Saturday, 8 September 2012

Books I've Read This Summer

So this summer I’ve managed to get through twenty books. There are a lot of books which I haven’t read, and I’m really disappointed that I haven’t had a chance to read them. Hopefully I’ll manage to get those ones read soon, but realistically I have no idea when that will happen. But I wanted to share small, bite-sized reviews with you in regards to what I have been reading this summer. I've linked to previous blogposts which mention or are related to the book I'm talking about.


The Strange Tale of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson:

I really liked this one. It was an intriguing tale, and although the ending wasn’t exactly a surprise, it was a good little book and a nice short read. A great way to begin my summer reads.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding:

This is something I'd wanted to read for ages, so I’m glad I finally got a chance to this summer. A very strange book, but thought-provoking none the less. I’m re-watching Lost at the moment and I keep finding small, little details which remind me of this.

Children of the Dust by Louise Lawrence:

This disappointed me. It had a great premise, but I didn’t like the execution, and I didn’t like the characters much either. However, this did kick-start my post-apocalyptic reads of the summer.

Pure by Julianna Baggott:

In contrast I loved this! A great concept, fabulous characters and I’m incredibly glad this is the first in a trilogy. A YA dystopia which had everything I could want. 

Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro:

The first thing I’d read by Ishiguro. I absolutely adored it. It definitely grew on me, and I really came to like the protagonist Stephen. An event near the end made me cry. 

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf:

Whilst reading the first part of this book, I wasn’t particularly enthused by it. Sure, it was decent, but it all seemed a bit too normal for my tastes . . . then I got to the second and third part, and my perspective of the book changed. I understood why Woolf had to include the first part, and I’m really looking forward to reading this again with a renewed perspective.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller:

I picked this up on a whim and I’m so glad I did, because it was wonderful. I really enjoyed it, and it was a great read to break up my university required reads too. One day I’d love to read this again!

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks:

This was quite a strange one. I liked the premise, although at times it did get a tad confusing. The ending was completely unexpected, and although I’m not quite sure it fitted, at least it managed to surprise me.

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood:

Ever since I read The Handmaid’s Tale I’d been meaning to read more of Atwood’s work, and I really liked this. It was a great dystopian novel, and a really good read. Atwood has yet to disappoint!

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro:

This is the main book Ishiguro is known for, largely due to the film made based on it. Although I have to say I think I actually prefer Remains of the Day, which is surprising considering how Never Let Me Go is typically my sort of book. Nevertheless, still a great read.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare:

I’ve been meaning to read this for years, ever since I was cast in my school’s production of it which I eventually dropped out of. I was meant to be Bottom, and I was actually quite sad to find that Bottom played a relatively big part! On retrospect, I should have stayed in the production.

The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan:

I liked this. It was different from the sort of thing I usually read, being a bit of a mystery novel, but I liked Hannay’s adventure and it had a decent plot. The film version is completely different for some strange reason.

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare:

I may not have read this purely to understand the Mean Girls reference but that was definitely a benefit. A good play, and another good work by Shakespeare. Since he’s basically the god of literature, I suppose that was to be expected.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle:

This surprised me by how good it was. I was expecting it to be really boring and a bit rubbish, but I really enjoyed this. I liked the little mini mysteries, the narration by Dr Watson and the enigmatic character of Holmes. I would definitely read more Sherlock Holmes after this.

Without a doubt the strangest book I’ve ever read in my entire life. This boggled my mind from start to finish. Calvino is without a doubt much, much smarter than me, and I admire the challenge he created in writing this. A great premise, even if it proved hard to understand at several points.

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells:

The first work by Wells I’ve ever read, and again it was a nice, short read for summer. I liked the storyline, and it certainly presented the strangest futuristic image I’ve ever seen. Since Wells predicted a lot of other future events, I’m really hoping his vision in The Time Machine doesn’t come true, even if I’ll be long gone by that time.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess:

I’m so glad this was recommended to me. I was worried the rape and violence would bother me, but it didn’t and it didn’t feature as much as I expected. I was very surprised to see the sudden, Nineteen Eighty-Four-ish twist to events, and I really loved the plot. A great read.

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys:

I’m ridiculously grateful that this wasn’t anything like Jane Eyre, even if it gets its roots from Charlotte Bronte’s story. A great read, and I’m glad I get to study it this year at university.

Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane:

This kept reminding me of Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. Even if the time periods are completely different – Red Badge of Courage is about the American Civil War whilst Birdsong is about WW1 – the feel of war and the thoughts of the protagonists were similar. I guess it goes to show it doesn’t matter when or where war happens – its impact and devastation are still the same. 

A Sentimental Journey by Lawrence Sterne:

Not too taken with this honestly. I read it for my university course, and I’m glad it’s not on the syllabus this year as I found it a bit convoluted and dull at times. It doesn’t help that it’s not exactly a modern book either.


So that concludes my mini-reviews. I hope you’ve taken some book recommendations out of them, or maybe decided to steer clear of some. I really hope I get around to the other books I wanted to read, and if I do, I’m sure you’ll be hearing about them in the future too.


  1. Thanks for sharing :) There are a lot of books on that list that I would love to read someday, I'm so behind on my classics.

    1. I'm glad you liked it! I'm exactly the same; there are so many books I want to read and never enough time to actually read them!