Why I love to read…plus a book review or two…
I thought that as it is World Book Day I would pop down a few thoughts about why I love to read and also share my latest reviews on a couple of books that I’ve read. I should also point out that I work as a freelance book publicist – I work with books on a daily basis! I’ve worked with fiction and non-fiction authors and I’m in awe of anyone that can write a book. I struggle with writing a blog post, let alone an 80,000 word manuscript!
My favourite reads have changed as I have got older and I’m noticing that I’m really enjoying autobiographies at the moment (Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Craig Brown’s Ma’am Darling are two of my recent favourites) because I think I’m a) really nosy and love hearing about other people and their lives b) looking for inspiration within my own life – who can I learn from and where will that take me. One of my reasons for loving to read is that you never know where you’ll end up. I like to read for inspiration and motivation.
However I will always love Jane Austen (Persuasion is my favourite) as I can remember reading her books as a teenager and wondering when my Captain Wentworth or Mr Darcy will arrive. I’d literally go walking round the fields near our home hoping to bump into a wonderful man! (it never happened…) Her books are definitely the ones that I reach for when I’m seeking comfort.
There really is something amazing about starting a book and then not wanting to stop reading it. It is really magical and doesn’t happen all the time. It happened for me with Harry Potter, His Dark Materials and a lot of the JoJo Moyes and Maeve Binchy books. I’m a huge chick lit fan – nothing wrong with an Aga saga from Joanna Trollope either! Or those one tales that take you to a different era like William Boyd’s Any Human Heart (I also really enjoyed Restless) or allow you to walk the streets of Edinburgh in Ian Rankin’s detective novels.
Which nicely segues into my first review: Still Me by Jojo Moyes (Penguin Books)! This is the last of the Lou Clark trilogy (the first was Me After You followed by After You) and I have to admit that I was so disappointed with After You that I wasn’t interested in reading this book. However I kept hearing people around me discussing it and when I saw a copy in my local library I decided to give it a go. I’m so pleased that I did.
The book starts with its heroine Lou Clark embarking on a new career in New York as a personal assistant to the new wife of a very wealthy man. Here Moyes really excels with a glimpse into the super rich life and I’m a sucker for anything based in New York. As a reader you get to attend these affluent and over the top galas/events alongside the characters and learn about working as a companion where you have to wear a uniform! I loved these bits, especially the complicated wife, Agnes. As always nothing is what it seems and Lou is struggling: finding her feet, juggling a long distance relationship and the continual grieving she feels for Will Traynor – her first real love. (see Me After You) I really enjoyed the book, in fact I’d recommend that you skip After You and go from the first book to the third. You could also happily read this without reading the other two. As you would expect with a classy writer like Moyes, there are moments of hilarity, heartbreak and escape. I loved it.
The next book I wanted to mention was Vox by Christina Dalcher (HQ Publishing). This isn’t a novel that I would normally read but my husband gave it to me as he had heard good things. He was right. It is really good and very addictive. It is written in present day America except that women are only allowed to speak 100 words a day. That applies to girls too. (Yup, even 5 year olds) They wear a bracelet/counter that gives them an electric shock every time they go over the limit. The shocks get more painful with every utterance. Women are no longer allowed a passport, a job and must learn to obey their husbands. Homosexuality and infidelity is a sin, as is sex outside of marriage. Punishments involve televised public shaming and labour camps/prison. The idea being that society was happier when women ‘knew their place’. It is completely fascinating because there are times when I thought that it could happen today. Scary!
As a concept, the book is brilliant and very well written. You are on the edge of your seat the entire time however I was really disappointed in the ending – it felt rushed as if the author had run out of steam or had reached their word limit.
Other books that may be of interest:
Lastly, for me World Book Day is about celebrating books and encouraging people to read more. It doesn’t have to be about the costumes or who reads the most but instead about starting the conversation. I love asking people what they are currently reading – the answer is always surprising! So…what are YOU reading at the moment?