Tuesday 19 July 2016

Mini-Reviews: Little Birds, A Study in Scarlet & Me Before You

Little Birds, Anais Nin
144|Penguin Modern Classics|1979

This collection of 13 of Anais Nin’s short stories were published several years after her death. These stories explore love, lust and women’s sexuality in 1940s Paris, Spain and New York City.

I'd been seeing this around on bookstagram a lot and I finally decided to give it a go. I’m so glad I did! Though the sexytimes are seriously blush-worthy, Nin’s writing is also genuinely beautiful. Her stories are set in the hazy summers of 1940s New York and Spain and Paris and I was completely suckered by the atmosphere. It’s a really gorgeous read. The only complaint I have is the sometimes outdated attitudes towards women and marriage, though Nin’s embracing and celebration of female sexuality has to be revelled in. I’ve already bought my next collection, Delta of Venus!

A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle
234|Penguin English Library|1887

When Dr John Watson takes a room at 221b Baker Street with amateur detective Sherlock Holmes, he has no idea about the world he’s entering. When they visit a crime scene to find a dead man with no visible wounds but a word written in blood on the wall, Watson is baffled, but Holmes soon uncovers the truth.

This was my first foray into Sherlock Holmes – I haven’t even seen Sherlock… But it was a lot of fun! Seeing Holmes and Watson meet for the first time was really funny, especially as Watson became completely baffled by the way Holmes’ brain works. I loved how punchy the mystery was and everything was a genuine surprise. And then part two started and I was confused. We jump to Mormons in Salt Lake City and although it eventually made sense and tied back into the original story, it was a bit disorientating and I definitely didn’t enjoy that as much as the first part of the novel.

Me Before You, Jojo Moyes

When Lou loses her job, she takes a six-month contract looking after Will Traynor, a paraplegic who was severely injured in a motorcycle accident. Everything in his life feels dull and joyless, but Lou is determined to change his mind. She just doesn’t expect to be changed forever, too…

The hype for Me Before You, and the nagging of one of my friends who wants me to see the movie with her, meant I finally had to read this. And I’m really glad I did. I hadn’t expected to become so involved so quickly! The characters in this book, particularly Lou and Will’s family, did err into stereotypical every now and then, but they were the perfect vehicle to tell the story and it didn’t bother me at all. The only thing that disappointed me about Me Before You is that I didn’t get nearly as emotional as I was expected – I was fully anticipating being destroyed by this novel but I only got a bit teary. Oh well. I’m looking forward to catching up with Lou in After You!


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