Books

My Reading List

One of my goals for this year is to read more books during my free time. During Uni, I didn’t get the chance to read books for fun a lot of the time and I’ve missed it a lot! I decided to write a little list of the books I have lined up to read this year so far, and if I really enjoy a book, I will probably do a little write-up!

I’ve added the blurb to a few of the books listed here, I haven’t read them so I can’t say much about their contents yet!

Women & Power – Mary Beard

I’m about 75% of the way through this book and I love it. As an ex-Classics student and feminist, this was such a wonderfully eloquent piece which highlights the fundamental issues with positions of power and the set-backs women face, harkening all the way back to the Greek and Roman political and literary spheres. Mary Beard reflects on her own experiences, despite being a Professor at Cambridge and a Roman history expert, of her authority in her specialist area still being questioned repeatedly.

As Mary says, “You can’t easily fit women into a structure that is already coded as male; you have to change the structure.”

It is an inspiring and eye-opening piece which I recommend thoroughly to anyone!

Mythos – Stephen Fry

I am a chapter into this book and I am already loving Stephen Fry’s easy-to-read writing style. Despite studying Ancient History and Classics for five years, I’m quite clueless about a lot of the myths which the stories I’ve come to know and love incorporate. Stephen Fry brilliantly tells a ‘chronological’ (as is possible) narrative as a single piece rather than as individual myths, giving a lot more context and understanding unlike a lot of retellings that I’ve seen. I’m excited to see what the rest of the book has in store!

The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World – Catherine Nixey

The Darkening Age is the largely unknown story of how a militant religion deliberately attacked and suppressed the teachings of the Classical world, ushering in centuries of unquestioning adherence to ‘one true faith’.

This is the most academic of the books I have lined up to read by far. I did one module in first year which vaguely covered the rise of Christianity and the shrinking influence of polytheism, so I thought I would give this a read! It seems like an interesting topic to cover and semi-controversial which excites me quite a lot!

Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweet Shop of Dreams – Jenny Colgan

Rosie Hopkins thinks leaving her busy London life, and her boyfriend Gerard, to sort out her elderly Aunt Lilian’s sweetshop in a small country village is going to be dull. Boy, is she wrong.

Lilian Hopkins has spent her life running Lipton’s sweetshop, through wartime and family feuds. As she struggles with the idea that it might finally be time to settle up, she also wrestles with the secret history hidden behind the jars of beautifully coloured sweets.

I got this through ‘Blind Date with a Book’ and I love how cute it seems to be! I’m excited to start this one as it’s a typical Rom-Com, which is a genre I haven’t delved into for a long time! I also have a great love for sweets and old fashioned sweet shops, so this will definitely be a fun read!

Men Without Women – Haruki Murakami

Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all.

I’ve wanted to read something from Haruki Murakami for a while, so I thought that smaller stories would be a good way to introduce myself to his work!

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads:

Opens at Nightfall
Closes at Dawn

As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears.

Le Cirque des Rêves
The Circus of Dreams.

Now the circus is open.
Now you may enter.

I’ve wanted to read this book forever so I’ve decided this is the year to do it! I’ve read some excerpts and love the mystery behind it – it sounds so intriguing and everyone I know who has read it loves it! This has been out a while so I’m finally getting around to it!

The Toymakers – Robert Dinsdale

It is 1917, and while war wages across Europe, in the heart of London, there is a place of hope and enchantment.

The Emporium sells toys that capture the imagination of children and adults alike: patchwork dogs that seem alive, toy boxes that are bigger on the inside, soldiers that can fight battles of their own. Into this family business comes young Cathy Wray, running away from a shameful past. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own.

But Cathy is about to discover that the Emporium has secrets of its own…

I read the first few paragraphs of this as Penguin released a teaser over on their Twitter and I immediately fell in love. This doesn’t come out until February and I’m already excited for it! In the few hundred words I read, the magic of this book is apparent and I can tell that I won’t be able to put it down once I’ve started.

Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman

I love Neil Gaiman’s writing with a passion. Coraline and The Graveyard Book were two of my favourite stories growing up, so this book peaked my interest! I know I’m quite late to the game with this one as well, but Norse mythology is definitely an area I am lacking knowledge in and I would like to rectify that!

Let me know if you’ve read any of these books, I’d love to know what you thought of them!

Jess

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