tolkien is possibly my favourite storyteller of all time. No one can immerse their reader in a fictitious world quite like he does.

 

  1. Emily Bronte

As an English Literature graduate, it was hard not to make this list 100% classical authors. I’ve narrowed it down to a select few and obviously, Emily Bronte had to be on this list. I love all of the Bronte sisters writing but there is something so unique and inspiring about Emily’s work which makes her my favourite.

 

  1. Charles Dickens

I honestly don’t have a reason for including Dickens on this list other than its Dickens?!

 

  1. Suzanne Collins

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I would love to meet Suzanne Collins just to say thank you for writing the Hunger Games trilogy. These books shaped my teenage years and they are still amongst my favourite reads of all time.

 

  1. Daniel Handler/Lemony Snicket

Daniel Handler is a brilliant author and exceptional storyteller. The diversity in his writing abilities is inspiring and I’d love to find out how he goes from a dark and quirky mystery like ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ to a teen romance story like ‘Why We Broke Up’.

 

  1. F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Just picture it, it’s the 1920’s, you’re in Paris in some sophisticated bar full of societies elite, you’re wearing an elegant dress with your hair pinned up and you’re sipping colorful cocktails whilst listening to some of the most outrageous anecdotes from Fitzgerald. Now doesn’t that sound like pure perfection?

 

  1. John Green

This is an obvious choice but I am a big John Green fan and I feel like we would have some interesting conversations.

  1. Cheryl Strayed

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I really enjoyed reading Wild and I would love to meet the inspiring Cheryl Strayed in person and hear more about her amazing journey.

 

  1. Sara Shepard

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I would love to know how Sara Shepard comes up with the twisted plot lines for her novels and also to get her opinion on the horror that was the PLL finale (and that tragic attempt at a British accent!).

 

Thanks for reading! Which authors would you love to meet? Let me know in the comments below!

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NEW REVIEW: ‘An Abundance of Katherines’ by John Green

NEW REVIEW: ‘An Abundance of Katherines’ by John Green

Let me start by saying that I love John Green’s writing. Going into Katherines I had already read most of his books and was a firm fan. This hasn’t changed but unfortunately Katherines didn’t live up to my expectations. It read like a John Green book, but it didn’t feel like a John Green book. His books are known for really hitting you with all the feels, but Katherines just didn’t do this for me.

I was drawn in by the premise as is always the way with Green’s books. He always manages to come up with an inventive scenario in which his story takes place and Katherines did not disappoint. Colin Singleton is a child prodigy who feels as though he has not lived up to his genius potential. Colin also happens to have dated and been dumped by 19 girls all named Katherine. Not Catherine or Katharine. Katherine. The combination of these two peculiar circumstances create the atmosphere for a great story and admittedly, the Katherine element of the story did keep me hooked. Green holds out on all 19 Katherine stories until the end of the book but gives you enough snippets throughout to keep you interested. After getting dumped by Katherine XIX (19), Colin goes on a road trip with his best friend and meets non-Katherine, Linsey Lee Wells (how does he come up with these names?) in a middle of nowhere town where his summer adventures begin.

Katherines, in its most basic form, is a boy meets girl story but John Green style and with a lot more maths – it wasn’t integral to the plot that you understand any of the maths so don’t be put off by this. The storyline was somewhat predictable in areas, but this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as Green gives his readers the ending they all want to see but it does mean that when you reach the end of the book you don’t feel as though anything that profound has happened. As ever, Green is a master at setting up the ‘meet cute’. The protagonist Colin and his potential new love interest Lindsey, meet on a tour of the grave of the Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand (yes, the one who’s death basically started WW1). Colin who has only ever dated Katherines finds out that Lindsey has only ever dated one person. His name was Colin. John Green does it again.

I didn’t really like Colin but that tends to be the case with a lot of Green’s protagonists. Colin is a self-centred, anagramming, whiney teenage boy with the most privileged of problems – he is too smart to be considered ordinary but not smart enough to be considered extraordinary. He is unrelatable to the average reader and whilst we can understand him not feeling like he fits in or that something in his life is missing, we can’t empathise with him. We can’t understand what it feels like to be Colin Singleton and I think that is my main problem with this book. I wasn’t invested in Colin or his story like I wanted to be. Hassan on the other hand is a character the reader could have invested in. He is Colin’s best and at the beginning, only friend and was lovable, relatable and not half as irritating as Colin, but I suspect that this was Greens intention. (Side note – I might start a petition to get Hassan his own story because I just really want to know how he’s doing).

