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Wednesday 9 May 2012

Recently read book roundup

I've decided to do a "recently read" book round up for 2 reasons.
Firstly, individual book reviews can be long and tiresome. If it's good, you'll know about it cause it'll get it's own post (Cue much imaginary competition and grandstanding between the several stacks of books that await me), if it's bad then I can succintly (unlikely) provide you with that information and save you money, before moving onto something more interesting.
Secondly, I'm doing a "recently read" in the hopes that the pressure to do this post regularly will force me off my arse to start reading all those classics I've neglected (see: Books to Read Before Death). Maybe then I'll stop using words like "arse" and start using words like "posterior". Yes, that's what Thomas Hardy would've said.
Anyway, my most recent roundup are:
"Before I Go To Sleep" by S J Watson, "50 Shades of Grey" by E L James and "Make, Bake, Love" by Lilly Higgins.
Clearly, none of the aboves are classics but before you mock, I have grand literary plans for the rest of the Summer (I may or may not have said that every Summer prior to this).

"Before I go to Sleep" is the story of Christine, who, following a brain injury in her late 20's, now finds herself in her 40's, waking up every day with complete amnesia, remembering nothing following her injury. Throughout the day her husband fills her in on her life and by the time she goes to sleep that night, she's up to speed. Unfortunately after a prolonged sleep she forgets everything so goes through the same process every day. Kind of like Groundhog Day, except Andie McDowell is nowhere to be seen, so therefore, less annoying.
At first I found this one a little bit depressing (in fairness, it's not exactly sunshine, lollipops and rainbows material) but it picked up pace and turned into an intriguing little thriller. I thought I had the twist in the tale sussed, but I was wrong! Definitely worth a read if you like psychological thrillers but I would suggest having a lighter book on standby, like....

"50 Shades of Grey"! A New York Times number 1 Bestseller, people raving about it all over the place, claiming it's saving marriages across America..I was intrigued. That was my first mistake. My second mistake was then purchasing it.
In a nutshell, it's the story of Anastasia Steele (yes, that is her real name), a college student who interviews the young and incredibly attractive (and wealthy-that point is stressed several times) business tycoon Christian Grey for her college magazine. Anyway, he has these amazing grey eyes (also heavily mentioned throughout the book-at least on every second page) and although he appears to be a complete bastard she falls for him during the interview and within the next chapter or so agrees to become his "subservient", for the auld s & m shenanigans in his dungeon. You know, as you do. Things that annoyed me about this book (you might want a comfortable chair and a cup of tea handy for this part):
1) There's a whole long winded section in the middle where she's reading her subservient contract, which goes on for ages. Just cause it's an s&m contract doesn't make it any more interesting than a regular legal document. If I was interested in that sort of thing, I'd actually bother reading the itunes terms and conditions that they renew like every two days before you can buy anything, instead of just pretending I have. Also one large section of the contract is repeated in two different parts of the book, completely unnecessarily!! *Cough, space filler, cough*.
2) Anastasia seems to have two split personalities fighting each other continuously who help her make decisions-her "inner goddess" (whatever the hell that is) and her subconscious, although this is casually mentioned as if completely normal. Every time I saw the words "inner goddess" I actually thought I was going to punch the kindle in the face.
3) Although every so often E L James tries to portray the main character as strong and intelligent, she then ruins that by doing the following: failing to describe Anastasia's appearance in any detail, apart from the colour of her hair and the fact that she blushes all the time (of course). Whereas, Christian Grey is described in minute detail, as if the main female character is less important than the male, in appearance as in every other area. Also, every time he does something, she puts it in italics, as if it's a really big deal- "Christian Grey sent me an email!", "Christian Grey just sat down in my house!" etc. Furthermore, Anastasia's friend Jose (easily one of the most annoying characters ever-keeps saying things like "Dios Mia!" etc) turns out to be a potential rapist, which she decides to get over pretty quickly saying "Oh, I could never stay mad at you!". Ah yeah, nothing like a friend who tries to sexually assault you when you're drunk, I always say. That's another thing, she keeps saying things like "Oh my, wishes really do come true", like a Disney princess, except, obviously with more s & m. AND she keeps putting her hair in pigtails, even though she's TWENTY-TWO!!! Cue more Kindle-face punching. Basically it's like a feminist's nightmare.
The only redeeming feature for me was the rather sweet emails they send back and forth to each other which actually seemed quite realistic-like how the start of a relationship actually is. Other than that, it's pure tripe. I did get a decent chuckle or two out of it but those were unintentional laughs on the part of the author, I would imagine. Having said all of that (apologies for the rant), I can see why people are enjoying it, it's completely mindless and involves no concentration whatsover, for that reason I just bought it for my bestie for her train journey. If you're expecting it to save your marriage though, you'll be sorely disappointed. Unless you and your husband enjoy a good laugh at poorly written s & m. Which is unlikely. But then again, I don't know your life.

Lastly, "Make, Bake, Love" is a really lovely cookery book with some amazing recipes inside. It is a bit of a cheat, as I didn't technically "read" this, but you can rest assured that I have given the pictures a good lookin' over from cover to cover! Having loved her on Maeve Higgins' show "Fancy Vittles" a while back, I started following her blog (Stuff I make, bake and love) and then of course, had to pick this gorgeous book up with a gift voucher I had. The recipes are really easy to follow and the book is beautifully laid out- this would make a great present for anyone who enjoys baking.
Recipes I plan on trying out in the not too distant future include; citrus tarts, chocolate peanut butter cake, mini black forest cakes and red velvet cake. Nom nom nom.


  1. i've been seeing the Shades book everywhere! sounds like my kinda read

    1. Yeah, when I went to buy a copy for my friend the sales assistant said they're flying off the shelves!!

  2. Before I Go To Sleep looks really good- I know I'm weird for this, but I love the depressing books like that!

    1. It was actually a good read, I'd recommend it! I am completely drawn to depressing books so I know exactly what you mean! :-)