A reading tale! | tori's tales: A reading tale!

10 June 2013

A reading tale!

My top three
(You might want to settle yourself in with a cuppa before you start this one!)

Reading. We all (presumably) do it, be it of blogs, magazines, newspapers, fiction, non-fiction, poetry or revision notes (ha). You name it, someone's reading it.

Now, I love reading and I always have. So many memories of mine involve me reading a book of some sort - be it in my room as a child/teenager, snuggled up under the covers with a copy of a Babysitter's Club, or Goosebumps, or Point Romance, or a Ford Supermodels of the World number (anyone else ever read any of those?!) in my hand, or sat in the motorhome, drinking a cuppa (made from water boiled in a saucepan, yum), making my way through a hefty classic (I'm proud to say I've read both Les Miserables and War and Peace and am an adoring fan of the latter) with the world whizzing by outside. 

However, I have a problem, and that is that despite my love for it, my interest in reading - actually, maybe that's the wrong word, my concentration may be more likely - has waned somewhat. I put this down to university (despite my not being that overloaded with course literature - the boy is an English student and for the last few months has been reading a book a week for his course!) and the fact that I equate reading with working, which in turn means my brain shuts off when I try to read for pleasure (or rather, it goes into panic mode and is all 'a book? noooooooo!' whenever I pick one up).

Does anyone else have this problem? I mean, even the boy can still read for pleasure, in fact he's reading two books simultaneously right now (jealous, moi?), but I still can't do it! Despite uni finishing last Thursday I still haven't read one bloody chapter of my current book and that saddens me a little. I miss reading 'properly'. I really do. I miss delving in-between the pages and getting lost in its imaginary world, falling in and out of love with characters, picturing landscapes and scenery in my mind, pacing alongside the story with an interest in what will happen. 

Now before I make it sound as though I haven't read a book this whole university year, I must point out that I have finished all of five books (which for me is a very poor run); The Whisperer (which is amazing), Palo Alto (thanks to Leah for the lend of both), After the Fall, Me before You (thanks to Moom for the lend) and On The Road to Mr Right, all of which are from completely different genres, so it was without rhyme-or-reason that I managed to finish those, meaning I don't even have a clue as to how I did and thus don't have such knowledge to apply to future book-choosing!

I decided that, in case my showing them off would mean a turnaround in ability, I'd shine a spotlight on a few of the books I have loved and enjoyed over the past few years, as well as my top three 'return-to' books. Maybe talking about them all will trigger something in my brain, turning off that stressful reading-means-work switch, and turning on the one that allows me to relax and read for joy again.

Hey, I can dream, right?!

The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold
Sundowners, Lesley Lokko
The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
These three are the books I own that I return to the most. The Lovely Bones and The Time Traveler's Wife came out within a year of each other and I read them back-to-back. I remember being completely blown away by The Time Traveler's Wife. The story is so special, so unusual - completely unlike anything I had ever read before it and, come to think of it, have ever read after it. I've since introduced this to the boy and he too enjoyed it, which I found surprising. The fact he did goes to show how all-encompassing the story is.

The Lovely Bones subject-matter is a sensitive one, a dark and sad one, and coupled with being written from the point of view of it's 14 year old female protagonist, a piece that tugged, grabbed hold and never let go of my heartstrings. It's not something I would recommend to everyone - if you don't know what it's about, click on the link above to read a summary - but if you can get your head around where the storyline stems from it is most definitely a book worth reading.

Sundowners is everything you'd want from a piece of chick-lit and more. It is a spiders-web of plots, entwining the lives of 4 young girls who meet at boarding-school, before following them through the tangled webs of their adult lives. I bloody love it.

Mixing it up - When God was a Rabbit, After the Fall, Sister, Before I go to Sleep
When God was a Rabbit is not really a novel I can explain well, but one thing I can say is I was hooked from the word go. Once I closed it's pages for good I felt a sudden sadness and wished I could read it for the first time all over again!

After the Fall was a book given to me as an Easter treat by my lovely Auntie Ju. What a great pick! It ended up going in a direction I never had expected when I started it but I think that added to my enjoyment (hey, I made it through in a couple of days in April and surely that tells you something about it's ability to hold a reader's attention!)

Before Sister I had never read a thriller; now I'm completely hooked on them. I read this novel in one day because I physically could not bring myself to put it down. I don't actually know how I ever did! Completely bloody highly recommended (in fact, go get a copy guys. Right now.)

Before I go to Sleep is another thriller, one they are turning into a film. I do hope this doesn't go the way of others (I did not enjoy the film versions of The Time Traveler's Wife, nor The Lovely Bones) as I really did enjoy its twists and turns and interesting plot. I'm not sure how it will translate to screen, but lets all keep our fingers crossed it does.

The familiar I turn to - Cecelia Ahern, Jodi Picoult, Belinda Jones, Marian Keyes
I'm not going to run off a plot-line for each of these stories, I just wanted to highlight these particular authors as ones whose books I regularly return to when I just want to read something I previously enjoyed and easily escaped into.

Cecelia Ahern's (she of PS, I Love You fame) stories are fairytale's set in the modern world, injecting a dose of magic into the lives of the adults involved. The above was the most recent I read, although my favourite is probably If You Could See Me Now.