However, despite not being Colin’s number one fan, his obsession with anagramming was one of my favourite parts of the book and when I read the author’s Q&A at the end, I fell in love with Greens response to why this was such huge part of his story. He said:

‘Anagrams say something about the malleability of language. We always think of language as an immovable object, as this set of coiffed and unbreakable rules. But when you consider that one can arrange the letters in PRESBYTERIANS and spell BRITNEY SPEARS, it reminds us that language can be twisted and moulded. Words are not static. Language shapes our memories, and it is also shaped by our memories.’  

If all I took away from reading Katherines was this beautiful testament to the magnificence of language, then it would have been well worth it. As it is, I think Katherines has more to offer than just this. It does tackle some commonplace young adult fiction topics like fitting in, friendship and facing the future but it doesn’t really offer anything unique in these areas (other than the aforementioned abundance of maths).

I gave this book 3 stars out of 5 on Good Reads because I did enjoy reading it but for me it lacked that something that makes Green’s books so special. However, I would still recommend reading it if you are a fan of John Green as it is interesting, funny at times and beautifully written.

My Top 5 Reads of 2017

My Top 5 Reads of 2017

Seeing as we are now well into 2018, I thought it was about time I finally wrote up my favourite reads of 2017.

I read a lot of amazing books in 2017 but I’ve managed (struggled) to come up with my top 5.

Some of these books are very similar to each other but others are completely different, which is basically my reading style summed up. I don’t have a go to genre that I always read, or a writing style that I prefer, I just love stories. I love escaping into the world on the pages and immersing myself in the lives of the characters and each of these books has found a unique way to let me do that, so I’m sharing them with you.

 

  1. Sleeping Giants

At number 5 we have Sylvain Neuvel’s debut sci-fi novel, Sleeping Giants. I will admit that I did pick this book based on the cover (don’t judge me, we all do it) but I am so glad I did. As someone who likes to escape and immerse myself into a story, sci-fi is one of the best genres for this, and Seeping Giants was no exception.

The novel tackles the big question of ‘where do we come from?’ and the more sinister question, ‘what if we weren’t the first ones here?’. After the discovery of a rare metal that predates human civilisation, a doctor and her team try figure out how something so complex and incomprehensible could be so old, and most importantly, who made it and why?

The most interesting part of this novel for me was the narrative style Nuevel uses. The story is composed using journal or log entries, letters and call logs from various characters. This creates a scientific and investigative tone that allows for the story to unfold from various points of view and gives the narrative more depth as it means events can be presented factually in reports or personally in diary entries.

Nuevel combines just the right amount of mystery and science-fiction to get his readers hooked and has created a unique and interesting story that even those who don’t usually enjoy science-fiction would appreciate.

Sleeping Giants is part of The Themis Files series and Neuvel has since published 2 more novels in the series, Waking Gods and Only human. I haven’t had the chance to read his other novels yet but I’m definitely looking forward to finding out what happens next!

 

  1. Crazy Rich Asians

I have had Crazy Rich Asians on my ‘to read’ list for so long and that when I finally picked up a copy of it when I was in the Philippines, I couldn’t wait to start reading.

Kwan’s outrageous and hilarious novel focuses on the life of Singapore’s most eligible bachelor, Nicholas Young and his American girlfriend Rachel Chu. What was meant to be a fun trip to Singapore to attend Nicks’ best friend’s wedding, turns into an unexpected whirlwind of a summer for Rachel who has no idea that her boyfriend comes from an unbelievably wealthy family. Rachel is thrown in head first to the exciting and scandalous lives of Singapore’s most elite and barely makes it out unscathed.

I visited Singapore about 3 months before I read this novel and I really wish I had read it before going. Kwan captures a part of Singapore that tourist don’t get to experience which is why I think I found this book so interesting. Kwan’s Singapore is full of scandalous drama, fascinating characters and lots of amazing food. His descriptions are so vivid that I could picture every extravagant outfit, every decked-out ballroom and every ostentatious mansion. He isn’t just telling you about this part of Singapore’s culture, he’s inviting you in.

Crazy Rich Asians was a hilarious, insightful and genuinely unlike any other novel in its genre. It’s the perfect holiday read but be warned, you will be hooked immediately, and your tanning efforts may be affected.

There are also 2 other novels in the series (one of which I’ve read) and Crazy Rich Asians is also being made into a film that is set to come out this summer. 

