2015 Reading Update | 2

04 June 2015

To my surprise, one of the most popular requests on my 2015 Reader Survey was to write more book reviews. It was nice to see I'm not the only one who enjoys reading book reviews and adding them to my Amazon wish list! The way I usually pick a book to read is by blogger recommendations, and it looks like some of you are the same. A note about my reading style: I like to alternate between non-fiction and fiction. Having a masters degree in medieval history means I like to read a lot of non-fiction books. I know some books I read aren't everyone's cup of tea, so it won't hurt my feelings if you don't read every book review thoroughly!

History written by a comedian? Surely not. However, I picked up Medieval Lives with no prior knowledge of its author. I found this book to be entertaining, readable, and extremely well researched. I'm a firm believer in writing history for the public, not just for the academic community. When I learned of the background of the author I was impressed. Historian and co-director of Monty Python, Terry Jones knows how to weave history into an entertaining tale.

SUMMER CROSSING | Truman Capote 
I read Breakfast at Tiffany's a few months back and fell in love with Captoe's writing style. I was interested to read some lesser known works by him and picked Summer Crossing as a good starting point. Although his writing is unique and clear, I found it difficult to attach myself to the characters. I felt the plot moved either too slowly or too quickly at times, which can be expected with such a short book. I would only recommend this book if you are interested in postwar NYC attitudes and social classes.

Although many of my friends were required to read this book in high school growing up, my school did not assign The Cather and the Rye. I understand my schools reason for not assigning it, it's deep, raunchy, and pretty sad. However, I am glad I read it as an adult rather than a teenager. The themes in this book would have completely gone over my head at the age of fourteen. At 23, I found the book moving, disturbing, and beautifully written.

H IS FOR HAWK | Helen Macdonald
I've been waiting for this book to be released in the states for months now. A widely publicized and well reviewed book, I was interested to read the internal and external struggles Helen Macdonald faced in training a ghosthawk in the wake of her father's death. I know nothing about hawks or falconry or birds in general. However, Macdonald's ghosthawk taught her more than inner peace. Macdonald learned to be observant of nature and humanity, linking the two through England's fascinating history.

If there is one book you should read off this list it should be We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. I really can't give this novel much of a summary because it is difficult to describe this book without giving away the fascinating plot. However, the main theme throughout the book of bridging an experimental childhood to an extraordinarily ordinary adulthood is beautifully written. I could not put this book down.

THE WARS OF THE ROSES: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors | Dan Jones
I'm not going to lie y'all. This book took me four months to read. Not because it's a particularly hard read, but because it has SO much information it. The amount of facts got overwhelming and I found myself putting this book down for weeks on end. I enjoyed the read, although some of Jones' opinions on the individuals in the Wars of the Roses are not shared by myself. Jones presents a readable history of a very confusing time, which I fully support.

HOT BODY YEAR ROUND | Cassey Ho (aka Blogilates)
I have been doing Blogilates workouts on and off for about two years. I'm a big fan of Cassey's workouts purely because they make you WORK, even if it is just in your living room. I decided to buy her book to have more tangible workouts at my fingertips. I enjoyed reading a little more about the girl behind the blog, as well has her tips of living healthy.

LOVE TANYA | Tanya Burr
Another online personality, Tanya Burr is my go-to beauty guru when I am looking for product reviews or makeup tutorials. I preordered her book, Love Tanya, back in January. It didn't arrive until the end of April *side eye Amazon*. My excitement for the book had faded by the time it finally arrived and I have to say I was slightly disappointed in the content. I felt like the book was targeted at a much younger audience and all the beauty advice was pretty much common sense.

My first experience with Neil Gaiman was his well reviewed novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The book received outstanding reviews but I just didn't get it. I found it disappointing and unbelievable.  However, I decided to give him another chance and picked up Trigger Warning. This collection of short stories was very hit or miss with me. There were a handful of stories I found gripping and fascinating, but the majority of the book was met with disappointment. The only story that has really stuck with me, the only one I can recommend without hesitation, is The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains. There is no way to describe this particular story other than brilliant.

ANNE NEVILLE: Queen to Richard III | Michael Hicks
Anne Neville is one of the most fascinating characters in the Wars of the Roses. Her history, as most women of this era, is defined by the men she was associated with. Her father, the Kingmaker, was one of the most powerful men in England. Her first husband, Edward, was heir to the Lancastrian throne. And finally her second husband, Richard III, has become one of the most infamous names in all of history. Michael Hicks was presented with the task of trying to bring a woman, who has been virtually forgotten in history, to life. Although detailed, I found Hicks' opinions on the men in Anne's life to overshadow her own story.

If you missed my first 2015 reading update, you can check that out here, or if you are a member of Goodreads, add me here

A photo posted by S a r a D a v i s (@sararosedavis) on
Yes, I realize this picture is from last November. I've been too busy to take a picture for this post, don't judge me.

Happy Thursday!

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