Read in 2016: January


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The Examined Life is, effectively, a collection of anecdotal stories from psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz's experiences with clients.  It promises to be about "learning to live" and finding ourselves; I expected insightful lessons which I could take away and apply to real life situations.  I bought this at a time when I needed direction and was seeking positivity, I suppose.  I didn't find it, or myself, in the pages of this book.  It is helpfully split into sections such as "loving" or "changing", and within each chapter it's focused further into specific essays ("on secrets").  Grosz's writing was compelling and easy to read, but I found the information to be too much to take in at one time and it ended up just swimming around my head in a blur.  I couldn't distinguish one article from the other and being based around certain people's individual problems meant it was difficult to see how the outcomes could apply to me.  Some issues did resonate, however, so perhaps this is one to revist on an 'as and when' basis - dipping in and out to seek advice when needed.
Rating: 2/5 

#2 - ONLY EVER YOURS // Louise O'Neill 

This book was big news online last year - Frieda is at a finishing school (of sorts) where the girls will only ever become Companions, Concubines or Chastities.  Destinies decided and controlled by men on the basis of their appearance, weight and behaviour.  It's disturbing, hard-hitting and thought provoking, written with insight and cynicism.  I read this with a couple of friends and we all agreed with could relate to the girls and see our younger selves in similar (albeit toned down) situations that the girls were in.  The hierarchy of school, body image issues and the mystery of boys is all covered in here.  I didn't enjoy it as much as O'Neill's other book, Asking For It, but it was still gripping and enjoyable all the way through.   And the ending!  Didn't see that coming.
Rating: 5/5  

#3 - WHAT ALICE FORGOT // Lianne Moriarty

Read as part of the Blogger Bookclub, check out my review here.
Rating: 2/5

  #4 - THE GAP OF TIME // Jeanette Winterson 

The Gap of Time is a retelling of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, published as part of the Hogarth Shakespeare project.  I wasn't familiar with The Winter's Tale or Jeanette Winterson's writing style, but really enjoyed both.  The book comes with a brief synopsis of Shakespeare's original play before launching into Winterson's retelling.  I enjoyed seeing how the characters' names matched up to their traditional counterparts and liked the reinvention of the story.  It was a quick read which I have to admit, I did feel like it went over my head at certain points.  The general thread was easy to keep up with, but the addition of a computer game as a key part of the story (the game's called The Gap Of Time so is a pretty important focus!) was lost on me and something I found hard to grasp.  It was a really enjoyable story nonetheless, and I'm looking forward to keeping up with the retellings project.
Rating: 4/5


I got a head start on my plans to re-read old favourites in February, and snuck this one in at the end of the month.  It was as good as I remembered, and an even quicker read than expected thanks to having watched the film a few weeks earlier which helped me to race through certain passages.  My passion for Narnia has been reignited and I can't wait to carry on with the rest of the series.
Rating: 5/5



1 comment

  1. Thanks for reviewing these! I'm always looking for new books to get into <3


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