Welcome Back To A Day In The Life Of The Anonymous Me,
Today I am collaborating with Aleeha and we are going to be sharing with you our favourite books that we’ve read this year. Earlier on in Collabmas with Bella, where we shared with you our favourite books that were released in 2016. They are all my favourites, but the books mentioned in this post were also my favourites; they just happened to not be published in 2016. Enjoy!
First up we have On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan. If you read my blog last year during Blogmas, you will know that one of my favourite authors is Ian McEwan. So, when I saw someone selling On Chesil Beach second-hand for a really good price, I picked it up immediately. Therefore, when I got home and read the blurb I was a little disappointed. I discovered from reading the blurb that it wasn’t exactly my kind of book. The blurb stated, ‘It is July 1962. Edward and Florence, young innocents married that morning, arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their private fears of the wedding night to come…’. I was a little apprehensive when I started reading this, but it was not what I was expecting at all. It was incredible. Although it discussed how the characters were feeling on their wedding night, it looked a lot at their lives up to that moment and the expectations of women then. The whole way throughout reading it I kept thinking about how much knowledge Ian McEwan has. Every ounce of the story is filled with excellent detail and I could visualize the scenes in my mind so clearly. The book is so subtle, one of the things I love about Ian McEwan. You come away from reading one of his novels and just think WOW. This is definitely one for the mature reader and I would not recommend it for those of you under 15. However, I don’t want to dictate what you read, so you decide if you are mature enough for it, go for it. Although the book is primarily set around their wedding night, there are only a few pages that contain graphic details.
Then is a book by one of my favourite authors, Rainbow Rowell. It’s Eleanor and Park, which is told in dual narrative and set in the 80’s. I thought the dual narrative worked really well. It follows Eleanor and Park who meet on their school bus. They bond over music and comics. It deals with body image, race, social class and poverty in a realistic, but sensitive way. It warms your heart, but also tears it apart at the same time. I loved learning more about the 80’s culture when it came to the comics as I only knew about the music before. I really enjoyed hearing some of my favourite bands mentioned in it. Park starts the book by talking about XTC, so immediately I had Making Plans For Nigel in my head – such a good punk-rock song! As a result of all the information on the culture, it made me feel really connected to the characters. I loved both Eleanor and Park, but I especially enjoyed about Park. He was cute and quirky – the kind of character we don’t normally read about in a YA book. The love story is very subtle and is someways one of the undertones in the book as important matters such as poverty played a much more important role in the book.
Thirdly, we have a post-apocolyptic novel that I adored. That’s The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Oh My Goodness – it was phenomenal! This book follows a Father and a Son who are walking through a post-apocalyptic America that is burnt and covered in ash. The boy’s mother committed suicide several years before. It follows their journey trying to get to the coast before winter because the Father knows they won’t make it through the winter. On the cover there is a quote from The Times which I think sums up the book perfectly. It says: ‘A work of such terrible beauty that you will struggle to look away’. The book is depressing, harrowing, dark and shocking, but it is also gripping and mesmerizing. I also see it as a warning of a believable future which is not too far off.My favourite quote from it was: ‘You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget’. The language used is so simple, but it paints the picture so well. This books is also interesting as it does not have any speech punctuation, so it really relies on your knowledge of speech *thanks my year 2 English teacher*. This book has definitely made its way on My Favourite Books Of All Time List.
Penultimately, I loved The Art Of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson. This book recently came out in paperback and both end papers are covered in reviews from people all raving about it. Authors such as Lauren James (The Next Together), Phillip Pullman (The Northern Lights) and James Dawson (This Book is Gay) have all praised this book and I can totally see why. This book is about David and he believes he was born in the wrong body and wants to be a girl. The book is all about him discovering who he is and telling his parents. I don’t want to say too much about this book because I think it is best to go into it blind. Don’t even read the blurb! This is one of the best books that I have ever read. It is insightful, interesting and heart wrenching. Everyone has to read this as it is so important to support the transgender community. As I said earlier, James Dawson recommended this novel, who came out as wanting to be a girl a few years ago. I will post a full review on my blog in the near future for those of you who have read it and want to hear my full opinions as it is difficult to talk about the book without sharing spoilers. My edition is also really special as it is signed and has an exclusive chapter in the back. If you want one of these special copies, head into your local Waterstones and try and pick one up. They are only available in Waterstones stores I’m afraid.
And last, but certainly not least, I really enjoyed reading All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I am a huge lover of historical fiction, with one of my favourites being Regeneration by Pat Barker. However, I’m talking about Regeneration today, I’m talking about All The Light We Cannot See. I don’t really know where to start with this book. The writing and description are phenomenal. I can picture all the scenes so visually in my head; it feels like I am there. I also liked this book because I have studied Nazi Germany for GCSE and therefore when Anthony Doerr is describing how all of a sudden there was meat on the table in Germany and lots of people had jobs, I know it is because of invisible unemployment ect. The book follows a young French girl who is blind and a boy who is in the Hitler Youth. You follow them from their early childhood years as well as their lives in World War Two. Then you follow the story when their lives cross paths. The writing and story telling is exquisite and exceptional. The way it switches between characters and time periods is sublime and perfect. It is a very long book, but the chapters are very short, which I feel helped me get through it so quickly. I loved seeing how it all connected on the page. It was truly magical.
Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed finding out about some of the best books I have read this year. Make sure you go and check out Aleeha’s post on her lovely blog. Also, in the comments let me know what great books you’ve read this year.
Happy Blogging! xx