T5W | Summer Reads

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know 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 Summer Reads – the weather is heating up (for half of the world), so what books remind you of summer and are your quintessential summer reads?

Friends, this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post comes from the perspective of a girl who is not the fan of summer in the least. Don’t get me wrong, being able to step outside on a morning without having to worry whether you can risk leaving your umbrella behind is refreshing. But I live in England, and England does moderate weather best, so summer is rarely summer for very long. (Case in point: glorious sunshine last week, pissing down yesterday/today. It never lasts very long.) So I would ask you to bear in mind that I’m not the best person to talk about this week’s topic but let’s see what I’ve managed…

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T5W | Books as Event Themes

It’s going to be a quick one from me today, folks, mainly because I’m tired but also because it’s Bout of Books this week and I’d like to dedicate most of my free time to reading for that – I think that’s an acceptable excuse, right? That being said, I had to participate in this week’s Top 5 Wednesday because it’s such a fun topic! For those of you who don’t know 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 as Event Themesit’s party season, whether that is high school prom, weddings, or summer holiday events. What books would make a good party/event theme? I’m definitely not much of one for parties or a party-planner (and I think it shows), but I’ve tried nevertheless because, hey, it’s just a bit of fun after all!

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WWW Wednesday #2 | 22nd March 2017

Exactly a month after I did my last WWW Wednesday, I bring you another! (You have to admit: this is a sort of consistency… just not the regularity the meme originally suggests.) Whilst you can always find out what I’m reading via Goodreads (mainly because I update my page number obsessively in case my bookmark falls out of my book, true story) it’s nice to pause, mid-week, and reflect how the week is going and, mostly, what I’m reading at the moment. WWW Wednesday is currently hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words so do head over to her blog if you want to see more readers’ WWW Wednesday posts.

The Three Ws are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

 

thesongrising1. What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading Samantha Shannon’s The Song Risingthe third book of seven in her Bone Season series. I’ve been anticipating this for so many months and I’m so glad that Samantha pushed back the release to make sure the story was as wonderful as it possibly could be because, boy, was it worth the wait. Attending YALC last year and getting to meet the author reignited my love for the first two books in this series so once the pre-order link came up, I knew I had to have it as soon as I could get my grubby little hands on it. I’m really enjoying this instalment in the series as the action is now moving away from Scion-controlled London and exploring other parts of the UK (such as Manchester and Edinburgh), which is completely my jam because dystopians that only focus on one city/place always leave me wondering how everyone else out there is faring – this is answering that query!

 

themimeorder

2. What did you recently finish reading?
Since I was planning to pick up The Song Rising, I made sure to re-read The Bone Season and The Mime Order first since it’s been a few months since I read them (ok, re-read them, I’m obsessed, what can I say?). I’m very grateful for that decision because it cemented in my head how much I love the second book, The Mime Order, and I definitely picked up on things in it that I must have just skimmed over when reading it for the first and second times. Third time’s a charm! If it wasn’t obvious… I completely recommend this series.

 

smoke3. What do you think you’ll read next?

If you saw my recent blog post about my TBR Jar project then you will have seen that I picked a book from there to read next, and that was Smoke by Dan Vyleta. I’ve been meaning to read it for months, the concept sounds super intriguing so, despite some not so favourable reviews, I’m going to give it a go asap. Because I’m incapable of just reading one thing at a time I’ll also probably be listening to the audiobook of either J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince or Clariel by Garth Nix. I’m feeling a little bit neglectful of my classics too so I may (and it’s a very big “may”) pick up something extra like Emma by Jane Austen or something Dickens (super specific, I know, but hey I have many to choose from!). I don’t do monogamous reading, as you might have realised.

Ok, that’s all the time we’ve got, folks  I hope you enjoyed this insight into my current reads. Do you have a WWW Wednesday post of your own? Please link it below if so (or answer in the comments), I’d love to hear your responses.
Have you read any of the books I mentioned – how did you like (or not like) them?
Until next time – happy reading!


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Six Degrees of Separation | Fates and Furies

It’s that time, folks, I bring you another Six Degrees of Separation, book-style! 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 (somewhat belated) efforts…

This month’s chain begins with a book I’ve actually read (and adored): Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies. This tells the story of the relationship of Lotto and Mathilde and their seemingly perfect marriage. As is all too often the case, there are two sides to every story and their marriage turns out to be a little… turbulent.

