I'm having a crazy week, I got no sleep night and I wrote this on the train from London earlier so I apologise for the lack of pictures and any incoherency!
|001||Angela Carter - The Bloody Chamber and Other Short Stories|
|This is a collection of feminist retellings of traditional fairy stories. Very gothic, the stories are dark and luscious, oozing with sexuality and fantastically empowered women and girls. When I was studying for my English A Level this was the text my teacher used to introduce us to the Gothic genre and it's been a favourite ever since.|
Recommended to: Anyone interested in fairytales, those who want to be reminded that feminist fiction can be fun!
|002||Elizabeth Wein - Code Name Verity|
|I've been raving about this since I first read it last year. It's a hearbreaking story of confident, competant ladies who love each other. It's been a year and I still catch myself thinking about (read: getting emotional over) these women and their relationship.|
Recommended to: People who enjoy war fiction and beautifully constructed female protagonists
|003||Philip Pullman - His Dark Materials trilogy|
|All the books on this list own a piece of my soul but perhaps none more so than these. Having read Northern Lights (The Golden Compass to you folks over the pond!) a couple of times when I was younger, I finally got around to reading the entire trilogy in the summer before last. Pullman is a master of plot - particularly in the first two parts he has you grasping for any and all explanations even when you know full well that everything you're being told is a half-truth. The cast of characters is vast and rich and I cared deeply for them all - I'm always sad that discussions of these books talk so little about Mary Malone, her interactions with the Mulefa remain my favourite parts of the books. In terms of theme, it doesn't treat religion kindly but the messages of the need for consciousness and engagement and the necessity of stories were ones I really responded to.|
Recommended to: Everyone. Seriously. Read it as epic fantasy or as a treatise on religion. Take from it what you want but please read it!
|004||Jonathan Safran Foer - Everything Is Illuminated|
|I picked this up on the basis of a quote I'd seen - it's not the sort of thing I'd pick up otherwise - and within pages I was captivated by Foer's playful use of language. I think Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a more accessible story but I prefer this. More than anything the book's descriptions of love and loneliness and the experience of being moved me more than I can say.|
Recommended to: People with a yearning to be devastated!
|005||Patrick Ness - Choas Walkingtrilogy|
|This series made me cry on a train packed full of commuters! I've never come across a series (for children or otherwise) that so brutally and vividly deals with the experience and reality of war. Set in a world that is part frontier, part space age, themes include colonisation, terroism, gender war, loss of innocence and lost parenthood. Really fantastic stuff.|
Recommended to: Those who like their pre-teen dystopia to give them a lot to think about.
|006||Bram Stoker - Dracula|
|Another book I read for my gothic literature course. Told in epistolary format it's surprisingly easy to read (I have major issues with pre-C20 writing styles). Full of sex and violent it's HBO in the C19.|
Recommended to: Those who like their classics campy and ridiculous!
|007||Veronica Roth - Divergenttrilogy|
|I maintain that this is the best of dystopian YA. It was sold to me as 'the Harry Potter sorting hat meets The Hunger Games' and that's the hook I always use to persuade people to read it! The development of the themes/characters/world-building in Insurgent was everything I'd hoped for.|
Recommended to: Anyone who's enjoyed any of the other dystopian YA of the last few years.
|008||Connie Willis - Blackout/All Clear|
|My review spells out most of my feelings but again, TIME TRAVELLING HISTORIANS!!!!!|
Recommended to: Anyone interested in the British Home Front during WW2
|009||Ann Brashares - The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pantsseries|
|This is one of the most underrated YA series out there. It predates the YA boom of the last 5 years or so but don't let it's age fool you - it's excellent! The premise is a little silly but my God, THOSE GIRLS! I love them so - Bridget Vreeland remains one of my favourite fictional characters! The series deals with lots of different aspects of adolescence in the modern world (divorce, parental death, mental health etc.) as well as the usual romance. It also deals with sex really well which is always a plus!|
Recommended to: Anyone who enjoys contemporary YA!
|010||Carol Rifka Brunt - Tell the Wolves I'm Home|
|Favourite read of 2013 so far - I've been rec'ing it to everyone I know because it is wonderful and deserves more attention!|
Recommended to: Anyone and everyone!