T5W | Authors You Want to Read More From

Welcome one, welcome all, to ‘Emma Remembers Top 5 Wednesdays Exists And Decides To Join In’… again. Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Authors You Want to Read More From. As Sam says: “Talk about some authors that you’ve only read one or a few books from, and you NEED to read more!” I have a horrible tendency of enjoying a book and then completely and utterly failing to pick up other books by that same author unless it’s part of a series… and even then I sometimes read the first book, love it, and then promptly abandon the series accidentally! There are also a lot of authors whose work I enjoy but have not actively pursued or kept an eye on… let’s see the top 5 of those authors, shall we?

5. John le Carré

I first tried to read John le Carré back when the Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy film was out – I’d been to see the film, really enjoyed it, and wanted to get stuck into the source material. I never made it even halfway – I was way too confused by the novel. Fast forward a few years and it was announced that Tom Hiddleston (yeah, him again, sorry/not sorry) would be starring in an adaptation of a le Carré novel called The Night Manager. I picked up the book, I read it, I loved it, and was firmly convinced that the casting people deserve gold stars for their casting of Pine, Roper, and Corky. (Like, seriously, Tom Hollander as Corky is spot on.) Fast forward a few more months and I haven’t read another le Carré despite the fact that I now think I have the right reading level to follow his plots and I’ve bought a couple more of his novels with the very intention of reading them sooner rather than later. I need to correct that, stat.

4. Donna Tartt

The Secret History is one of my favourite novels, and yet I haven’t read anything else by Donna Tartt – why not? I am more than certain that I adore her writing style thanks to the slow, languid pace of The Secret History and I thought her character development and characterisation was super intriguing. She only has three novels currently published so it’s not as though she has an extensive back catalogue that I need to work through and The Goldfinch sounds right up my alley… it’s getting faintly ridiculous that I haven’t yet picked up another Tartt novel and yet I persist in re-reading The Secret History.

3. William Shakespeare

I took a final year course dedicated entirely to the Bard himself. My postgraduate/MA dissertation was completely focused on the excessive body in Coriolanus. I graduated with a distinction in early modern literature. And yet I still do not consider myself fully versed on enough of Shakespeare’s plays. To be fair to me, there are quite a few to get through, but I’m still annoyed at myself that I haven’t read/watched more of them. At last count I’ve managed (in some guise) 23 out of 36 which, hey, is not bad by any means but a large portion of those were speed-read before a seminar soooo it’s safe to say I might not have entirely appreciated them to their fullest. I need to sort that out soon – is it too ambitious to decree that I want to be completist and read all of them?

 2. Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has wrote some of my favourite novels (cough Good Omens cough), I love him as a writer regardless of what age he is writing for, and I pretty much sit in awe of his existence, even as I just casually scroll through his Twitter. Despite this… I’ve only read a couple of his books – why?! I’ve never yet finished American Gods (it’s long and complicated, ok guys?!) or Neverwhere (nope, I got no excuses here), despite adoring The Graveyard Book with every fibre of my being and being super creeped out and intrigued in equal measure by The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The film adaptation of Stardust (whilst different from the book apparently) is kind of one of my favourite (not so guilty pleasure) films – I mean, come on, sky pirates – and I’m curious to read that story told in the darker, more gruesome tone that I’m told the book has. I think I probably just need to read all the Gaiman ever.

1. Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier wrote possibly my favourite book of all-time, Rebecca, and yet I have only read one other novel by her (Jamaica Inn for what it’s worth) – that’s very dumb of me. I have My Cousin Rachel sat staring at me every night when I go to sleep (my bookshelf is right by my bed, ok, it’s less creepy than it sounds) and yet I still haven’t picked it up properly. I’m so serious about needing to read more du Maurier that I recently deliberately bought Frenchman’s Creek, Rule Britannia, and The Scapegoat in the editions I’m collecting (no, not the pretty ones, sadly, but I have to get them to match my Virago Modern Classics copy of Rebecca I have because that’s my copy, you know?). I have no more excuses, I now have plenty of du Maurier to be getting on with… so get to getting, Emma!

So there we have it folks – those were my top 5 authors that I want to read more from. Do you agree/disagree with my choices? Which authors do you want to read more from in the future? If you have a Top 5 Wednesday list, be sure to link it below – I’d love to take a look!


