stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves #3

Stacking The Shelves is a meme hosted by Reading Reality all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I’ve been purposefully not adding anything to my reading piles lately, I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed with both the amount of books I’ve managed to end up with in progress and the amount of books on my TBR which doesn’t actually feel like it’s gone down this year.

This last 10 days or so, that kind of went to pot and I ended up with a little collection of new books.

Firstly I had an email from Amazon offering my 40% off the Kindle version of Dan Jones’ The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors. While I generally prefer paperbacks for my history books, what was I supposed to do – ignore the offer?!

Then, I realized I still hadn’t brought myself a copy of The Plantagenets, which I most definitely want to re-read before re-reading Hollow Crown. It’s practically mandatory! So I picked up a cheap used copy from Abe Book.

I recently finished Summer at Skylark Farm – #2 in the Wynbridge series, so clearly had to buy Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market. I’m generally not a big Christmas book reader so it tells you how much I enjoyed the first two books.

I accidentally read all of The Vampire Knitting Club on Monday, so promptly checked the next three out on Kindle Unlimited. I’ve also made a note of the other paranormal cozy mysteries that Nancy Warren has written because I’m already a little bit in love

I also popped into my local library the other day to find out if I could study there, did I need to book in advance and was happily told that no, it was absolutely ok to just rock up with my laptop and textbooks at any time, she confirmed the un-manned opening hours for me. I’ll be trying that one weekend when I need a change of scenery when studying.
However the library was clearly waiting for me and I came home with

book reviews

Book Review: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Title: Jane Eyre
p Author: Charlotte Bronte
Dates read: 25/01/22 – 04/02/22
Rating 1/5

Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 512
Fiction or non-fiction: fiction
Subject or genre: classics, romance, gothic

Book blurb: “Gentle reader, may you never feel what I then felt!”

Throughout the hardships of her childhood – spent with a severe aunt and abusive cousin, and later at the austere Lowood charity school – Jane Eyre clings to a sense of self-worth, despite of her treatment from those close to her. At the age of eighteen, sick of her narrow existence, she seeks work as a governess. The monotony of Jane’s new life at Thornfield Hall is broken up by the arrival of her peculiar and changeful employer, Mr Rochester. Routine at the mansion is further disrupted by mysterious incidents that draw the pair closer together but which, once explained, threaten Jane’s happiness and integrity.

A flagship of Victorian fiction, Jane Eyre draws the reader in by the vigour of Jane’s voice and the novel’s forceful depiction of childhood injustice, of the restraints placed upon women, and the complexities of both faith and passion. The emotional charge of Jane’s story is as strong today as it was more than 150 years ago, as she seeks dignity and freedom on her own terms.

In this new edition, Juliette Atkinson explores the power of narrative voice and looks at the striking physicality of the novel, which is both shocking and romantic.

How I discovered or acquired this book: Read for Open University module A112 Cultures, as part of the English Literature Block

Notable quotes Well, of course there’s Dear reader, I married him which is about the only thing I knew about the book going into it LOL
But then as I was reading, I realised I’d heard this one before: Do you think I am an automaton – a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obsure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless?

My thoughts Ugh. Dreary as fuck, to be quite honest. So I knew going into it that it wasn’t my type of book, it’s mostly the narrative style, I have no patience for the sheer amount of words used, if that makes sense. Jane is an interesting enough character, but I don’t get the love for Rochester, I don’t feel it’s particularly romantic (I suspect books like this are why people think 50 Shades shit is romantic) and don’t get me started on fucking St John.
But there were definitely some interesting narrative devices – the switch from realism to gothic as Jane doesn’t know what’s happening, the use of pathetic fallacy. So I’m looking forward to writing the essay and wishing I had more words. But not my type of book, not one I would have chosen to read voluntarily and likely won’t read again!

book reviews

Book review: Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella

Title: Love Your Life
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Dates read: 18/01/22 – 27/01/22
Rating 4/5

Publisher: Black Swan
Number of pages: 416 pages
Fiction or non-fiction: fiction
Subject or genre: chick-lit

Book blurb: I love you . . . but what if I can’t love your life?

Ava is sick of online dating. She’s always trusted her own instincts over an algorithm, anyway, and she wants a break from it all. So when she signs up to a semi-silent, anonymous writing retreat in glorious Italy, love is the last thing on her mind.

Until she meets a handsome stranger. . . All she knows is that he’s funny, he’s kind and – she soon learns – he’s great in bed. He’s equally smitten, and after a whirlwind, intoxicating affair, they pledge their love without even knowing each other’s real names.

But when they return home, reality hits. They’re both driven mad by each other’s weird quirks and annoying habits, from his eccentric, naked-sauna-loving family to her terribly behaved, shirt-shredding dog. As disaster follows disaster, it seems that while they love each other, they just can’t love each other’s lives. Can they overcome their differences to find one life, together?

How I discovered or acquired this book: My library has a chosen picks shelf just as you walk in and the cover caught my eye. It was bright blue and cheerful and I absolutely love chick-lit so it was a no brainer

My thoughts I haven’t read anything by Sophie Kinsella other than the Shopaholic books so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I bloody loved it, I ended up staying up way too late on a work night to finish it and sobbed my heart out over the ending – happy tears and amazingly heart-warming. I loved the crazy cast of characters, saw a LOT of both myself and my betrothed in Ava so I definitely connected with her as a character. The ending felt a little rushed – like a TV show has been cancelled and they try and wrap everything, all those little threads up really really quickly? It felt a little like that but it really worked for the book. 4/5, highest rating of the year

book reviews

Book Review: Twelfth Night, or What You Will by William Shakespeare

Title: Twelfth Night, or What You Will
Author: William Shakespeare
Dates read: 03/01/22 – 04/01/22
Rating 3/5

Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 140
Fiction or non-fiction: fiction
Subject or genre: classics, play

Book blurb: Twelfth Night is one of the most popular of Shakespeare’s plays in the modern theatre, and this edition places particular emphasis on its theatrical qualities throughout. Peopled with lovers misled either by disguises or their own natures, it combines lyrical melancholy with broad comedy.

The introduction analyses its many views of love and the juxtaposition of joy and melancholy, while the detailed commentary pays particular attention to its linguistic subtleties.

Music is particularly important in Twelfth Night, and this is the only modern edition to offer material for all the music required in a performance. James Walker has re-edited the existing music from the original sources, and where none exists has composed settings compatible with the surviving originals.

How I discovered or acquired this book: Read for Open University module A112 Cultures, as part of the English Language Block

I watched a Royal Shakespeare Company performance on Britbox while reading which definitely helped my appreciation of the play. More information about this performance is available on the RSC website here

I struggled just reading it (IMO plays are meant to be performed, not read) and the course recommended listening to a BBC radio drama with David Tennant as Malvolio – but honestly, they’d made a bunch of changes and I got really stresed trying to follow it, so my betrothed, Li, suggested watching a performance. She was right and I definitely ended up enjoying it more.

After a shipwreck, Viola disguises herself a boy, Cesario to work for Duke Orsino. Cesario quickly beomes favoured by Orsino who sends him to woo Olivia. Olivia continues to reject Orsino, but falls for Cesario. Meanwhile, Viola falls for Orsino. It’s a very bizarre, bisexual, cross-dressing love triangle. And then Violet’s twin brother comes along.

I don’t know that I’d voluntarily read it again but I did enjoy the exploration of themes of gender & sexuality, and disguise & deception