Friday, January 22, 2016

Recent Brit Lit Binge

I've been on a Brit Lit Binge, thanks in part to the ease with which books from BookDepository can be ordered. Here are a few of my very latest favorites, although they are not the latest books.

::  Am I Normal? by Holly Bourne
I am a pretty harsh critic when it comes to young adult books. If I hear too much of the author's voice or if the book has just a pinch of preachiness, I tend to roll my eyes and toss it aside. Am I Normal Yet? was recommended to me by many lovely people on Twitter, and it was just perfect: hilarious, sad, true. Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list… But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love? 

:: As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Flavia de Luce, a precocious 12 year-old who, like a younger Ms. Marple, is always stumbling upon a crime in her village of Bishop's Lacey. Set in the 1950s, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust is the continuing story of this aspiring chemist always seems to be one step ahead of those bumbling chief inspectors, as per usual. This book is the seventh book in the series, and there is a change of setting which I don't want to reveal as it's a bit of spoiler. While I am enjoying Flavia as usual, I find I am missing Bishop's Lacey and her rambling and decaying family home, Buckshaw.

:: Lady Catherine, The Earl and The Real Downton Abbey by The Countess of Carnarvon 
This book was lent to me by my father, who'd read it in a matter of days. It took me about that long and I was riveted by the story of Lady Catherine, the wife (and ex-wife) of the 6th Earl of Carnarvon, residents of Highclere Castle, the real-life setting, of course for Downton Abbey. This true story is fascinating and heartbreaking, and gives you the real sense that truth is often much more interesting than the most outrageous of fiction.

:: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Gosh. What can I say? I'd read Kate Atkinson's book A God in Ruins first which is technically out of order, since the two books are related. However, I found it gave me an interesting perspective on the first book. In a series of back and forths, this book reads like a Choose Your Own Adventure, as the reader follows the life of Ursula, from her death at birth to her life as, well, you never know do you? I have heard you either love this book or hate this book (read: can't even get through it). I guess I'm with the former.

:: The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Bradley
This is a cheat as this book is set in Britain during the second world war, but is written by an American. This is the book I am currently reading and I have to confess I'm having a difficult time with it. Considering it just won a Newbery Honor for children's literature in January, I know that I am in the minority in my difficulties. I've only heard positive things, so I will stick with it so I can discuss it with my most discerning customers: my students. ; )

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