A blog about travel, books and navigating your twenties in one piece

Sunday, 31 August 2014

On My 'To Read' Pile

A couple of weekends ago Mum and I went for lunch at Cafe Rouge in London Bridge, followed by a look around the Riverside Bookshop. It's become a bit of a tradition of ours to do just this and it was wonderful to have some mother-daughter catch up time.

My Mum used to work at Guy's Hospital in London Bridge so has been coming to this bookshop for years, it's such a lovely shop with some equally-lovely staff who never fail to recommend some books to add to my ever-growing pile of what I want to read. So, having bought three new books (I can never leave empty-handed) and an audiobook on recommendation, I thought I would share them with you as I'm very excited to read them!

'Eat My Heart Out' by Zoe Pilger's blurb: Ann-Marie is twenty-three, her life has collapsed, and she's blaming everyone but herself. Heartbroken, skint and furious, she's convinced that love (sweet love!) is the answer to her problems, until she meets the legendary feminist Stephanie Haight, a woman who could be her saviour - or her final undoing. From a neo-burlesque pop-up strip club, to an iconic Little Mermaid-themed warehouse party, via disastrous one-night stands with extravagantly unsuitable men, naked cleaning jobs, a forced appearance on Woman's Hour and baby boomer house parties in Islington, Ann-Marie hurtles through London and through life, urged on by Stephanie, who is convinced that if she can save Ann-Marie she'll rescue an entire generation from the curse of ironic detachment.

'Eat My Heart Out' was published this year and is Pilger's first novel. This book sounded a bit different to anything I've been reading recently and, even if it doesn't turn out to be my cup of tea, I have no doubt that it'll be entertaining so, as I'm coming out of a bit of a reading slump at the moment, this book was immediately added to the top of my reading pile. 

'A Girl is a Half-formed Thing' by Eimear McBride's blurb: Eimear McBride's award-winning debut novel tells the story of a young woman's relationship with her brother, and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour. Not so much a stream of consciousness as an unconscious railing against a life that makes little sense, it is a shocking and intimate insight into the thoughts, feelings and chaotic sexuality of a vulnerable and isolated protagonist. To read A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing is to plunge inside its narrator's head, experiencing her world at first hand. This isn't always comfortable - but it is always a revelation.

Another book that has been published recently and a debut novel. It feels like I've been seeing this book everywhere over the last few months. I know this probably isn't what should make you buy a book but I am just captivated by the title for some reason. That, combined with the idea of truly getting to know the protagonist of a book meant that this was straight on the pile too. I have a feeling that this book is going to be a pretty heavy one but I'm hoping that it's also going to be a fantastic read.

'Tenth of December' by George Saunders' blurb: George Saunders' most wryly hilarious and disturbing collection yet, Tenth of December illuminates human experience and explores figures lost in a labyrinth of troubling preoccupations. A family member recollects a backyard pole dressed for all occasions; Jeff faces horrifying ultimatums and the prospect of Darkenfloxx in some unusual drug trials; and Al Roosten hides his own internal monologue behind a winning smile that he hopes will make him popular. With dark visions of the future riffing against ghosts of the past and the ever-settling present, this collection sings with astonishing charm and intensity.

I'm not usually one to pick up short stories, although my Mum can barely wait for me to read Salinger's, this was entirely picked up as a result of it being recommended in the shop. I'm not all that sure what to expect from this book, but I'm quite excited to give it a go and see what I make of Saunders' short stories in Tenth of December.

'The Fry Chronicles' by Stephen Fry's blurb: Stephen Fry arrived at Cambridge on probation: a convicted fraudster and thief, a fantasist and failed suicide, convinced that at any moment he would be found out and flung away. Instead, university life offered him love, romance and the chance to stand on stage and entertain. He met and befriended young things like Emma Thompson and Hugh Laurie and emerged as one of the most promising comic talents in the country. This is the utterly compelling story of how Stephen began to make his presence felt as he took his first tentative steps in the worlds of television, radio, theatre and film. Shameful tales of sugar, shag and champagne jostle with insights into credit cards, classic cars and conspicuous consumption, Blackadder, Broadway and the BBC. 

Before I found this I'd been looking for an audiobook for quite a while. I've found that when I can't sleep they're perfect to put on and stop me over-thinking a million things which basically delay sleeping even more than it already has been in the first place! This one is perfect for me as, not only is it not too heavy that I don't have to concentrate much in my sleepy state, but I also absolutely love Stephen Fry like 99% of our population do and am loving hearing snippets of his life at university read by the very man himself.  

So that's everything that's currently sitting on my bedside table waiting to be read (apart from the audiobook which is in my cd player). I'm hoping to get through them relatively quickly so that I can read as many books as possible before the end of the year! What have you been reading recently? I'd love some recommendations.

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