Reading List | 01

When I was a child I used to devour books. I used to ask my Mum to keep my bedroom light on the dimmest setting when she turned out my light to sleep, so that I could secretly squint in the half darkness and continue reading my book.

These days it’s harder to find enough time to read. I snatch 5 minutes here and there to read before bed or on the tube, but every now and again I set 20 minutes aside to read and I love it so much. In fact one of my favourite parts of going on holiday is to be able to lie in the sun and consume book after book for days on end and not feel guilty about needing to do something else.This past Summer a couple of friends asked me for advice on books to read and so I thought I’d share some of those recommendations on here.

This reading list is a mix of my favourite books combined with books that I have read recently and enjoyed. I love a book that will suck me in but I also like a book that makes me think. I do read trashier books now and again, and enjoy them, but it’s better when they make you feel something as well. I was never that interested in learning history at school, but I love a book set during a war or moment in history to learn about it in that way. I also love a book that will make me cry, is that weird?!

The Fault in Our Stars John Green
I read this on the beach in Ibiza and was left sobbing alone on the beach while my friend took a nap. It’s an easy read but a deep subject and there are some beautiful lines in there which have stayed in my head even now. I am hesitant to see the movie – has anyone seen it yet? I know I’ll need a box of tissues!

Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro
I absolutely loved this book – the way it was written, the unexpected realisation which you have when it is revealed what is going on. It’s set in England in the 1990s but not England as we know it. I have friends who have read this who thought it was plain disturbing. It is a slightly dark subject (which I can’t reveal without giving the plot away!) but it is beautifully written and thought provoking.

The Secret History Donna Tartt
I only just realised when writing this that I have including two Donna Tartt books in here. Not intentional! This was my favourite of the two though. The characters are what make this book, completely. It’s fascinating and gripping and again, quite dark. (Wow I don’t tend to read light and cheery books do I!?). This book is timeless, exploring the human character, and I really think it is a must-read. I definitely want to re-read this at some point!

The Time Traveller’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger
This is my favourite book I’ve read in my life so far. It’s clever, beautiful, imaginative, and such a wonderful and tragic love story. It tells the story of Claire and Henry, whose lives are utterly intertwined as Henry has a rare condition which causes him to unexpectedly travel into his own past or future. As an adult, Henry travels back several times to meet Claire as a little girl as she grows up and, years later, they finally meet in their present. Confused? Read it then 😉 I’ve read this a few times and it never ceases to make me cry.

The Book Thief Markus Zusak
I read this in August whilst floating around on a blow up rubber ring in a swimming pool in the South of France. Kind of a strange setting to be reading a book which is set in Nazi Germany and narrated by Death, but it is a stunning book about a little girl who is sent to live with a foster family. It is such an interesting perspective of WW2 and is written so cleverly, a scrapbook of stories almost.

The Goldfinch Donna Tartt
I suggest you read this when you have a bit of time (such as on holiday) as it took me months to read due to only reading 5 minutes a day! I felt such fond feelings for the main character, a little boy called Theo, who really doesn’t have the best luck in life. It tracks his life as it spirals out of control following the destruction of a bomb in New York City. There are such dramatic changes in scenery that it feels like several novels in one (and weighs the same as well!) and are clever plot twists. As with The Secret History, Donna Tartt paints such beautiful characters that I feel like I know them.
{I suggest buying this on Kindle if you have one, because it was partly due to the book’s epic size that it took me so long to read, as I couldn’t cart it round in my handbag easily.}

Have you read any of these books? Next time I put together a book list I think I will try and choose some lighter subjects to mix it up a bit!

Do you have any book suggestions? x

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  • Reply
    November 5, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Great picks! The only ones here that I haven't read are The Secret History and The Time Traveller's Wife, but they're both on my to-read-list. 🙂

    xx Mimmi, Muted Mornings

    • Reply
      Polly Rowan
      November 6, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Thanks, yes you should defo give them a go 🙂

  • Reply
    Miranda | Miranda's Notebook
    November 5, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Great list! Sadly, it does get harder and harder to find time to read. Too often, I still stay up too late trying to finish a book. I've just started The Goldfinch! Very much enjoying it so far.

    • Reply
      Polly Rowan
      November 6, 2014 at 10:20 am

      I'm sure you'll love it Miranda x

  • Reply
    November 5, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Great post! I was reading along nodding because I also find it really difficult to find time to read but when I do I love it and go through so many books on holiday 🙂 I loved The Fault In Our Stars and The Book Thief. I tried The Time Traveller's Wife but found it really hard to get into – maybe I should have another go and the Secret History has been on my to-read list for a while so it's good to know you enjoyed it.

    • Reply
      Polly Rowan
      November 6, 2014 at 10:20 am

      The Time Traveller's Wife is such a beautiful story – I think you should try it again 🙂 The Secret History is so fab too.

  • Reply
    Polly AB
    November 6, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Poll – great list including some of my favourites too! I've wanted to read The Secret History for ages and now I've finished The Goldfinch, it's right up there on my list! Have you read Cloud Atlas? It's another huge book but my dad said it's brilliant and I really wanna give it a go.

    Sarah – I had the same problem with The Time Traveller's Wife, I got too confused and gave up! But I tried again and loved it, so persevere! x

    • Reply
      Polly Rowan
      November 6, 2014 at 10:21 am

      Ooh no I haven't read that, though I saw the film and it was good but so so complicated! I'll put it on my to-read list x

  • Reply
    Emily Sharp
    November 20, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Hello Polly (me again, I feel as if I've been commenting away on your blog today!)

    Have you checked out Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children? by ransom riggs. It's a young adult book, but I like it because its a bit quirky and to be honest I felt the young adult theme was a bit of an afterthought !

    • Reply
      Polly Rowan
      November 20, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      Haha hey there! Love all your comments.

      Ooh that sounds fab and young adult fiction doesn't bother me! I'm pretty sure The Fault in our Stars was called as YA. I will check out that book – I love a bit of quirky!

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