Top Ten Books To Read If You Like These Books, Too!

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish every week. This week, it’s top ten books if you like these (they said “popular” but I suck at reading mainstream books, so I’m going for kinda mainstream and hoping you’ve heard of them) books. Also, I haven’t done a list like this at all before, so this could be interesting and please don’t shout at me if you loved the original book but hated the further recommendations because then I’ll be said 😦 Anyway, on with the list!

If you liked Atonement by Ian McEwan (YA/NA/ historical fiction), you might like… 

  • The Lady in the Tower by Marie-Louise Jensen
  • The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

If you liked Toro! Toro! by Michael Morpurgo (children’s/historical fiction), you might like… 

  • The Amazing Mind of Alice Makin by Alan Shea
  • The Wreck of the Zanzibar by Michael Morpurgo (totally not cheating, and my favourite of his)
  • Raven Queen by Pauline Francis

If you liked The Naked Storyteller by Laura Michelle Thomas (adult), you might like… 

  • Once Upon a Christmas by Sarah Morgan

If you liked The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (historical fiction, YA), you might like… 

  • Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys
  • Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson
  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

I hoped you like my list! Let me know if you think I’d love any books you can recommend for me (as you can probably see by the genres above, these are what I love to read) and I’d like to think I introduced at least one reader of this to a new book! I personally enjoyed reading all of these, and one or two up above are some of my all-time favourite books. So be nice 😉

Top Ten Books For Readers Who Like Historical Fiction

So I was honestly going to do this on Tuesday, but I was babysitting and my laptop died and then I went out to see The Imitation Game last night (it’s great, watch it) so yeah now I’m finally getting around to it!

  1. The Lady in the Tower – Marie Louise Jensen. One of the first historical fiction books I ever read.
  2. Journey to the River Sea – Eva Ibbotson. In my top 5 all time favourite book list! Maia and Finn are just fantastic.
  3. The Wreck of the Zanzibar – Michael Morpurgo. One of my favourite Morpurgo books (see a trend here?) – it’s even signed! It’s told in a diary.
  4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Read for my book club, it’s an epistolary novel and details post-WWII London and Guernsey. Fantastic characters and great all round book.
  5. Raven Queen –  Pauline Francis. This one is about Lady Jane Grey, or, as you may know her, the Nine-Day Queen. Her tragic story is made even more so by a character called Ned. I bawled.
  6. True History of the Kelly Gang  – Peter Carey. Whilst my other English Lit and Lang friends may disagree, I think that True History is a great book. Told in the style of Ned Kelly (so, no punctuation really) from his Jerilderie Letter, Carey really brings Ned and his gang alive.
  7. The Book Thief  – Markus Zusak. One of the most famous WWII novels out there after the release of the film (and indeed before), The Book Thief will hopefully make you both smile and cry. Just enjoy it.
  8. Bracelet of Bones – Kevin Crossley-Holland. Whilst not my favourite book, definitely a good one for Norse history and myths.
  9. Atonement – Ian McEwan. Just read the review. That’s all I have to say. (Oh, and then, of course, read the book.)
  10. A Brighter Fear – Kerry Drewery. Only recent history (from 2003 to be exact), A Brighter Fear is still a testimony to the recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan. Definitely not made rosy. it’s an interesting and at times heartbreaking read.

I absolutely adore historical fiction, and so should you! Even contemporary novels, such as The Great Gatsby or Black Beauty are amazingly awesome and definitely worth a read.

Extra book: Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys. Read it. Cry. Talk to me. Cry again. 😀 

PS: all hyperlinks are to book reviews on my other blog 🙂

Top Ten Favourite Books From The Past 3 Years

I keep missing Tuesday, so I’m doing this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the lovely The Broke and the Bookish) on Wednesday. Yeah.

So this week is top ten favourite books from the past 3 years. Now, the question is: can I remember back to 3 years ago?! Gosh, I was in year 10. How crazy.

  1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. This was actually the most recent book I read, but I really really enjoyed it and would definitely read it again.
  2. Sisters Red. I’ve spoken about this book so many times. It’s fantastic.
  3. Between Shades of Grey. Such a heart wrenching book.
  4. The Book Thief. See above. Also, completely and utterly different to anything else I have ever read!
  5. Popular: Vintage Wisdom for the Modern Geek. I really need to re-read this, I think!
  6. Polly Wants to Be a Writer. This book changed my life.
  7. White Fang. I stole this from an English classroom at my old school and honestly forgot to give it back. Really great, though!
  8. Have a Little Faith. Hilarious, and especially helpful during exam time!
  9. Atonement. This book broke me.
  10. Looking for Alaska. Like so many others, this book also deserves a re-read.

