Books I’m planning to read before school starts | Jan 2019

I don’t know how your school works, but in mine, the library lets you take out an unlimited number of books, both fiction and non-fiction, to take out over each holiday. Since school begins next week, sad I know, I thought I’d give you the run down over which books I want to read before term begins again and which books I did take out.

So, here are the books I took out for Christmas:

The Great Gatsby, F.Scott Fitzgerald

THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story is of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his new love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

The Great Gatsby is a classic that I know many people have heard of before, readers and non-readers alike, with the latter potentially recognising it more due to the film with Leonardo DiCaprio. I’m also slightly guilty on that front, as whilst I had most certainly known about the book before the film, one of my main motivations to read it is how good the film trailer looks and that I really want to watch it, as well as it having a good soundtrack and reputation as a good novel overall.

The Luxe, Anna Godbersen

Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn. Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions. White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups. This is Manhattan, 1899. Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan’s social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City’s elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone–from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud–threatens Elizabeth’s and Diana’s golden future. With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love. But when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city’s gossip pages is swallowed by the rough current. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan’s most celebrated daughter disappear… In a world of luxury and deception, where appearance matters above everything and breaking the social code means running the risk of being ostracised forever, five teenagers lead dangerously scandalous lives. This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent.

Just by looking at the front cover of The Luxe I know that it’s probably going to be a fairly trashy novel, however I do think that we all need trashy chick lit every now and again (or is it just me). It’s also a piece of historical romance, which is a genre I used to thoroughly enjoy but I haven’t picked up recently so I’m excited to read this novel, regardless of the literary talent attached to it.

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, Maggie O’Farrell

Edinburgh in the 1930s. The Lennox family is having trouble with its youngest daughter. Esme is outspoken, unconventional and repeatedly embarrasses them in polite society. Even Kitty, Esme’s beloved sister, is beginning to lose patience. Something will have to be done.

Years later, in the same city, a young woman named Iris Lockhart receives a letter informing her that she has a great-aunt in a psychiatric unit who is about to be released.

Iris has never heard of Esme Lennox and the one person who should know, her grandmother Kitty, is to adrift to answer Iris’s questions. What could Esme have done to warrant a lifetime in institution? And how is it possible for someone to be so completely erased from a family history?

Another genre that I don’t tend to read is mystery, which what this  book seems to fall into, as well as historical. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox is a novel focused around family which is something I normally avoid due to disinterest but the blurb of this one was just enough to entice me to take it home and give it a chance.

In the Name of the Family, Sarah Dunnant

It is 1502 and Rodrigo Borgia, a self-confessed womaniser and master of political corruption is now on the Papal throne as Alexander VI. His daughter Lucrezia, aged twenty-two, already thrice married and a pawn in her father’s plans, is discovering her own power. And then there is Cesare Borgia: brilliant, ruthless and increasingly unstable; it is his relationship with the diplomat Machiavelli which offers a master class on the dark arts of power and politics. What Machiavelli learns will go on to inform his great work of modern politics, The Prince.

But while the pope rails against old age and his son’s increasing maverick behavior it is Lucrezia who will become the Borgia survivor: taking on her enemies and creating her own place in history.

When I picked up this book in the library it turned out to be one of those annoying copies which for whatever reason lacked a blurb, so I took it out of curiosity to see how it would fair. Now, looking at Goodreads it’s seemed to garner mainly 2 or 3 star reviews so I’m not sure if I’ll actually end up reading it, but I guess we’ll see.

Release, Patrick Ness

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.

I’m a big fan of Patrick Ness but I haven’t picked one of his books up since The Rest of Us Just Live Here, which was a while ago now so I think it’d be nice to recall him and his writing style, which I remember to be quite individual and generally a breath of something different. I also like how some of his novels feel ambiguous at time, More Than This, comes to mind as a good example, and he also tends to bring sexuality into his novels since he’s gay himself, which simply adds a small touch of diversity into things.

Becoming, Michelle Obama

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. 

Michelle Obama, I don’t know where to start, she’s such an iconic woman who I personally feel really inspiring from an academic point of view, as well as because of everything she’s done and how she’s managed to stay as such an impressive figurehead in an age where another person’s flaws seem to be exposed every minute. As I live in the UK I’m not entirely clued up on America and all it’s politics so I hope to learn something more about it from her memoir as well as all of her personal experiences and her own story. I’ve heard many great things about this memoir and I’m sure it won’t fail my expectations either.


That concludes all the books I’ve got on my list to read before school starts and whilst I highly doubt I’ll be able to get through all of them, I certainly hope I can make a dent in this list so I can once again add to my TBR list in the new year.

I also wish you all the happiest of new years and hope 2019 is your best year yet!!



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