Northanger Abbey – by Jane Austen

24 01 2020

Before this I’d read two of Austen’s books, but for a long time hadn’t read anymore. But it’s a new year, and I thought I’d give it a go again – picked a shortish one so it was more manageable, and it turned out it was way more readable than I remembered!

I’ve watched the ITV adaptation several times so I had a good idea of the plot, but didn’t remember it being funny! For example, from the very first page: “Her father was a clergyman, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard – and he had never been handsome.”

This is the story of Catherine Morland, who is taken by family friends to Bath and while there meets both the Tilneys and the Thorpes. The first half of the book focuses on the friendships with these, while the second half takes her to Northanger Abbey as a guest of the Tilneys. Catherine has read a lot of Gothic Horror novels and has something of an overactive imagination, which in that environment gets her in a bit of trouble!

I like how Austen on a few occasions in the book takes a breath and talks to the reader; at one point saying how she isn’t going to do something that most novel writers do, at another referring as to how few pages are left and so obviously we’re near the happy ending, and ending with a question for the reader of: “I leave it to be settled, by whomsoever it may concern, whether the tendency of this work be altogether to recommend parental tyranny, or reward filial disobedience.”

It’s an Austen novel, so you know there’s going to be class, romance, drama, and a happy ending, but it was a good read, I really enjoyed it – the idea of picking up another Austen is less scary now!





The Infographic Bible – by Karen Sawrey

14 01 2020

Who doesn’t love a good infographic? And a whole A4 hardback book of them – lovely! The book works its way through the Bible from beginning to end, but with interludes for some that cross the whole book.

The font is very small in some places, I had to decent lamp if I was reading it in the evenings, and sit by a window in daytime, but I guess it was that, remove some of the information or release an A3 book, so I think this was the best option! But definitely remember your glasses!

I read the book from cover to cover, but you could easily just pick it up and open a random page. Definitely was more interested in some than others, I found when some were really text heavy I’d just read headers and take the gist, but all of them were so brilliantly presented and easy to understand.

They’re good at quoting sources at the bottom of each page, and there are always keys to help you follow what’s being shown to you. Also, I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but when it went from Old Testament to New Testament, the pages went from matt to gloss!

If you’re into infographics and the Bible, there’s not much to dislike about this!





The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse – by Charlie Mackesy

27 12 2019

I started to see this book everywhere late autumn this year as I started my Christmas shopping, then the illustrations started popping up all over social media, and really enjoyed them! The author’s instagram account has loads of pictures from the book and more, and I’ve put a couple of examples below.

I put it on my Christmas list, and my brother and his girlfriend got me a copy! I read it in one sitting on Christmas day, in maybe only 20min! It’s very illustration heavy, at most a sentence or two on each page, and the paper is quite thick, so it’s much shorter than it looks.

There is a very loose story going through it, but pretty much each page stands alone as it’s own thought, or even piece of art!

I really loved this, would recommend it! It’s the sort of thing you can probably read several times and get something different out of it each time.

View this post on Instagram

This is going in the book.

A post shared by Charlie Mackesy (@charliemackesy) on





The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-Old Man – by Jonas Jonasson

23 12 2019

This is the sequel to The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared – he certainly enjoys a long title!

Jonas Jonasson actually never intended to write this book – here’s an excerpt from the forward:


“I’d already said everything I wanted to say about what was perhaps the most miserable century ever. The idea had been that if we reminded one another of all the shortcomings of the twentieth century, maybe it would make us better at remembering and less inclined to make at least
those mistakes again. I packaged this message of mine with warmth and humour. Soon the book spread all over the world.

It sure as hell didn’t make the world a better place.”

We start where the last book left off, on an island in Indonesia with Allan and Jules and a fair amount of cash! However around Allan’s 101st birthday things start to get complicated again and before you know it, we’re off on a North Korean ship with a load of uranium…

Where the first book ran two timelines, this just follows from this point onwards, yet we bump into several world leaders and all sorts of trouble. Allan has found himself “a black tablet” which he fast becomes obsessed with, and infuriating for the others he’s with. He’s a brilliant character, ridiculously laid back in even the most stressful situations.

The whole book is just silly funny, even though it sounds so political, it’s all just a bit ridiculous – in a really warm way.





Postscript – by Cecelia Ahern

4 11 2019

When I was at uni I read P.S. I Love You, to which this is the sequel. I’ve never really got emotional at books but one day as I sat reading the book on the bus back from campus, I ended up in tears! The film was never as good, they changed way too much. But when I heard Cecelia Ahern had written a sequel, I was very excited to read it (and I read everything she writes anyway!). I was going to behave and wait for paperback, but then my friend very kindly lent me her copy!

P.S. I Love You was about Holly in her grief following the premature death of her husband, Gerry, from a brain tumour, and the monthly letters he left her. In this book we’re seven years on, she’s coping much better, she’s met someone and been with him for two years, things are going well. She ends up on a podcast to tell her story, and a group of people get in touch with her, each of whom is suffering from a terminal illness and wants her help to do something similar to that which Gerry did for her. The book follows her journeys with these people while she also tries to work out if it’s making things worse for her, if it’s affecting her relationship.

By the nature of the plot it’s a sad book, getting to know people and then losing them, but it really was still a warm and comforting read with a lot of hope.

Given that it was probably about 11 years or so since I last read it, it took me a while to remember where things had been left, but you don’t need to have read the first to read the second, it works on it’s own if you want it to.





Looking For Alaska – by John Green

21 10 2019

I read a load of John Green when The Fault In Our Stars was a big thing, and at the time bought several of his books, this one has sat there a while, but at only 260 pages it seemed a good one for my Dark Materials break!

It’s a John Green book, so of course it’s got teenagers and drama. Miles hasn’t got many friends at school in Florida, so at 16 goes off to boarding school in Alabama. He has a thing about famous peoples last words, and reads a lot of biographies to collect them. He quickly makes friends with people very different to his previous life (think stereotypical smoking and drinking), one of whom is a girl called Alaska, who is a bit unpredictable. I won’t go any further because of spoilers, but I read this in 3 or 4 days – crazy fast!

A couple of days ago I saw an advert on TV for a series they’ve made of the book which literally went live on Friday and is available on iPlayer, so that’s something else to fit in!

He writes books that are so easy to read and just enjoy. I have one more of his books on my shelf, so I think I’ll be picking that up again in the not too distant future.





The Subtle Knife – by Philip Pullman

14 10 2019

Having read Northern Lights a few months ago, I thought it was best to pick up the sequel before I forgot too much about it! I’m also unsure if the new TV series covers just the first book or the full trilogy!

The first book was set in one universe, this one moves into 3, and what I found really helpful, was that in the margin of each page was a little icon that related to the universe you were currently in, so if you picked up the book you could remember where you were – or sometimes even mid-reading!

There was one point around a third to halfway through where I very nearly gave up – I’d read the same page so many times over several days and just couldn’t get into it to get past it, but I’m glad I carried on. That bit was in what felt like a bit of a side plot that at that point I just didn’t care about yet, but it was needed for later on.

This book left off on what felt like an even bigger cliffhanger than the first one, and I’ve had a lot of people advise me when I was struggling to carry on with this book, that this is one you just had to get through to get to the third which sounds like it might be deemed the best of the three, so I’m looking forward to picking up the next one! Might just find something else to read first to help divide the books in my head so they don’t all merge into one 🙂