I love reading, I love writing, I love going to the library, I love going to book stalls, I love going to WH Smiths. I even have an unread book pile of about 7 going on on my bedside table.
My English Literature degree has enabled me to read greatly in the canon, yes. But it generally lacks the kind of fiction I like to read, and so I do a lot of outside research on top of it. Some people may think I'm crazy, yes. But I just love it.
Books I've been loving recently:
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
This book is a rarity: one I've read for a course and loved. I can't deny it's trash fiction and had me wondering why on earth it was on a university reading list. It's very evocative of both time and place, and really gets across the emptiness of the lifestyle it's trying to portray. The ambition displayed in it is gravity defying, and I'm not sure if it made me feel awe or really, really sad. The characters are fantastic, whether you love them or you hate them. It might be holiday reading but it's one I'd definitely recommend.
Wonderboys by Michael Chabon
This one I have a love/hate relationship with. I read the first 100 pages and wanted to drop it in my bath or light it up with a candle. I haaaated the main character with a passion. Hated, hated, hated. He was the kind of cack-handedly misogynistic twat I would detest in real life. I also hated him because he was a writer, and this is a book about writers and the literary world. I thought I would find this interesting, yet it was making me cringe. But, you know, I think it was somewhat of a slow burner; by the end I wanted to understand the protagonist's choices and the world around him, and I found some humour in it.
The Group by Mary McCarthy
Ok so this is a slight cheat as I'm only halfway through but I'm so in love. The female characters aren't all sassy feminists, no, but they're all flawed and well-rounded. They all have problems and successes, and make different life choices. All the mention of jellied dishes does make me want to throw up (what did people cook in the 60s?!) but overall, a good read.
On my to read list...
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
I love Everything is Illuminated, and JSF is a tutor on the MA Creative Writing course I would sell an arm and leg to do at NYU. I haven't seen the film, but the blurb on this one makes me melt.
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
Reviews often make me want to read a book, and this one was really loved. I also love the idea of the viewpoint it takes on New York and the multiple characters it explores.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
This has been on my to read list for a while due to the rave reviews it received, and it's been pushed up due to my enjoyment of The Goldfinch. How can a book be so universally loved? It has to be good, so I'm excited for this one.