Jodi Picoult's plots are a little harder going than the others due to their troubling yet thought-provoking subject matter but are always completely well-worth the read. My Sister's Keeper is one of the only books - in fact, maybe the only - that has provoked me to cry in a public place!

Belinda Jones IS chick-lit. I own every novel she has written and will continue to be a major fan, no doubt, for the rest of my life. Every time I open a book of hers I find myself happily transported to a whole host of different lands, each one sounding more dreamy than the next (and after which I find myself adding the destination to the list of those I'd love to visit). Oh Belinda, you had me at I Love Capri!

Marian Keyes never disappoints - she's a bloody fantastic storyteller and combines dark and light-heartedness seamlessly. In fact, I'm awaiting the arrival of her most recent book, so I'll let you know how I get on (and fingers crossed I do!)

Unexpected enjoyment
The four above were random book choices for me. Of them, two were the boy's (War and Peace - I'm sure I don't need to introduce this! - and Your Voice In My Head - one of only two autobiographies I've ever read, and a brilliant one at that!), one was given to me as a gift (Random Acts....an absolutely beautiful, but painful, love story) and the other I bought on impulse (a quick-and-easy read).

Right, I have already spent more than enough time chatting to (at) you about those books/authors I've enjoyed, so I will leave it there.

Are there any books you return to regularly? What have you enjoyed reading recently?


  1. I have been captured by the Game of Thrones books recently! never thought I would like something like this, but they are compelling. Recent reads (that you might like, Tors) include Barbara Kingsolver's "Flight Behaviour" and Kate Atkinson's "Life after Life". There's no point in me listing the books I return to, because that would be almost all of them! but particularly.... no, there's really no point! lol!

    1. I will most definitely look those you mention up! Not sure Games of Thrones would be for me but maybe I'll have a try (after I've un-stuck myself from this rut)Haha, as I said, it was my top three....I return to a good few more!

  2. I love this post! I read a hell of a lot of books, but having an addictive personality and a Kindle means I read a book a day and if theres another in a series I will download and read straight away! My go to book however is A Million Little Pieces by James Frey, its so beautifully written even though it is quite a tragic story, based on drug and alcohol addiction but I would definitely without doubt recommend it! xxx

    1. I actually know about that book Chloe, I think because of the controversy that surrounds it? From what I remember it was shopped as a memoir but, after some people had a bit of a snoop around, they found a lot of the facts didn't match up and I think he admitted to having fabricated some of it? I can't remember exactly what happened, but I know he has been on Oprah twice to talk about it! It does, however, sound like a really interesting read, one I'd love to dive into once - as ever - I'm back to being able to! xxx

  3. eeep!! I love book related posts!! :)
    Jodi Picoult always makes me cry!! I've read about a dozen of her books and every.single.one.of.them makes me shed a tear!!
    I remember starting to read The Lovely Bones back when I was in high school and somewhere in the middle of it I somehow lost my book!! haha! I recently found it in a box and I'm determined to re-read + finish it!! :)
    Fantastic recommendations Tori!! I'll have to write down some of these titles and see if I can find them when I'm out + about! xo

    1. Thank you so much my sweet, I'm so glad you enjoyed it (I was a little worried about the length!).

      Jodi Picoult's books are sad. I don't think I've read that many, but I do have a copy of The Pact, Plain Truth, The Tenth Circle, Ninetween Minutes, Salem Falls and Perfect Match (that one is pretty darn harrowing). I love how they all take place in the outside world, and then we are drawn into the court room, and the court case. I find the way she sets out her novels really interesting.

      If you can, definitely do try and read The Lovely Bones. Also, I didn't think that much of her second novel (The Almost Moon) but her memoir, be it an incredibly uncomfortable and sad read, is oh so very interesting and gives you an insight into why she may have written The Lovely Bones. If, like the novel, you can get your head around the content, it too is worth reading.


  4. I love this post - I definitely know what you mean by uni diminishing your concentration for reading. I finished last week too and I just cannot pick up a book because my brain screams at me every time I try, even though I love reading so much.

    Thanks for the summer reading list, all of these books look amazing and I've only read a couple of them. Jodi Picoult is one of my favourite authors, her books are so thought provoking and I wonder where she gets her inspiration from - have you read her newest about the second world war? It's incredible.

    I also really want to read The Lovely Bones, I've seen the film but I hear the book is a little more detailed and graphic? I do hate seeing the film before reading the book though, so I'm going to have to snap up Before I Go To Sleep quickly!


    1. Thank you Nadine, it makes me so happy that you enjoyed the post! It's crazy, isn't it?! I still haven't succeeded in reading anything bar blog posts and twitter feeds :p

      You are very welcome! I hope you find any of those you do end up picking up enjoyable - please come back and let me know if so!

      The film completely pales in comparison the the book I'm afraid. Graphic? I'm not sure I would say it was. For example, there is a scene in the film where the guy is sat in a bath tub, and everything is white bar the blood on his clothes? For starters that isn't even in the book, and I'd say I found that to be a lot more graphic than the way the book puts things across.

      Oh, and you definitely should re: Before I Go To Sleep. I really thoroughly enjoyed it!


    2. Oh good, I don't much like graphic writing so I was hoping I'd heard wrong!

      I only found your blog this morning and I'm thoroughly enjoying it, I just thought I'd let you know that I think it's brilliant :)

    3. This comment made my day Nadine, thank you so so much!!! :D xx


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