The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

I’m not sure if there actually were seven deaths, it all got a little bit confusing somewhere through all the days that the story takes place over, but The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is an over 500 page book that took me five days to read. It makes sense, about 100 per day, but it was more like 100 in the first two or three days, and the rest in the remaining, it was that hard to put down that I just didn’t want to. A great book to travel with, makes a flight seem shorter than it really is, which is always a plus if you ask me.

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Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

So many people have either recommended this book to me, or said it was recommended to them, or that it was their favorite book by this author, but you see, I don’t see it. The first book by Murakami I read was 1Q84 a few years back, and really, though the entire trilogy was probably close to 1500 pages it somehow was more enjoyable than this just under 400 page book was. On a side note, that there is a chapter in this book that is 100 pages, and I think that’s what stalled me in the reading process, because that is not something that I was ready for; and also probably why it took me so long to get through. Something about shorter chapters just sits a little better with me, and in some way makes me feel like I get through a book faster that way.

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Stoner by John Williams

Stoner. As a title it has some shock value to it, but the book is anything but anything that may come to mind when first reading it. It follows one protagonist from youth to death, all the highs and all the lows that he encountered over the many years he was alive. There isn’t that much to the story when you read the blurb at the back of the book and then as you read, but there is something that makes it even relatable to the readers.

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How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

I was eyeing this book up for some time but couldn’t really commit to buying it; something with being unsure if I needed more books and all that. But after putting it in a virtual wish list and getting it for my birthday back in January, I felt summer was the time to get into reading again, and to pick up this book. It took me a little longer to read it than I had hoped, but sometimes you just hit a standstill with a book and you really need something to motivate you. I find reading on trains and planes really easy and a place where I seem to get most of my reading done; but with my travels to a town 20 minutes over, I seem to forget my book more often than not.

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I gave How to Stop Time a 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads, there was just something about it that stopped me from putting a full five star rating on it. Overall, it’s a very engaging book which I would definitely recommend for whatever mood you could be in. The author does a great job of going between the past and present and interlinking them in a very clear and effective manner so the reader isn’t lost in the plot. There was never a time where I felt like I didn’t know what was going on. Naturally, like any book, there are slight slumps in the story where not much seems to be happening, but once you get past that the action picks up soon after. There isn’t much dullness to the book, but it is not one that is overly fast paced; it simply is a comfortable, and quick, read all around.

The plot is engaging and encourages reading more and nothing is left unexplained. The climax of the story is one that is relatively predictable when you really pay attention to what is commented on throughout the story, but it is one that appears relatively late in the novel and the falling action and conclusion are not as long as some like. Nonetheless, everything falls into place and the ending of the story itself is one that I anticipated to some extent. There is no set up for a second novel, but I feel like How to Stop Time would make a decent movie, there is a multitude of elements that I believe would make it something worth putting on the screen, but romance films are in a slight slump at the moment so it may be years, if ever.

Anyway, this was a book worth the time and can definitely be read in less than nearly three weeks, so if you’re looking for a quick read or are on a deadline from the library this is something you should pick up when you have the chance.


There were a lot of good quotes throughout this book, and many times, they were super long, which is why it seems that the ones chosen just go on and on, but they are probably the ones that stood out to me the most when reading (then re-reading in an attempt to find them as I didn’t note them down initially).

“I have been in love only once in my life. I suppose that makes me a romantic, in a sense.” (23)
“The hall fell silent. I had never hears a silence like it. The whole hall seemed to be holding its breath. It felt civilized and modern. It felt refined and tantalizing all at once, like a polite collective pre-orgasm.
Time slowed, inside that moment.
Then the music began.”
(99)
“And within moments they disappeared through the packed room with their cocktails and, though they made it perfectly clear I could join them, I stayed there with nothing but vodka and tomato juice for company, staying in the safe shadows of history.“(179)
“This is what the piano does.
This is the danger of it.
It makes you human.” 
(209)
“I quote others only in order the better to express myself”, she’d say, which was itself, I sensed, another quote. (217)
I was hungover. I was always hungover in Plymouth. Well, either hungover or drunk. (255)
“You can’t fall in love and not think there is something bigger ruling us. …” (297)

 

Under the Skin – Michel Faber

IMG_4255Under the Skin by Michel Faber was one of the books I had on my reading list this year, and naturally, it had to be read for mid-March but as it has potential of being on my final, I feel like finishing it mid-April is justified. I’m not entirely sure why it took me so long to finish this, most likely the need to do other things and as it’s not the most engaging text, I didn’t really feel all that motivated to get into it. Nonetheless, it surely is more interesting than a majority of book that I’ve had to read over the course of my time in High School and now University. I had the motivation to read it for the time it was supposed to be read, yet, did not manage to do so, and decided to result to watching the 2014 film adaptation, but only managed about half of that before I decided that it was not worth it, and would not exactly recommend the film to anyone.


Despite the book taking me quite some time to finish, I would recommend it. The protagonist of the novel, Isserley, may not be a character that readers would be easily be able to relate to. The novel as a whole gives readers something to think about, incorporating some themes regarding colonization and race, but with a science fiction twist. As known by some of you already, I’m not the biggest fan of science fiction; everyone has their own likes and dislikes when it comes to genres and sci-fi is simply just not my cup of tea. Despite this, I quite enjoyed this novel. The science fiction elements was not that great that it interrupted the overall plot and message of what the author was trying to communicate, so all in all, it was a rather easy and engaging read that didn’t feel like a chore.

All in all, to me, Faber does a good job of communicating issues such as otherness (that can be linked to race in recent times), class and capitalism, and consumerism with a sci-fi twist on them. This in turn, makes the novel more enjoyable and understandable, especially as it still is set in the current world in modern times.

Overall, I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.