Book Roundup Two

Firstly, apologies for the delay in this next book roundup post, it’s been a busy few months! I’ve mostly been reading books for my Masters course, however, I’m still trying to make time for reading other non-academic books on the side. I’ve read quite a variety of books over the past few months so hopefully, there’s something that interests you in this post! Also, these photos were taken a while ago, when it was actually warm and sunny outside, they’re making me miss the summer and the days it was actually warm enough to read outside!!

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

raceAs mentioned in the previous Book Roundup Post, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge was next up on my to-read list and the second feature in my unofficial book club. Before reading this book, I’d seen so many people talking about how interesting and enlightening it was and after reading it, I’m pleased to say it definitely lived up to expectations! After studying Caribbean history at uni last year I was quite familiar with black British history. However, this book really helped me learn about the modern issues with racism in our country, including the significance of the Stephen Lawrence case, something I knew very little about going into it. The book also does a good job of making the white reader question their own white privilege, using familiar scenarios that challenge the reader’s perception of privilege, making them question decisions or events in their lives where their race may have played a part in shaping the outcome. I found the chapter on feminism and race particularly interesting as I had not previously considered how a movement focussed on progression and equality, could often ignore the needs and issues of women of colour face daily. I’d really recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about race and becoming more aware of white privilege.

Rating: 5/5

You can find Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race on Amazon here.

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

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I’ve had Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger on my bookshelf for months having picked it up in a second-hand bookshop in York. I was immediately drawn by the cover and the fact it’s a well known classic. However, I have to admit, the book was quite a disappointment. The novel follows adolescent Holden Caulfield, who has just been expelled from school and is trying to combat the feeling of not being understood or belonging through wandering around New York City fleetingly coming into contact with different people he vaguely knows or meets on his way. The concept of the book explores the feelings of frustration and adolescent angst Holden feels and Salinger truly captures this through the narration and use of language. However, it was this jarring sense of an angsty teen that really made me dislike the book. At times I felt the colloquial language was overdone and forced. I also expected the plot to expand beyond what was actually a few drawn out days. Despite my not so great review, I would recommend this book to teenagers, and I can see how this book could feel more relatable and appeal to a younger teenage target audience.

Rating: 2.5/5

You can find Catcher in the Rye on Amazon here. (I’ve linked the same copy of the book I have, as I think it’s beautiful!)

Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie

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I love an Agatha Christie book and the holiday home I visited in the Lake District this summer had a great selection to choose from, so I picked Cat Among the Pigeons as my holiday read. The mystery unfolds in a private boarding school for girls after two teachers find a body in the sports pavilion. The book follows a diverse set of characters including students, teachers and parents, some of whom know too much about the mysterious death at the school. I loved the building tension throughout the book as the reader gradually began to find out secrets characters were hiding and piece together the puzzles of the unfolding mystery. I find it difficult to criticise any of Christie’s work but I did find myself waiting for Poirot to appear as the book went on and the mystery began to become more complex. Poirot does not appear until near the end of the book and at times I did get a little impatient waiting for him to turn up and inevitably solve the mystery and subsequently save the day.

Rating: 4/5

You can find Cat Among the Pigeons on Amazon here.

1666: Plague, War and Hellfire by Rebecca Rideal

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1666: Plague, War and Hellfire by Rebecca Rideal is my final book for this post and it was a thoroughly enjoyable read! The book is a narrative history of the 1665 plague, the Dutch War and then ending with the Great Fire of London, told through a range of historical characters. It was something slightly different for me. As a history student, I have, of course, read plenty of academic books relating to my course but never the sort of narrative histories you find in an ordinary bookshop. I loved 1666, and the way Rideal made the events interesting to someone with a lot or no background knowledge, through telling the story through historical characters such as Samuel Pepys and John Milton to name but a few.  It was a really interesting read that didn’t just focus on the misery and destruction of the two years but also looked at the positive figures that emerged from the devastation such as Robert Hooke creating Microscopia and John Milton, the author of Paradise Lost. As I have mentioned, Rideal’s retelling of the events was engaging, however for me, the sections on the war at sea with the Dutch were sometimes a little difficult to follow, this could be because of my lack of interest in military and naval history!! The year 1666 was a significant turning point in British history and something, many (myself included to some extent) know little about; I think Rideal’s book is the perfect way to learn about this crucial watershed in British history without having to trawl through a history textbook.

Rating: 4/5

You can find 1666: Plague, War and Hellfire on Amazon here.

Hope you enjoyed this book post! Have you read any of these books? Do leave a comment with any thoughts below. Also please feel free to leave any book recommendations in the comments!

I will be reading Brideshead Revisited for the next post if you feel like reading along with me as an unofficial book club I’d really appreciate it, and hopefully, that one will not take so long for me to publish!

Emma rasp

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