Sunday, 24 September 2017

the best books I've read this summer

Blissfully unaware of what is about how time consuming starting sixth form, I thought I would upload my favorite reads from the summer. If you've been following my Instagram stories (@eleanorclaudie hit me up) then you'll probably have gathered that I read a lot this summer. From classic vintage reads to some holiday romances, ah Atwood and Orwell can't quite prize me away from a good ol' chick flick book, I've read quite a bit. English Literature is possibly my favourite subject; have I spoken too soon? I mean we're two weeks into college and our class hasn't quite got into analysing the set texts yet so that could change but at the moment I'm absolutely loving it. Also now that I take the bus to college instead of walking to school like I used to it means I can read on the way to college (such a bonus if I don't have time in the evenings).


The first book that has to feature on this post is The Handmaid's Tale. A work of literary genius. This book has been getting a lot more coverage recently despite being released in 1985 and I can understand why. Although it is most definitely a stark dystopian novel about how women are used in order to pro-create in hostile environments (it's even more harrowing than my description) one couldn't help but feel that this could easily happen in today's modern society. The themes about freedom and women's rights that are touched upon in the book make for a hugely interesting novel.

It was the first book I read this summer, way back at the end of June and at the time I didn't realise it was one of the books that I would be studying for A-level. I mean I'm not unhappy at all with that because it had me fixed from start to finish and I'm eager to find out more about the meaning behind what Atwood was trying to say in the novel about society. For the A-level we have to do a lot of wider reading around the topic of dystopia which is great because dystopia is one of my favourite genres of literature (despite being very much a realist). I've just finished reading Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Isaguiro and I cannot fathom how much that book has emotionally affected me. Even more so than The Handmaid's Tale I think you can't help but feel a connection with the characters that you're reading about. If it was still 'summer' then Never Let Me Go would just have to feature in this post so I'm still giving it an honorary mention. Read both books and you won't be disappointed.


My second favorite book of the summer and possibly the one that would divide opinion is Atonement by Ian McEwan. My mum read his new (ish) book Nutshell and took a strong disliking towards the whole story and although I haven't read it for myself it doesn't particularly sound like a book that would be to my liking. Atonement on the other hand was a cracking good read. Dalal was the one who recommended it to me and I'm glad she did. It made me think and question how our actions can affect the course of others lives and in turn how they affect our own. The structure is tangled in a way that ties in beautifully with the story of the book, flitting from various characters. The story itself is based on a crime that thirteen year old Briony Tallis commits in the summer of 1935 and in turn the repercussions it has and the how she spends most of her life trying to atone this crime. It's hugely worth reading if you want to read a vintage book but don't know where to start.

Upon googling Atonement for this post I came across the fact it's been made into a film starring James McAvoy so when I have a spare moment I know what film I'm going to be watching! Also
Ian McEwan's book The Child In Time (how must not be mistaken for Ian McGregor because that can easily be muddled) is currently a new BBC drama starring my fave Benedict Cumberbatch so I definitely must get to reading that before I even contemplate watching it.


Recommended by my dear friend Esme, White Teeth was one of the many books that travelled with me in my suitcase to Italy this summer. Despite writing about Italy and making it seem like forever ago it was only last month although the amount that I've done in between is astounding. Without getting side tracked, White Teeth by the fabulous Zadie Smith is a must read for anyone of any age (actually if you're a younger reader it's maybe one to think about because some of the topics aren't the most child appropriate). It focuses on the later lives of two wartime friends - Samad Iqbal and the Archie Jones - and their families in London. SO much happens in the book so it's kind of hard to explain but you need to read it, like seriously. It was funny without being silly and it's making me smile just thinking about it. The humour is odd but reflects the whole book itself and the more you read the more you want to know what happens. Honestly it was so great and it is most certainly not going to be the last Zadie Smith book that I pick up. 



Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury probably isn't the typical book you'd see in a summer book list but it was indeed one of my favorites. A shorter novel that I happily devoured in one sitting it wasn't such the book itself that merits it one of my favourites but the way it made me think about the things we take for granted. Naturally, dystopian novels tend to have a very strong message about the way humans live their lives now and paint a picture of what it could look life if we take one of these aspects to the extreme but Fahrenheit 451 was a book that made me realise the importance of what and whom we hold nearest and dearest to us. The temperature at which books burn, the ominous title of the novel setting a precedence for the whole book about a man who is a firefighter. Ironically though, instead of putting out fires he sets books on fire in attempt to rid all books. He's part of the fire department where it is his actual job to burn books - but is it what he really wants?

It's a plot heavy book but is intertwined with narrative that puts your own desires into perspective. What you want and what you would do for the others around you. There's a brief synopsis of the story but it's not the hardest book to read so if you like dystopia go check it out.


Even though it is a little late, those are my favourite books this summer - and boiii was it hard to narrow down; I am definitely going to be in a predicament when it comes to my favourite books of 2017. What were your favourite summer reads and are there any recommendations of books that I should be reading? I would love to know your faves!

lots of love, eleanor xx
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11 comments

  1. Ooo some of these sound amazing, I shall definitely have to check them out! I'm currently reading White Teeth and so far it's pretty good
    X

    Www.indistilling.wordpress.com

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    1. It's great isn't it! I hope you like any of the other books on this post if you do read them :) x

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  2. I'm so glad you liked Atonement, it's one of my favourite books (despite the fact writing on it for coursework pretty much made me hate it by the end of it) I love the way all the phases are structured and the disjointed narrative of it all. The film is really good too, funnily enough Benerdict Cumberbatch is in it too- he plays Paul Marshall. I did love Handmaids Tale too- if you have time/if you haven't already, read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley it's a must! Gotta add White Teeth to my list as well.

    Dalal // monochromedaisies.blogspot.com

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    1. I'll definitely have to watch it then, I can totally imagine Benedict as Paul Marshall though. I've never really been into gothic literature much but I'll put it on my reading list!

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  3. White Teeth definitely sounds like a must-read, I'm already gripped reading your review!

    Anika xo | anikamay.co.uk

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  4. I study the Handmaids tale for a level literature as well! It is a good piece of writing, however, Atonement is brilliant, by far one of my favourite novels!
    www.lottiegibbons.com

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    1. That's so interesting! I know a lot of people that don't actually like it so it's great to know someone does!

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  5. Got so many new books to add to my list, I've been wanting to read Never Let Me GO for an age and have always shied away from Ian McEwan/Atonement because it was notoriously hated at A-level but it does sound interesting! Small Great Changes was one of my favourite summer reads, it basically follows a legal battle but is immensely captivating and strongly challenges racial prejudices/highlights the racism that still exists!
    http://kaatielouu.blogspot.co.uk

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  6. Surprisingly, I have never read any of these books and I honestly feel like I havem't read enough recently. I'll have to pick a few of them up, especially Handmaids Tale. I'm currently reading Ferel by George Monbiot xo

    emsirose.blogspot.com

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