There are very few things I like about my commute into work – the cramped space, the stuffy air, the delays and the weird people who always, always choose to sit next to me – all add together to form what is not a particularly enjoyable time.
However, there is one thing that makes all that a little bit more bearable – a good book!
At the moment it seems as though all of my evenings and weekends are completely jam-packed – from the usual housework/cooking/gym, to seeing friends and family, I feel as though I rarely have an hour or two free to just sit and take in a good book. And so I absolutely cherish the fact that my daily commute gives me time to just sit and read to my heart’s content.
Since starting my new job in February, I have managed to read so many great books and so thought, as it is nearing holiday season (a time when we all scour the shops for great books to read on our travels, or whilst lying by the pool), I would share some of them with you:
Orange is the New Black, by Piper Kerman
Like many others, I started watching this US series on Netflix and was instantly hooked – it was like ‘Bad Girls’, but darker and more exciting! And so, when the series ended, and I saw the book on my Kindle app, I just had to download it.
The TV series is based on the book in as much as the back story of our heroine is the same – a middle class woman goes to prison for a crime she committed when she was young and naive. But, for those of you expecting the action and drama of the TV show, unfortunately, that is where the similarities end.
This is not to say that the book is not great. No, the book doesn’t have the OTT drama of the show, but if you’re after a genuine, honest, and inspiring account of life in a women’s prison in the US, then this is perfect.
One of the things I loved when reading this was how honest it is – Piper is in a constant battle between keeping true to her ‘old’ self, and changing in order to make friends and enjoy her time. She ends the story realising that, in fact, despite what she thought she wanted to do, prison has changed her and that it is now a part of who she is. You experience all of the emotions that Piper goes through during her time ‘inside’, and end up finishing the book equal parts in awe, and in shock.
It is a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended.
Divergent, by Veronica Roth
This is the first in a three-part series, and has, as you will probably know, been converted to the big screen. I hadn’t yet watched the film (in fact I still haven’t), but had heard rave reviews for both the film and books, so thought I would give the first book a go.
The story is in the same vein as ‘The Hunger Games’. Set in a futuristic time in which society has been separated into 5 ‘divisions’, and revolving around a female character who has to fight against all the odds in order to survive. Unlike ‘The Hunger Games’ (which I also loved), in ‘Divergent’, people in society are made to take a test in which they are told which division of the five they fit best into.
This first book is based around our character, Triss, who discovers during her test that she does not belong in any one, making her ‘divergent’ – something she is told to hide as being divergent is ‘very dangerous’. I don’t want to give too much away, but essentially, with this information in hand, we watch Triss as she attempts to conceal her ‘divergent’ characteristics throughout a variety of different situations.
There are moments when you flinch, ones when you laugh out loud, and incredibly sad moments too. Roth’s writing really makes you feel every emotion that Triss goes through, and you really end up rooting for her. The end of the book sets the tone for the next two – it is full of action and drama and leaves you literally itching to get the second and third books!
Perfect for: Action enthusiasts
Read it if you loved: The Hunger Games
In Three Words: Captivating, Dark, Exhilerating
Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
As you may have noticed, so far all of these books have been adapted to the screen (TV or film) – this seems to be a pattern for me. I have a habit for choosing books that have scripts based on them. This isn’t on purpose, but I don’t necessarily think this a bad thing – books are chosen to become screenplays for a reason, right?
I was given the book Water for Elephants before I watched it’s film-version – but have now watched the movie and actually loved both – Reese Witherspoon was perfect casting, and it was amazing seeing the scenes from the book come to life.
This story, for those of you who don’t know, is set in America, during the Great Depression. Our main character is a 93 year old man who is looking back at the years he spent working in a travelling circus. It is full of drama and excitement – from circus mishaps, romantic liaisons, and horrific murders – I found myself completely unable to put the book down at several moments and even made myself late for work by sitting at the train station to finish a chapter simply because I couldn’t not know what was going to happen!
The main theme in the story is love – our main character’s love for both his boss’s wife (naughty!), and for the animals he looks after. There are moments that are incredibly sweet, followed by moments that make you cry your eyes out. It is literally an emotional roller-coaster reading this book!
Could not recommend it more, just be careful where you read it – tears on the train is not a good look!
Perfect for: Romantics and animal-lovers
Read it if you loved: Big Fish
In Three Words: Glamorous, Gritty, Thrilling
I hope this gives you some inspiration when looking for your summer reading!
What books have you loved recently?