Sunday, 3 January 2016

Reading from 2015.

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are well and I hope this festive season has treated you all well. Another year coming to an end and another load of books has flown into my hands, onto the shelf and for some, going from my hands straight into my heart, onto my favourites list and recommendation list. Some of you who know me well, know my adoration for books, in particular, fiction novels. I haven't read as much as I would have liked, but those books I didn't get to read will simply slide onto the reading list of 2016 and at the moment, I have been reading a lot of the "classic novels" such as To Kill a Mockingbird, Carrie, American psycho more so than I have many recent 2015 releases. I have however just picked the three favourites of 2015 that I have enjoyed reading.

2015 Read it list:
To kill a Mockingbird (a friend is borrowing it at present) by Harper Lee
Carrie by Stephen King
Twisted by Lynda La Plante

To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. 

The 1960 classic novel by Harper Lee has been adored and loved by many readers, after reading it this year I have a clear understanding as to why that is.
Our beloved narrator, Jean Louise "Scout" finch, takes us on an adventure, occurring during the Depression era (1933-1935), which explores the serious issues of gender and racial stereotypes, racial inequality and rape with an intriguing sense of warmth and innocence.
Scout Finch shows a lot of modernised wisdom, which practically mirrors that of her father, Atticus Finch and the issues of racial inequality are portrayed through these characters when Atticus Finch is asked to defend Tom Robinson, the man accused of raping a white woman, in a court of law. We can see Scout's concern for her father as we see that this is the case, which is causing him a lot of stress, in comparison to all other cases he has done. I felt that the use of a younger daughter within the story to ask all the politically incorrect questions presented the readers with the right amount of information whilst leaving some blanks for us to fill in, which I really enjoyed. I don't like everything always been explained to me in great details, I quite like books that leave a little of space for you to fill in your own interpretations and Harper Lee has done that really well in this classic tale. In addition to the consistent frustration, we feel with the racial inequality, the same can be said for the expectation of genders. We see that Scout's aunt has high expectations and desires for her to be "a lady" seeing as she is the lady of the house, however Scout would much rather be climbing trees with her brother, Jem, and their friend Dill, in her overalls than be seen in a dress making polite conversation with other female citizens.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and the exploration through the eyes of a young child when dealing with issues such as racial inequality and gender roles, for me the use of childhood innocence was a brilliant tool perhaps used deliberately by Lee to make the readers realise that (as MJ brilliantly sings!) it does not matter what nationality, religion, race, gender etc. you were born with because we are all still humans. The representation of the difficulties of this time period were also brilliantly explored and so for all of this, I would like to give To Kill a Mockingbird a rating of 5/5. 

Carrie by Stephen King.
1974 dark, terror novel explores teenage issues of a bullied girl, Carrie White, from the fictional town of Chamberlain, Maine who possesses the extraordinary powers of telekinesis and lives with her extremist Christian mother. Carrie is one of the most frequently banned books from United State School libraries perhaps due to the way it encourages a brutal school slaughter as the best way to deal with bullies.
The novel was rescued by Stephen's wife Tabitha and changed his writing career, being the first book he had on published page. King structured the novel in a very interesting way, which I quite enjoyed, as well as using faux newspaper clippings, book references, magazine articles, letters and a book is written in the third person by the only character to have survived "Prom Night"-Sue Snell, ironically without Sue, Carrie would not have gone to prom in the first place. King has created a well-structured masterpiece, which compliments the story well and worked with the historical-yet-set-in-the-future time frame perfectly.
The fanatic extremism of Carrie's mother was an interesting portrayal of King's, which opened my mind to an extremism I never really saw or understood before; her mother's whole fixation on the Lord and saviour, in contrast, causes her to commit a multiple of sins. From my understanding of the basics of the Christian religion, there is spreading the lord's word then there is forcing your daughter in a cupboard to pray because she wants to go to prom like a normal teenager. There is this thin line which king explores, we see Carrie's mother discuss the "devil's work" and how Carrie will burn for her sins of "lust" etc. and perhaps, a deep regret that she feels from not remaining a virgin, as she see's carrie as a mistake because "the devil tempted and seduced her". Yet, it seems that she is making Carrie pay for the guilt she feels for having sex and I feel this is because Carrie serves as a reminder. Her mother makes it seem as though she is looking out for her daughter, in the hopes she'll learn from her mistakes.
Carrie's prom night and the build up towards this event, is the main highlight throughout the book especially with the scene where she kills her mother as well as all of her classmates in a blinding rage. King has yet again proven he is the "King" (see what I did there) of horror and suspense novels, perhaps the publishing equivalent of Alfred Hitchcock. The novels interesting structure of fake clippings and written in third person from a survivor of the prom night depicts an interesting, more study based feel of the events that happened that evening and the power of telekinesis, the relationship between Carrie and her mother only adds to the tale, but it puts the readers in a difficult position between understanding why Carrie finally went out on rage and the morals of the readers, who probably feel this is not an acceptable way to deal with bullying or abuse, although it does play on our minds. I rate this novel 5/5.

Twisted by Lynda LaPlante. 

Twisted by Lynda LaPlante is without a doubt, one of my favourite novels this year, exploring mental health, missing persons, relationships be it bi-sexual, heterosexual or homosexual and exploring the law enforcement, this novel has everything in it on a rollercoaster of a ride where every twist and turn keeps you continuously second guessing what you first thought.
When Amy is not heard from or seen in four days, her mother Lena knows that something is not quite right, she always calls after a sleepover at her friends, to let her mother know she's arrived back at boarding school. The missing person's case quickly takes shifts and turns, as Detective Reid has never worked on a case like it before, the third-person psychological suspense is something I strongly recommend reading.
This was the first Lynda La Plante book I had read and it definitely motivated me to read another one, "Prime suspect" is now sitting on the shelf, Twisted was such a well-written book which allowed the readers to dwell into the minds of all characters, sometimes offering up information which one readers knew about causing great frustration but also enticing them to read on. Of course, that is a standard expectation of a crime suspense, but with the exploration as two of the characters have mental health concerns as well as difficulties within the law enforcement team, it just adds to the tension within the novel.
I'm going to give this a short review because you need to read it as there are so many things I can explore, but each one will spoil the novel.  YOU NEED TO READ IT being the main words here.
I rate this book 5/5 

Thank you for reading, if you enjoyed my novel reviews and would like to see more of them please do not hesitate to let me know guys, your feedback is crucial to your enjoyment of the content on my blogs. Thank you again and have a lovely day all of you! 

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