Hello dear readers!! How are you all doing now that the weather is finally looking up in this corner of England? I hope you’ve been cherishing every precious moment of this inevitably short burst of spring; I know I have!! And look, I even felt compelled to write this post today, so that’s an improvement, right?
At the beginning of this year, I vowed to myself that I would start reading a wider range of books from a variety of different authors, but the main aim of my ‘resolution’ (so to speak) was to read authors of completely different nationalities. When you pick up a book, the first thing that you think about is the appeal of the cover, am I right? The cover is usually the thing that catches your attention, so it needs to be good. Then the title. Then the name of the author, occasionally, depending on whether you have heard of them or not. But what never springs to mind, (for me at least), is the nationality of the author. I don’t think I have ever gone into a library or bookshop with the mentality of “ok, today I will get a book written by a non-English or American author”. Please let me know if it has happened to you, as this just might be something completely unique to me!
So let us begin to embark on my literary adventure:
After all this hoighty toighty talk of becoming more culturally aware and broaden my reading, what do I do? I go and bring in the New Year reading ‘Girl Online’ by fellow English blogger and (not fellow) vlogger and youtuber Zoella. In my defence, I received this for Christmas, so I had it on hand on my bedside table. I’m not going to do a full review on these books as that would take forever, but I have already done a semi-review on ‘Girl Online’, so you can go check it out here: https://madsem13.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/not-just-girly-things/ All in all this was actually a good heartfelt book, which I guess I could relate to a lot, especially as Penny is of a very similar age to me, and in parts in a very similar situation as well (I use the term very loosely here)!
Read when: you need a light-hearted read that will eventually make you pretty relieved, if not happy, but it also deals with some serious issues that are becoming very prominent in the youths, and everyone really, of today, like bullying, trolls, anxiety and panic attacks. Of course underneath all of this, a bit of a romance in New York City at Christmas time is always something you want to read. 🙂
Next was ‘Looking for Alaska’; yes I know I look like I’m going to be sticking to my resolution aren’t I? This was written by the famous John Green, who is American. Again, I have written a bit on this in another post, so go check that out first: https://madsem13.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/work-work-work/ I really enjoyed this book, up until the part of the book named ‘After’. After this, it was kind of depressing, although it definitely made you contemplate life a lot, but there are one or two classic bits, which, if anything, you should read just for the thrill of imagining this happening in your school or university!
Read when: you are not feeling vulnerable or emotionally unstable in any way, and are completely in the mood for a few rebellious teenagers’ high school lives, with a twist. Because that is essentially what the book is. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good book. Just emotionally challenging.
Finally I have begun to broaden my horizons, and next up I read ‘The House of the Mosque’, by Kader Abdolah, originally from Iran. This I picked up through a case of completely random selection; well, picking up one of the first books in alphabetical order in my school library. This is actually a really good way to find books that you would never normally go for, as it is based purely on where it is, and not who the author is or even what it looks like. Because if it was, I don’t think I would have picked this up, due to me not knowing anything about Iran and Iraq in the 50s and 60s. This book, while being very historical and I finished it having gathered a large knowledge on a completely new culture, also has a story, and is based around the people of the Mosque in Tehran. Again, this is another heart wrenching story, even more so as I knew it was holistically historically accurate. To make it even more intriguing, Abdolah used quite a lot of Arabic words, phrases and even whole passages from the Koran, as it was largely about the religious conflict between Iran and Iraq, and the overwhelming (for some) influence of the Americans backing the Shah. Overall, despite it being quite a hard novel to get into and took a few sittings, it was very interesting and thought-provoking, and has made me want to do some more research and read around the topic more.
Read when: you are feeling intellectually up for the challenge of learning about a completely different culture and religious views and morals, or if you are already interested in Islam and Middle Eastern history. I know I have never read anything like this, but if you have, let me know in the comments below!
So this takes me up to the end of January I think, (I know it’s very late), but this is only part 1 of this ongoing challenge that I have set for myself! I hope you have enjoyed reading the brief reviews of these fantastic books, and that I have hopefully inspired you to take part in a similar challenge! If you do decide to, please let me know or send me the link to your post and I will definitely check it out to see how successful you have been 🙂 Also, if anyone has any suggestions of any foreign authors who’s books are readily available that you think I might like, please comment below. I love hearing other people’s favourites, and I’m always open to trying something completely new!
Thanks for reading guys, and keep me updated if you decide to go on a literary challenge! Part 2 coming to a screen near you very soon… 😀