Saturday, 7 February 2015

January Reads

I only read three books this month which I am really disappointing with because I normally read at least twice that amount. School has been so busy this month - I have so much work to do and I feel like the load is only going to increase which means less reading for me...don't know how I will be able to bear it.

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

This children's classic tells the story of a horse's own long and varied life, from a well-born colt in a pleasant meadow to an elegant carriage horse for a gentleman to a painfully overworked cab horse. Throughout, Sewell rails against animal maltreatment. Young readers will follow Black Beauty's fortunes, good and bad with gentle masters as well as cruel. 

For me this book had its highs and its lows. I thought that the premise of narrating from the point of view of the horse was a really nice touch and I really appreciate it as an easy and simple children's story because of the important themes about animals as well as the simple but deeper meaning and symbolism that was still there - something which I really liked. I also felt that the writing style was well-suited for a children's book and managed to capture the voice of Black Beauty and the feel of the story. However, reading it as a teenager/young adult (or whatever I am classed as at this age..who really knows) at times it felt quite slow and a little boring, making it hard to get through. I was either already in a reading slump going into this story, or this novel put me in on; its hard to tell but I suspect the second. While I really appreciated the premise of the story and what it is as a children's book and I am glad that I read it, I didn't enjoy reading it that much and wish I had read it either when I was younger or to a younger person.

Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

Set during the Second World War, Tom Oakley - an elderly and unsociable widower - finds himself with a young evacuee on his hands. Willie is a sickly, under-nourished and ill-treated London child, but he flourishes in Tom's care into healthy, happy and talented boy. He makes friends for the first time, and is surprised to find that he soon forgets to be homesick, as there  is always so much to do in the village. This story traces the beautiful and profound relationship that develops between Tom and Willie.

This was a favourite throughout my childhood that I read countless times so I thought that it was about time that I read it again and it was just as good as I remember it. Goodnight Mister Tom is both heart-breaking and warming and the writing is amazing - it is raw and honest, while capturing the story perfectly and making you really feel. For me, what always stand out the most in this story are the emotions and the characters, The realm of emotions that this book induces is epic and harsh and inspiring, it is truly a beautiful read. Not only this but the characters are spectacular - so real and flawed with fantastic character development. This book is a must-read.

The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A collection of 13 Sherlock Holmes stories, following the "death" of Sherlock Holmes and his return to London thereafter. 

Everyone knows what Sherlock Holmes is briefly about and I really advise reading the books if you like the BBC mini series(which if you don't know, is fantastic - Benedict Cumberbatch...need i say more). I am slowly making my way through the whole Sherlock Holmes Collection and only have two full stories and two collections of short stories to go, so I will be sad to finish them because I am really enjoying it so far. The stories are always so interesting and intriguing and I really enjoy reading about Sherlock's investigation methods and quirks as well as Watson's take on it. However, The Return of Sherlock Holmes was not my favourite - I found it less enthralling than the others but, regardless it was still pretty good.

I hope you enjoyed this post and are having a good day. What did you read in January?
Love,  Ellen xxx

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