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Six Degrees of Separation | Room

Another month, another Six Degrees of Separation! If you don’t know what this meme is then see my previous post or the creator’s website for more details. Basically, every month a book is chosen and participants have to get as far away from the book as possible in six steps. Here are my efforts for this month, starting with…

Room by Emma Donoghue, a novel told from the perspective of 5-year old Jack, a child who lives with his Ma in “Room”, a room in which he and his mother are held captive by a man who kidnapped her some years ago. Jack’s perspective of life has been entirely restricted to this single room he shares with his mum, who tries her best to raise him as well as she can in this small space. Donoghue chooses to tell her story through the eyes (and words) of 5-year old Jack, making some of the traumatic events he narrates quite unusually told.

Speaking of unusual stories narrated by children Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told through the eyes of the unnamed narrator, a man who returns to the house he grew up in to attend a funeral. Whilst there his memories of childhood are triggered and he starts to remember the events of his past, and a very strange and surreal narrative unfolds, told through his perspective when he was a child. The book won the Specsaver’s National Book Awards’ ‘Book of the Year’ in 2013, an award which was won the following year by…

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, Burton’s debut novel, set in 17th century Amsterdam and telling the tale of Nella Oortman, a young woman who arrives in the city to move into the home of her new husband, Johannes Brandt, a respected merchant trader, a home which is as unwelcoming as Johannes’ sister, Marin. Johannes, though distant to his new wife, gifts her a beautiful cabinet-sized replica of their home, a replica whose appearance begins to mimic events in the real household as secrets begin to be uncovered and the plot thickens. As I said this book is set in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, as is parts of…

Donna Tartt’s The Goldfincha book which I desperately want to read asap because I’ve heard nothing but good things and I adored Tartt’s The Secret History. This book, however, centres around the painting of the book’s title, the Dutch Golden Age painting of a chained bird by  Carel Fabritius, a pupil of Rembrandt. Just as The Goldfinch’s protagonist, Theo, takes the painting from The Met in the wake of an explosion, and has no idea how this action will affect the course his life takes, Annie McDee has no idea how happening across a lost masterpiece in a dusty junk shop will affect her life in…

Hannah Rothschild’s The Improbability of Love, a book which is inextricably bound in the art trade world, as Rothschild’s protagonist begins to discover the true provenance of the Antoine Watteau painting she has inadvertently bought. The journey takes character and reader back through early 20th-century European history to reveal the painting’s shady history. The painting itself is even given a voice and, let me tell you, it does not mince its words about some of its previous owners. Some may find this narrative device of giving an object a voice to be odd, some may find it a gimmick, I enjoyed it, but I digress… just as parts of The Improbability of Love are told from this unusual perspective, so is…

Nutshell by Ian McEwan, a retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet told from the point of view of a foetus inside the womb of the novel’s Gertrude character, Trudy. Trudy and her husband’s brother, Claude, hatch a plan to murder her husband, John (are you seeing the ‘Hamlet’ connection), but their scheming has a witness – the foetus itself. I have not read this novel, I’m not even sure what I think about this novel, but the fact it’s a Shakespeare retelling means I will inevitably pick it up at some point because I’m a sucker for that, which brings me finally to…

Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed, a re-telling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest which I am enormously looking forward to reading (The Tempest is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays) and which tells the tale of a recently sacked artistic director, Felix, who was planning a production of said play before he was “deposed” (so says the dramatic synopsis) by his assistant and enemy. Exiled from his job, he takes up new employment teaching literature and theatre at a nearby prison where they plan finally to stage his interpretation of The Tempest. The performance places the possibility of revenge on his enemies within reach, all of which sets up a super intriguing retelling of the play which I’m hoping will be meta but derivative enough to keep me hooked.

And there we have it, folks, from Room to Hag-Seed! I highly encourage you to try it out this little game for yourself and share in the comments below or link to your own Six Degrees post.


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T5W | Books To Finally Read in 2017

top 5 wednesdayWelcome one, welcome all, to ‘Emma Remembers Top 5 Wednesdays Exists And Decides To Join In’… again. Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Books You Want to Finally Read in 2017. As Sam says: these are those books you meant to read in 2016 or 2015 or 2014 and never got around to. Those books that have been sitting on your TBR for a while, and you really want to get to. These aren’t upcoming 2017 releases; these are older books that need your love too!

