Argh, August is officially over! And that of course means my August Reads post, yay! Now, just a disclaimer. I’m writing this now on Thursday night and preposting it to publish today as I’m going to Manchester tomorrow. So there could be one more book that I’ve finished before August ends but more than likely not, as I’m living the book I’m currently reading at home as it’s a library book and I don’t want to lose it!
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
I had seen a lot of hype around this book and I decided to read this book along with a book club I’m part of on Goodreads. However, everyone else wanted to read it as well so I by the time I got it in the library the read was over! Nonetheless, I decided I’d still read it. It tells the story of Ursula, who was born during a snowstorm in 1910 and died before her first breath. As well as the story of Ursula, the same baby who was born the same time but lived. The story shows how different choices, both your own and those around you, can affect your life and the outcome. Every time Ursula dies, she is reborn but with certain subconscious memories of her former lives, a deja vu she comes to understand more. A lot of the story of Ursula’s adult life is set during World War 2, which I enjoyed as I like stories set then. I know some people have issues with the constant retelling of certain parts of her life but with twists, I didn’t mind that so much. If you don’t like stories that jump around a bit, then you probably won’t enjoy this.
The Guinea Pig Diaries by A.J. Jacobs
I picked up this book by A.J. Jacobs as I had enjoyed two of his previous books (The Year of Living Biblically and The Know-It-All). In this book, the author has separated out each chapter with an experiment he’s undertaken in his life. One month he outsources all his work to a team in India, where they answer his emails, do research for his work and even argue with his wife. Another month, he partakes in Radical Honesty, which is basically saying whatever is on your mind and not filtering it. He sneaks into Academy Awards, pretending to be someone else, to see what the life of the famous is like. And he also spends a month doing whatever his wife wants him too! It’s an interesting fast read, not my favourite of his (That goes to The Year of Living Biblically) but it’s still a worthwhile read if you like books like this.
My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster
This is the forth book by Jen Lancaster I’ve read. In this, she hopes for cultural enlightenment while broadening her mind and activities past just watching reality TV. So Jen tries plays, the opera, wine tasting and a cooking course, amongst other things, making her a modern day Eliza Doolittle. Of course, once a reality TV lover, always one, so things do take some adjusting. I liked the book, I have 2 more of her memoirs to go until I’m caught up. I’m really looking forward to the latest one, The Tao of Martha, as it sounds funny and interesting.
The Sweet Life #1 (Sweet Valley Confidential) by Francine Pascal
I was a massive Sweet Valley fan growing up. Sweet Valley Kids, Sweet Valley High, Sweet Valley University, The Unicorn Club, Elizabeth special series, the special editions like diaries that came along with the SVH series, everything! And of course Sweet Valley Confidential when it came out in 2011. So I decided to give this a go. It’s a short novella, first of a series of six, that follows the lives of the twins while in their 30s. I won’t give anything away, in case you haven’t read SVC yet. It’s nothing mind blowing but if you enjoyed the series while growing up, you might enjoy this too. At the very least, even if you don’t enjoy this, it’s a short read so it’s a good thing if you’re not sure if you want to commit to the whole thing. But I def recommend you read SVC first. Or at least get a synopsis!
Six Feet Over by Mary Roach
I was delighted that my library bought this in at my request, as it’s the only book by Mary Roach that I hadn’t already read. It follows Mary on a journey of trying to discover if there is or isn’t life after death. She meets with a vast array of different people (engineers, scientists, mediums) and discusses the different methods that have been tried throughout history to prove or disprove this idea. I did enjoy it but it’s probably my least favourite of Mary’s books, purely because the other subjects fascinated me more (a journey through the alimentary canal, the research and complexities of life while in space, the different scientific researches, studies and experts in the field of studying sex, and finally the many different uses for a dead body).
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 is a short, dystopian style novel. In it, firemen are people who burn books and the houses in which they have been hidden, which have been banned due to making people unhappy. Instead, people are encouraged to live fast and loose, without ever questioning or pondering on things. Guy Montag has been happy in his job as a fireman for the past 10 years, until he meets an odd seventeen year old girl who makes him think for himself and question how good this way of life really is. In the book, you follow Guy’s journey of as he questions his life. The book has stunning writing and descriptions, you just want to drink them in. A short but very enjoyable novel (and I love this cover! Usually I pick the cover to go along with the book I’ve read but I just loved this cover so much).
The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story by Lily Koppel
The year is 1959 and NASA have chosen their first seven astronauts, The Mercury Seven. Overnight they become celebrities, along with their wives, partly due to Life magazines coverage and interviews with the astronauts and their wives. Over time the club expands, due to more astronauts being added to programmes. The wives had to deal with not only their husbands being away, but also the unknown dangers of their husbands being shot into space, all while putting on a brave face in front of the cameras, being the perfect housewife, making sure their husbands weren’t stressed while they were home and having to deal with the ‘Cape Cookies’, the astronaut groupies. Some of the wives turn a blind eye, others don’t. The book shows the bonds between the women, how they helped each other through tough times and bandied around each other. It’s a great in sight, you get to read about all the different families, like the Armstrongs, the Aldrins, the Collins’ (I always feel bad when Michael Collins is forgotten for the part he played while going to the mood. It must have been tough to be the one who had to stay in orbit around the moon while Armstrong and Aldrin made history while talking on it) and the Glenns (while I may not have seen John Glenn go up in space during the 1960s, I do remember seeing him fly in 1998, at the ripe age of 77!) as well as all the other families you may not have heard of. An interesting memoir and I loved the photos in the book too.
Them: An Adventure with Extremists by Jon Ronson
Since reading The Psychopath Test (in June) and Lost at Sea (in July), I was really looking forward to reading this book by Jon Ronson. He’s fast become a favourite of mine and this one didn’t disappoint. In it, it shows Ronson while he interviews and follows different people with extreme ideas and ways of living. Like Omar, the Islamic fundamentalist who lives in London, the leader of the KKK, the man who believes that those that rule the world descend from reptiles, Dr Ian Paisley, amongst others. The main theme that kept coming back to Ronson from most of these people is that a secret group, called the Bilderberg Group, consists of CEOs of companies, politicians as well as other influential people, who meet once a year to decide on all sorts of things. So Ronson also tries to get to the bottom of who this group are. Partly dangerous at times, considering Ronson is Jewish and a lot of the people have strong views on Jewish people (including that they rule the world), it was a fascinating read that delves almost on the conspiracy side of things. I’m looking forward now to reading another book of his.
Latte of Cappuccino?: 125 Decisions That Will Save Your Life by Hilly Janes
This book follows a typical day in the life of a working Western person and debates between some of the mundane choices you are dealt with. Like whether to order a latte of a cappuccino, regular or whitening toothpaste, walk or cycle to work, and other food, lifestyle and child advice. I read it quickly, partly because I skipped a section (I don’t have a child) and always because I knew a lot of this. The author backs up some of the decisions with science, others with logic. There are some handy resources too, especially if you are looking at having a more healthy diet or becoming more active. Overall though, if you have your life pretty much together, you’ll know a lot of this.
Number of books read- 9
Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 3:6
Number of eBooks- 2 (My Fair Lazy and The Sweet Life)
Number of books borrowed from library- 7
Number of books from Reading Resolutions- 0
And that’s it! At least, it should be, if I haven’t already finished something after writing this!