Speaking of turbulent and not-as-it-seems marriages, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is pretty much the epitome of unreliable narrator. (Or so I’m told, I never actually made it past 50 or so pages when I tried to read it) The 2014 film adaptation of it starred Rosamund Pike as the perfect wife, Amy. She has also previously starred in a 2005 book-to-film adaptation of…

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, as directed by Joe Wright, which I love and thought she was the perfect Jane Bennet, but I digress… Pride and Prejudice is considered a classic of the 19th century, just like…

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, a story that tells the tale of the eponymous Jane from orphanhood to a position as governess at Thornfield Hall where she falls for the stern Mr Rochester. It’s a book I never “got”, I read it and it was fine but I don’t think I appreciated it as I should have (maybe I should give it a re-read now I’m older?) The bits of it I did enjoy, however, were the Gothic-y elements, as I seem to like my books with a slight Gothic trend. Unsurprisingly, then, this next Gothic-y book is high on my TBR…

Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree, ostensibly a children’s book which won the Costa Book of the Year Award in 2015. The main character, Faith, is a young girl with an interest in science (so I gather from the book’s synopsis). Another “Costa” winner (it was previously called the Whitbread Book Award until 2006) from 2001 which was the first “children’s” book to win the Award…

… and featured a strong young lady named Lyra, whose story is told in The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, the third book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. The book takes place in cities in parallel worlds, not unlike…

V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, the first in her Shades of Magic trilogy which tells of a very unique traveller, Kell, an ambassador to the royal family who is able to travel between parallel versions of a city called “London” situated in very different worlds which have different amounts of magic. I adore these books and am eagerly anticipating the final book in the trilogy, A Conjuring of Light, which is released tomorrow!

And there we have it, folks, from Fates and Furies to A Darker Shade of Magic, as easy as that! 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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Six Degrees of Separation | The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

That’s right, folks, I bring you another Six Degrees of Separation, book-style! 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 is my efforts…

This month’s chain begins with Nordic thriller, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, written by Stieg Larsson, a book which features a protagonist, Lisbeth Salander, who has a photographic/eidetic memory, just like…

Robert Langdon from Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code/Angels & Demons (amongst others!), a film version of which starred the likes of Tom Hanks, Audrey Tatou and Paul Bettany.

Paul Bettany also appeared in the film A Knight’s Tale, in which he plays Geoffrey Chaucer. The film, though not the same, takes its title from Chaucer’s The Knight’s Tale from The Canterbury Tales, a work whose style also inspired…

Dan Simmons’ Hyperion, a sci-fi novel about an extra-planetary group of pilgrims which won the Hugo Award in 1990…

Similarly, the 2005 winner of the Hugo Award was Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, an alternate history novel in which the North-South divide in England, as figured during the Industrial Revolution, is inverted. This divide is also the subject of the nineteenth-century novel…

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, which tells of Southerner Margaret Hale’s move to an industrial city in the North of England, Milton, whose mills bring her into contact with Mr Thornton, a mill-owner whom she disagrees with intensely, creating an interesting dynamic which is not dissimilar to that of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy in…

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

And there we have it, from Nordic thrillers, to a Middle English story collection, to novels featuring nineteenth-century magicians, mills, and marriage alike! Who would’ve thought it? 

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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Six Degrees of Separation | Revolutionary Road

I’m a little late to the party this month but I bring you another Six Degrees of Separation, book-style! 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 is my efforts…

This month’s chain begins with a book I haven’t read (quelle surprise): Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road. The book, which tells the story of the seemingly model marriage of Frank and April Wheeler, was published in 1961, the same year as…

Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, a book which was adapted into a film in 1966 which was made up of a combination of live-action and stop-motion effects. It was directed by Henry Selick who also directed a film adaptation of…

Coraline by Neil Gaiman, a dark children’s fantasy about a young girl who goes exploring in her new home to find a door leading to an Other world, complete with an Other Mother and an Other Father. Oh and they all have shiny black buttons for eyes. Creepy, or what? Gaiman is the master of unsettling fantasy, but he also wrote a slightly more traditional Tolkien-esque fantasy tale which was called…

