Parker's Piece, Cambridge, UK

Bookshelf Bonanza: What I've Been Reading Lately

"Of course anyone who truly loves books buys more of them than he or she can hope to read in one fleeting lifetime. A good book, resting unopened in its slot on a shelf, full of majestic potentiality, is the most comforting sort of intellectual wallpaper." – David Quammen
As a self-confessed bibliophile, I've enjoyed reading from a very early age. As a child, I used to demand that my Mum read my Flower Fairy storybooks to me every single night! That doesn't mean, however, that I don't sometimes fall into a reading slump. Over the early part of the summer, I really struggled to find the motivation to pick up a book. I finished a grand total of one book per month, setting me way behind on my 2019 reading challenge! Thankfully, things have picked up a little now and lately, I've read a few titles that have made me fall in love with reading once more. Today's post is dedicated to reviewing all of my recent reads. Hopefully after making your way through this post, you'll feel inspired to pay a visit to your local library too!

Books: Mary Shelley Frankenstein and Roxie Cooper The Day We Met

Wigs on the Green: Nancy Mitford

In order to get out of my reading slump, I decided to read a relatively short novel that would keep my motivation high. The one I picked was Wigs on the Green, the tale of hapless Noel and Jasper who leave London and head to a rural village in pursuit of Eugenia Malmains, a wealthy unmarried heiress. They end up meeting Eugenia but instead of wooing her, they become romantically involved with Poppy, who is fleeing her unfaithful husband, and the hilarious Mrs Lace, who comically falls in love with Noel after mistakenly believing him to be the member of a royal family! This novel aims to satirise 1930's politics and the upper classes and it does have some funny moments. However, after learning a bit more about Nancy Mitford's real life and her relatives (her sister was in love with Hitler and shot herself in the head when England declared war on Germany!), I think I might have preferred to read a historical account of the Mitford family than this novel!

Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Everything I Know About Love: Dolly Alderton

I picked up this book from the library after my lovely blogger friend Hels selected it as one of her Blogger Book Club reads, and I'm so glad I did! Everything I Know About Love tracked Dolly Alderton's romantic experiences from her youth to the present day and I just couldn't put it down! Part of the reason why I enjoyed the book so much was definitely the writing style. Dolly was unflinchingly honest throughout - she didn't attempt to hide when she made poor choices or had done something she now regrets. I developed a real respect for her as I made my way through the book. The layout of the book will be very familiar to readers of Matt Haig's Reasons To Stay Alive, with narrative accounts not always presented in chronological order, split up with recipes and lists. I'm very happy to report that this book more than lived up to its place on the Sunday Times bestseller list.

Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Abbey seated on a set of steps with two books
Abbey holding up a copy of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

The Day We Met: Roxie Cooper*

I have to admit that romance novels aren't a genre that I'd typically reach for as they can be predictable. However, The Day We Met proved my preconceptions wrong - I thoroughly enjoyed it! The story follows Steph and Jamie, who meet by chance on an art course. Over the next ten years, they fall madly in love. The only trouble is that they're both married to other people. I won't spoil how the book ends but I will say that the conclusion is a tearjerker! What I especially liked about this novel was that the characters were all so real and relatable. Steph and Jamie were "perfectly imperfect" to use a phrase that pops up throughout the book and so were their significant others. Steph's husband and Jamie's wife weren't fully cast as the villains keeping the star-crossed lovers apart as can happen in other romance novels. I appreciated Roxie Cooper's clever character crafting and I'd highly recommend the book!

Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Man Who Watched the Trains Go By: Georges Simenon

As you've probably guessed from the books reviewed so far in this post, my reading taste tends to be fairly eclectic! We're going from steamy romance to a cold blooded killer with my next book, Georges Simenon's The Man Who Watched the Trains Go By. The book centers around Kees Popinga, a respectable Dutch citizen with a job at a shipping firm. One night, Popinga discovers that the firm's owner has bankrupted the company with some dodgy dealings and something in him snaps. He abandons his wife and family and boards a train in search of his boss's lover Pamela, whom he desires. Pamela spurns him and Popinga ends up killing her. The actual deed is never described in the book and the reader is left guessing about whether the crime was an accident or not. This is just the start of a crime spree and Popinga soon becomes a wanted man. The book is quite desolate in tone but it does keep you intrigued!

Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Reading Roxie Cooper, The Day We Met

Frankenstein: Mary Shelley

Another genre jump takes us to gothic fiction and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I'd been wanting to read this for ages after thoroughly enjoying Dracula a couple of summers ago and it didn't disappoint. Victor Frankenstein is overtaken by a mad quest to create life while studying at university and he succeeds, breathing artificial life into a monster of truly mammoth proportions. Horrified by his creation, Frankenstein spurns his monster and incurs its wrath terrifying. The story follows Frankenstein being haunted by his monster, who engineers the deaths of his nearest and dearest. Again, I won't spoil the plot by telling you how it ends but I will say that the book is impeccably written with such drama - it really sucked me in. I can't believe that Mary Shelley was just 19 when she wrote it!

Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What's the best thing you've read lately? Share your recommendations in the comments.

*The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper was sent to me free of charge by Penguin Random House but I was not obliged to create any content around the book.