I got a Kindle for Christmas and I have been unemployed since Christmas Eve,that has resulted in me reading a lot, perhaps too much. Writing this post I said to myself -‘get a life’, but I like the escape from life that books provide and I could sure do a lot worse than read too much. When I am employed I really miss being able to read all day, so I am taking advantage of the unemployment and reading while I can. Here is a run down of Januaries books, all which are available on Amazon.
1. Mya, Beyond Saddleworth by Jean Rafferty.
I was introduced to this book at Wigtown Book Festival when I went to hear the author Jean Rafferty discuss the controversial book. The book is fiction based on the conspiracy of Hindley being let out of Saddleworth with a new identity but what makes the book even more interesting is that Rafferty has been in correspondence with Brady. I am very interested in serial killers from a psychological point of view, so that news did not startle me as much as it will some people. You need to read this book with an open mind and without too much judgement, parts of the book are hard to read but the book brings new questions about Hindley and Brady to the forefront.
2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
A classic book, which I am sad took me so long to get round to reading. It would be a great book to study which I am sure anyone who has will agree with. I look forward to the film this summer. It is a good introduction to Fitzgerald’s writing style.
3. Peter Pan and Wendy by J.M Barrie.
I have loved the story of Peter Pan for many a year and never got round to reading the book, if you love the Disney film then definitely read the book. Psychologically you get to understand Peter a lot more.
4. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
I love mysteries and crime novels, and yet I had never read any Holmes which in itself is a crime really. I absolutely adored this book, so much so that I visited Baker Street on my recent visit to London. This is a great book to start on a Sherlock Holmes adventure and because it is made up of short stories it will suit those that are not heavy readers. I would happily go back and read this book again. My favourite short story is The Adventure of the Speckled Band.
5. A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle.
I didn’t enjoy this novel as much as The Adventure’s of… I found it a little hard to follow at times but it is still a decent book and my difficulty in following the story might have been because I read it on the train to London.
6. Public Enemies: Al Capone, John Dillinger, Bonnie & Clyde, and Baby Face Nelson by Charles Rivers Editors.
After watching Boardwalk Empire I was drawn to this book. When I was younger I read a book about Capone and I’ve been interested ever since. This gives a good overview of the prominent gangsters without droning on too much about uninteresting facts.
7. King Henry’s Wives – History in an Hour by Julie Wheeler.
I cannot wait to read more of the ‘History in an Hour’ series, I love history but there is nothing worse than a boring history book. Sometimes you just want to know the vital facts, these books provide this. I knew a little about Henry VIII’s Wives but if you were to ask me in a quiz I probably wouldn’t have known the answer. I now feel more knowledgeable on this topic, and in an hour – can’t complain.
8. Flappers and Philosophers by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
I actually preferred this series of short stories to The Great Gatsby, it gives more of an insight into Fitzgerald’s personality through the eight short stories. My favourite is Bernice Bobs Her Hair but the most memorable is The Offshore Pirate.
9. The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
This is the second Sherlock Holmes novel and as great as it is it is very complex, so I am shouting out to Wiki for some help: “The Sign of the Four has a complex plot involving service in East India Company, India, the Indian Rebellion of 1857, a stolentreasure, and a secret pact among four convicts (“the Four” of the title) and two corrupt prison guards. It presents the detective’s drug habit and humanizes him in a way that had not been done in A Study in Scarlet. It also introduces Doctor Watson‘s future wife, Mary Morstan“.
10. I Heart London by Lindsey Kelk.
When it comes to reading I like a good mix of books, and every so often I like a bit of good old girly fiction. Lindsey Kelk books are my girly fiction, I’ve read the others in this series too: I Heart Hollywood, I Heart LA, I Heart Paris, and I Heart Vegas. The stories follow Angela a ditzy journalist who fled the country after she found her fiancée cheating on her. As a journalism graduate it gives me some hope that even us flakes can be successful, even if we fall over a lot in the process.
11. The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde.
This is such an amazing short story where Wilde takes a whole new take on the traditional ghost story. It doesn’t take too long to read either, so even more reason to pick it up.
12. Shoot the Damn Dog by Sally Brampton.
Anyone who has suffered at the hands of depression or knows someone who is battling with it should read this book. Brampton’s account is realistic and portrays the ridiculousness thought patterns that come with depression and the inability to cope with them. I have read other memoirs of depression such as Prozac Nation and Girl Interrupted but the Britishness of Shoot the Damn Dog makes it easier to relate to. It cuts no corners in its approach and brings inspiration to a dark place.
13. The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson.
I went to hear Jon Ronson speak at Wigtown Book Festival and I have been wanting to read his books ever since, very interesting man. His work is a little like Louis Theroux’s but more down to earth. At Wigtown he said that he does not look down on his subjects but instead finds common ground with them so that they open up. I enjoy this style of journalism, as it does not bully the people at hand but shows all their interesting points in a way that does not mock them. The Psychopath Test follows Ronson’s investigation into what exactly constitutes being a psychopath, and is a must read for anyone with an interest in mental health.