 

  1. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry

I am a massive fan of Fredrik Backman’s writing and this novel is one of the main reason why.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is the story of a young girl called Elsa, who’s grandmother and closest friend, and has just passed away. Elsa’s Grandmother leaves her with the task of delivering letters to all the people she feels like she has wronged in her life. She ends up discovering more about her grandmother’s past identities than she ever could have anticipated.

Even though Elsa is only 7 years old, she is fierce, courageous and incredibly intelligent. I was in awe of how perfectly Backman captured a child’s perspective on life in this story and his ability to create an exceptionally interesting and dimensional range of characters throughout his novels. In this story, every person that Elsa encounters on her journey is unique and it is such a delight to watch all of the characters unfold, grow and defy any expectations the reader may have had of them.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is a gorgeous testament to the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren everywhere and made me want to pick up the phone and call mine immediately. If you only ever read one of Backman’s novels, let it be this one (but please don’t only read one because they’re all brilliant and equally as beautifully written).

Backman didn’t continue Elsa’s story in another book, but he did focus one of his later novels on character from this story. It is called ‘Britt-Marie Was Here’ and I’ve not read it yet, but I’ve heard from people who have that is equally as witty and brilliant.

 

  1. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

As debut novel’s go, Gail Honeyman has hit it out of the park with this one. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is beautiful, hilarious, heart-breaking and unlike anything I have ever read before. It is truly unique and is a novel that I’d recommend to everyone, regardless of what they may usually read.

I won’t give too much way regarding the story as I think one of the best things about this novel is how surprising it is. I had heard the general buzz around this novel, but I went in without any expectations and I was completely blown away by how powerful and wonderful it was. To sum it up briefly, Eleanor Oliphant is an unusual, withdrawn and inevitably lonely woman. Up until now her adult life has been ruled by order and routine that Eleanor meticulously abides by. An unlikely accident brings Eleanor out of her daily routine and changes her life drastically. This change brings her to realise that maybe she is not, to use Honeyman’s words, ‘completely fine’, maybe she is quite the opposite.

As a reader, it is impossible not to be empathetic with Eleanor. Honeyman has managed to make her tragic yet heroic and an undeniably lovable character. Eleanor’s story is not an easy one, nor is it a comfortable one. There will be times when you as the reader will feel despair, confusion, frustration and even anger and this is just one of the many reasons why this novel is so amazing. It leaves such an impression on you once you have finished and it conveys a powerful message about loneliness that many may not have understood before.

I cried, I laughed, I learned, and I will be forever grateful that this book was brought into my life. I can’t wait to see what Gail Honeyman writes next.

The film rights to this novel have recently been acquired by Reece Witherspoon so it looks as though we’ll be seeing Eleanor on our screens sometime in the near future!

 

  1. Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way Down is John Green at his best. This is my favourite novel of his yet and I wish I could have the experience of reading it as new all over again. I have never connected with a story in the way that I did with this one and I think that is because Green seems to have written a bit of himself into Turtles All the Way Down.

Turtles All the Way Down is about a 16-year-old girl named Aza who suffers from multiple anxiety disorders and is trying to uncover the mystery of a fugitive billionaire. As in all his novels, Green uses an unusual plot line for the setting of this story, but this novel is far from just a quirky mystery. It is an in-depth and insightful look into the life of someone living with severe anxiety and shines a light on how anxiety affects people in ways that you may never even consider. Because of this, it is at times an uncomfortable and upsetting read but for me, that was part of its brilliance.

Green is never one to shy away from discussing the serious stuff. He has touched on mental illness in his previous novels and has been very vocal about his own struggles with mental illness. In Turtles All the Way Down, Green appears to be facing his demons head on. If you are looking for a romance story with a happy ending then this is not for you because life isn’t really like romance novels, and Green understands this. His characters are real and relatable and utterly brilliant.

Turtles All the Way Down is not only in my top 5 reads of 2017, it is also one of my favourite books of all time. (Bold claim, I know).

 

So, there you have it. My top 5 reads of 2017. It feels cathartic to have shared why I fell in love with each of stories and to leave them behind in what was an extremely interesting year for me. I already can’t wait to share more thoughts with you on my favourite books but in the meantime, please feel free to leave any recommendations of your favourite reads of 2017 (or of any year) in the comments!

 

Thanks for reading! If you want to find out more about what I’m reading, then please follow me on GoodReads at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/56259889-laura-lee