Been Reading

I love books and reading, but I rarely talk about them specifically, so here we are this evening! I thought I’d share five books: the two books I’m currently reading, and the last three I’ve read.

Currently Reading

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I thought I’d mention Wuthering Heights first because we all know I haven’t read it in a long time and we all know I have no idea what’s happening in the story. SparkNotes, anyone?

We learn the story of Cathy and Heathcliff through the narrator asking his housekeeper questions about the past when he stumbles upon Wuthering Heights. Woo.

Villette by Charlote Bronte

I’m only two chapters in, but already I’m looking forward to continuing this book. My sister first mentioned this book to me, and as I loved Jane Eyre (it’s my favourite book) I knew I wanted to buy this if I ever found it.

The book follows the (relatively) autobiographical Lucy Snowe as she teaches at a boarding school. As I said, I’m looking forward to reading this book, though slightly wary as the Bronte sisters are good at writing tragic pasts and despairing situations.

Agnes Grey, by sister Anne Bronte, had a satisfying, lovely ending however, so I’m hoping Villette follows in the same fashion.

Recently Read

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

I finished reading this last night. Originally I was going to stop and go to sleep, but with only 100 pages left I had to keep going. (So close, yet so far.)

This story is told in three varying perspectives: swapping between two sisters amidst the Second World War, told in third person, and a first person narration years later. The first person narration is a mystery, as we don’t find out which sister is narrating until the very end.

This book had moments of tragedy which should be expected; it’s set during the war. But it’s also set in France, and when I’ve read books about the war, they’ve been based in England, or about Jews in Germany. Because of this, there were facts that I haven’t thought about before: Nazi’s billeting in French households, for example.

I enjoyed the differences in sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, (one is quite sensible whilst the other more adventurous), but they were both brave in their own way. They were often critical of each other as they didn’t understand what the other had to go through; Vianne has a Nazi staying in her home and has to protect and feed her daughter, whilst Isabelle is single and helps allies cross the border into Spain.

Amidst the tragedy, there are moments of triumph and redemption in their family, which gives the reader encouragement despite their circumstances.

My rating: 4/5 stars

On Writing by Stephen King

This is Stephen King’s memoir as well as writing advice. I personally haven’t read any of his horror stories, nor do I plan to, but this book came highly recommended. I’d seen it floating around the internet, and one day I walked into a bookstore which had one copy of it. Naturally I had to buy it.

It started off a bit slow, just talking about his early years, but picked up when he begins taking writing seriously. I particularly enjoyed reading about the publication of his first novel, Carrie, and the rise to being a well-known author. It reminded me that even well-regarded authors have to start somewhere, and that somewhere has no guarantee of success.

The last chapters of the book were my favourite, however, as this is where he shares his writing advice. It didn’t take very long to get through, but what he says is concise and spot on, which is preferable to someone rambling on about a topic they don’t know much about.

What stood out to me is that throughout the novel, Stephen King is very much a real person. The way he’s written his memoir is quite blunt and humorous in parts, which helped me relate to him even though I won’t pick up his horror stories.

At this point of the post I wanted to insert my favourite quote from this book, but I can’t narrow it down to one, or even two, or three. Meaning: you should just read it.

My rating: 4/5 stars

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

Zenith is the first book in the Androma Saga, with the sequel coming out next year. It’s science-fiction and shifts point of view between crew members on a spaceship (The Marauder), a prisoner, and a Queen planning war.

I bought this book because I follow both authors on YouTube and had a gift card to use.

It’s your typical action-packed sci-fi novel, with high-tech guns and fight scenes, aliens with glowing skin, a bounty hunter, and a plot-twist that got me good. I’m usually not too surprised by plot-twists, but the one near the end of this novel was shocking. Shocking, but built towards with one-liners throughout the book that click into place once you reach the plot-twist.

The writing itself didn’t blow me away, but the depth of the plot-twist and how thought out it was has me giving this book an extra half a star. (How many more times can I write the word “plot-twist” before it sounds weird?)

My rating: 3.5/5 star

There you have it, my books for the moment. I have a few more on my to-be-read list, but for now this shall suffice.

And now, to eat some spaghetti.

Sarah xx

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