Stardust which tells the story of young shop boy Tristran Thorne who lives in a rural town called Wall and has never ventured outside his own little comforting bubble until he vows to bring back a fallen star as a prize for his beloved Victoria. The film adaptation (which I adore, by the way) starred Mark Strong as “bad guy” Prince Septimus. Strong has previously appeared as Mr Knightley in a 1996 film adaptation of…

Emma by Jane Austen, a book which famously features an unlikable heroine, of which even Austen herself said  “I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” Another novel which features an unlikable protagonist is…

William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, a hella long novel (which I will probably never get around to reading despite the fact I own it) which is set during the Napoleonic Wars, as is…

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, an alternative history set in the nineteenth-century and, surprise surprise, it’s yet another hella long novel. However it’s one which I actually will read in the new year not only because I need to, but also because I actually really want to read it finally. I mean, come on, this is it’s opening line: “Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians. They met upon the third Wednesday of every month and read each other long, dull papers upon the history of English magic.” Just yes, this is what I want. I rest my case and, indeed, my Six Degrees of Separation.


So that was my ‘Six Degrees of Separation’, from Revolutionary Road to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. This is a fun meme to add to my regular posts and I hope you enjoyed seeing the connections you can make between seemingly disparate books. I highly encourage you to try it out for yourself and share in the comments below!


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T5W | Gateway Books To My Favourite Genre

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 theme is books which are Gateway Books To My Favourite Genre. Now, whenever I do these type of lists, I always seem to end up writing about Fantasy, specifically YA Fantasy so, for the sake of some variety (as I hear it is allegedly the spice of life), I have decided to talk about another of my favourite genres: Classics.

To be quite honest, the entire concept of having a genre as wide-reaching and wide-ranging as, simply, Classics baffles me. Especially since Classics are basically just books we (/someone) decided were important (for whatever reason) and so they remained in the culture and in the book world for years. Basically Someone Deems It Quality + Time Passed Since Publication = Classic. There are contemporary books today that could well become classics in the future, that’s just how it works.

All of this rambling is my way of saying that because the genre is so large and woolly, I understand when people feel they ought to read more classics yet don’t really know which ones to reach for. Maybe they had a bad experience of being forced to read a “classic” at school and so are put off the entire genre? Maybe they think they’re too difficult to read? Maybe they think they take too much time/effort to read, so they’d rather reach for something else. These are all entirely understandable reasons.

But I also know many people who say “oh I wish I read more classics” and then feel at loss as to how to start on that mission. I could go about basically saying “read some Dickens” or “read some Austen” or “read the Brontes” or even “read some Hardy” (if I really hated you)… instead of that I’ve decided to recommend some classics that specifically fall into the Classic Gothic fiction genre. Generally speaking, the Gothic genre is considered to have began in England in the latter half of the 18th century, growing in popularity into the 19th century, and continuing to this very day in fact. Common Gothic tropes include gloomy, decaying settings (i.e. a big scary castle), supernatural beings (an odd ghost or vampire or two), curses (gotta love a cursed mirror), some kind of transgression (oo sexy) etc. etc.

The reason I wish to recommend this genre in particular is that it’s about as far away as possible from the realist novels of the long nineteenth century which are usually taught as classics. Because of this, it would be easy to assume that this is what all classics are like but I assure you that’s not the case! And maybe you might end up finding something that tickles your fancy!

Now I’ve given an introduction that will probably be longer than the post itself… let’s get into the actual books:

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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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Book Travelling Thursdays | Siblings

168709Book Travelling Thursdays is a weekly meme for book bloggers which celebrates the distance a book travels around the world through its covers in different countries. It was created by Catia and Danielle and you can visit the Goodreads group for more information.

This week’s topic is related to siblings: National Siblings Day is a few days away. Choose a book that has your favourite bookish siblings. Although I did toy with the idea of featuring the Weasleys from the Harry Potter series, I decided to go classical and pick the Bennets from Jane Austen’s Pride and PrejudiceThese siblings may not be perfect, they may annoy the hell out of each other, they may be so very different, but in my opinion they make up one of the most entertaining families to read about in literature. (The 2005 Joe Wright Pride and Prejudice film is the very best at portraying this family dynamic on-screen, I highly recommend it, even above the seminal 1995 BBC miniseries!)

Since I’m sure Pride and Prejudice needs no introduction I’ll just move straight on to the covers themselves…

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