La Bête humaine (The Beast Within) – Zola

“As if one killed by calculation! A person kills only from an impulse that springs from his blood and sinews, from the vestiges of ancient struggles, from the need to live and the joy of being strong.” If you haven’t read any Zola, you must! His characters are always flawed, gritty and real, forcing their…

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Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

“It never occurred to me that our lives, until then so closely interwoven, could unravel and separate over a thing like that. But the fact was, I suppose, there were powerful tides tugging us apart by then, and it only needed something like that to finish the task. If we’d understood that back then-who knows?-maybe…

Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami

“We’re both looking at the same moon, in the same world. We’re connected to reality by the same line. All I have to do is quietly draw it towards me.” I had never heard of Murakami until my leaving party at my first ever proper job. I was moving away, and it was a sad…

30 Books To Read Before You’re 30 (part two)

This is part two of my list of 30 books to read before you’re 30 (the big day is coming around all too quickly for me…). If you haven’t read part one, you can find it here. So, without further delay, here are numbers 16 – 30: 16. The Old Man and The Sea –…

30 Books To Read Before You’re 30 (part one)

With my 30th birthday looming soon, I’ve compiled a list of the books I think are important to read before you’re 30. Some are on the list for the intellectual development they provide, some simply for the pure joy of their entertainment. In no particular order, here is part one…(part two here) 1. The Hitchhiker’s…

The Turn of the Screw and The Aspen Papers – Henry James

“Of course I was under the spell, and the wonderful part is that, even at the time, I perfectly knew I was. But I gave myself up to it; it was an antidote to any pain, and I had more pains than one.” Ok, this is technically two books but seeing as they are both…

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

“Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.” This book has been in the media a lot recently because of a new adaptation coming soon to television (or is it out already? I’m usually a few months behind when it comes to tv…). I read it recently and have struggled to…

Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) – Choderlos de Laclos

“How characteristic of your perverse heart that longs only for what happens to be out of reach.” Back when I was in college (far more years ago than I feel inclined to admit), I thought I was devastatingly cool. The reason for this was that I always carried around various battered, dog-eared copies of 18th…

American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis

This may be too well known a story to review properly, the film starring Christian Bale being so popular, but when I started this blog I promised myself I would review those stories I truly love, and this is one. If you are one of those people who prefers to just watch the film adaptation,…

Once – Morris Gleitzman

“Everyone deserves to have something good in their life. At least once.” Shockingly, I had not even heard of this book until recently. Teaching World War II to eight year olds, I was researching ‘quality texts’ to enrich their learning. I came across this book during my search and bought it, thinking – naively –…

Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami

“When it’s raining like this,” said Naoko, “it feels as if we’re the only ones in the world. I wish it would just keep raining so the three of us could stay together.” Murakami needs no introduction. If you have read none of his work yet, then change this right now. Order a copy of…

The World According To Garp – John Irving

“In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases.” When I began reading this book, I was confused. It featured in at least the top 20 of many lists of ‘100 books to read before you die’, and anyone who knows me knows I love to peruse these lists to ensure I’m reading/have…