So there you have it! I haven’t read as many books as I thought I had over the past three years, which is rather disappointing to be honest. Adding to the fact I only joined GoodReads in October 2013, well…

I’ll try and be on time next week!

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Atonement

Briony Tallis has committed a crime, a crime against an old friend and a best friend, a crime which she will spend the rest of her life trying to atone.

Robbie Turner has realised something, something that was turn his world upside down and possible end it in a day. Cecilia Tallis has realised the same thing, gains same punishment which she will have to live with; for as long as she shall live.

Three lives, interwoven, broken and reliant on each other, Atonement explores shame and forgiveness, love and war and the truth of self.

I have had Atonement on loan from the library for four months, since September, and have renewed it from that time. Oh, how I wish I had read it earlier.

This book is full of description, but not the boring type such as in The Winter Ghosts, but the type that makes you ravenous for more, your eyes eating the words and a lip being gnawed upon as you flick the page, unable to stop. It’s the type of description where you are watching the action, but, nevertheless, can feel the sting of the nettles or the humid air sweating your skin.

Let’s start with the characters, beginning with Briony Tallis, the one who causes the events to rickochet into the turmoil we are left with. I hated her, absolutely hated her. And yet, I saw myself in her; the writer who doesn’t believe she is any good, the migraine plagued mother (not any more, thank goodness. You go, Botox), the adored sibling(s). But that doesn’t mean I disliked her any less. She is silly, to say the least: thinks she knows exactly what she is doing, all because she read an adult word in an adult letter and the imagination spiraled out of control. I hated her for what she did and for what she didn’t do at the time. And, whilst some people might think she atoned for her actions, I don’t. I know exactly what it is like to do something unforgivable, and I know that some actions can’t be repented.

Robbie Turner was my sweet heart. I loved him to pieces, sobbed my heart out, not only in the book but in the film, and this may have fuelled my anger at Briony. Robbie’s crime was loving, that and that alone. He was catapulted into a world he should never have seen, and war clearly takes its toll on anyone, let alone a boy so young and lost.

Cecilia Tallis wasn’t completely to my liking, but didn’t completely turn me off. I preferred her in the book as opposed to the film, but her romance with Robbie was perfect: “Come back, Robbie. Come back to me.”

Other supporting characters gave me a mixture of love and hate, such as Mrs Tallis (in the beginning) opposed to Paul Marshall. However, what I have to say for McEwan is that all the characters were like living, breathing people, 3D lives and 3D personalities.

Onto the story, which was laughable in places and tearful in others. Atonement is told in three parts: part one has chapters and is told from the point of view of different characters, in events leading up to the crimes. Part two focusses on Robbie in France. And part three goes back to Briony, years later. There is also a kind of epilogue at the end (which, by the way, practically ripped my heart from my socket).

The story was heartbreaking but beautiful and I really, truly loved it. My only wish was that the ending had been different, and if you read it you will hopefully understand what I mean!

I would definitely recommend this book, and I would even go as a far as saying that Atonement is up in my list of top 5 favourite books this year, perhaps even ever. I definitely have to get my own copy, so I can note the pages I adore; and I will try my hardest to make sure that isn’t the entire book.


One of my favourite quotes from Atonement comes from Part Two, page 209 if you have the hardback pictured, in which Robbie recollects a letter from Cecilia. Here it is:

I’m honestly happy with my new life and my new friends. I feel I can breathe now. Most of all, I have you to live for. Realistically, there had to be a choice – you or them. How could it be both? I’ve never had a moment’s doubt. I love you. I believe in you completely. You are my dearest one, my reason for life. Cee.

And another, on page 213, reads:

You’re in my thoughts ever minute. I love you. I’ll wait for you. Come back. Cee.

Whilst these quotes make it seem to be a gushy romance, Atonement is actually be very dark in places, and there are parts which are not for the faint-hearted. Romance isn’t the start or the end of anything; other factors are always at play. And it’s these other factors that give the novel it’s life and ventilation.