It will surprise precisely no one that I have a proverbial tonne of books that I’ve meant to read for months and months and, let’s face it, years and years. The problem is, obviously, that the book industry rather rudely continues to persist in publishing more and more new books every single day, adding even more titles to the already lengthy ‘to be read’ lists we all have in the back of our mind, or on a metaphorically groaning Goodreads shelf. Unless I make a concerted effort to “get to” those books I’ve been meaning to for years, I probably never will. So this week’s topic will be a very useful step towards accepting that fact – and, as we all know, acceptance is the first step. Hopefully 2017 will be the year I take a rather logical and proactive approach to finally reading some of those titles that have been sadly abandoned on my TBR shelf for too long. So let’s have a look at the 5 I most want to finally read in the upcoming year…

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Friday Reads | 14th October

Another Friday dawns, and I cannot believe how quickly this week has gone by. I swear I blinked on Monday and then somehow it was Friday already. For some unknown reason, early this week I was sat on my bed, fully dressed, ready to leave, staring at my bookshelves. Now, admittedly, I have recently furnished my room so my shelves are looking rather nice to a person who previously used the ‘stack and hope they don’t fall’ method of book organisation. However, the reason I was staring was because I realised I wasn’t really in the mood to read Adventures of Sherlock Holmes on my morning train journey, nor did I really fancy lugging around A Feast For Crows, nor was I in the mood for any of my on-loan audiobooks.

I should have already left the house, I was running late, but I had a sudden and bewildering draw to pick up Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, a book I have read before but was vaguely interested in re-reading “at some point”. “At some point” turned out to be on that morning’s train journey, apparently. I don’t know why, but it happened. So now I’m about 200 pages/a third of the way through and I fully intend to read it today and going into the weekend.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt (x)

The Secret History is essentially the story of a group of clever, but eccentric students at an elite New England college. When I say “clever” and “elite”, I really mean it – the group isolate themselves from other students, studying as a group of five with their charming Classics professor Julian. All of their classes are taught by Julian and their studies focus around ancient history and philosophy (along with language-learning Ancient Greek and Latin). Because of their intent and intense focus on their studies, it’s unsurprising that the philosophy and practices they discuss actually start to creep over into their life outside of the classroom.

As a book, it’s weird – I mean, come on, it opens with the line “The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation”. It’s also incredibly elitist in its references and whether that comes across as annoying or compelling depends entirely on the individual reader, I think. However, on my first read of this, I adored hating these weird and flawed characters. I’m sure that feeling will continue on this re-read!


So there we have it, that was my rather short Friday Reads.
Do you have any books lined up for today and into this weekend?
What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments below!


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T5W | Favourite First Sentences

Welcome one, welcome all, to ‘Emma Remembers Top 5 Wednesdays Exists And Decides To Join In’… again. Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic. This Wednesday’s theme is Favourite First Sentences. As we all know, first sentences do a lot to sell a book to a new reader. They are an author’s chance to really grab the reader and suck them into the world they have created. Because of this, my favourite first sentences are often ones which instantly highlight the weird or wonderful story that is about to unfold in front of my very eyes.

Confession time: I am a fiend for browsing those ‘top 100 first lines of novels’ lists that you often get on book sites (I’ve linked some at the bottom of this post), to the point where I collect opening lines. I might end up with a first sentence in my collection which I adore because it sets up a story so wonderfully, even if I didn’t end up loving the story that follows. Likewise, some of my favourite books only have so-so opening lines in comparison. So, whilst some of these first lines are on the list because they are the opening lines of some of my favourite books, others on this list are just damn good first lines. Since this is quite long enough already, I’ll just let the lines speak for themselves instead of rambling on about why I picked them – if you’re curious though, comment below and I’d be happy to explain my reasoning.

Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t simply pick five so, instead, I offer up 4 different lists which contain my top 5 first sentences from… Shakespeare plays, classics, modern/contemporary novels, and books I have yet to read – hopefully you enjoy a good list as much as I do, since I’ve given you four of them!

Enough explanation, let’s go…

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