August Book Reviews

AAAAAAAAlrighty ladies and gentlemen, the time has come. I'm finally writing this even though I've been putting it off for ages because I know it's going to take so long to write beCAUSE I love books so gaddamn much and August was an excellent month re: books (not so much re: anything else in my life but that's for another day). If you follow me on Instagram you'll most likely have seen that I already have a Books highlight and post there all the books I'm currently reading, usually with a little note to say whether or not I liked them. Since doing that, I've gotten a couple of DMs asking for recommendations (which I loved by the way so please continue to ask away!!), and after doing a cheeky poll decided I'd do slightly longer reviews on my blog. So here we are! I think it's about time to get right down into it, but just a little disclaimer first I guess - I'm not going to give really indepth reviews because I don't know, if you know the whole story but a little condensed doesn't that ruin the excitement of reading the book a bit? So here's the deal - I'll do it this way for the first time, but let me know in the comments if you would rather longer, more thorough reviews.

The Illustrated Man: Let's start with The Illustrated Man as it's the first book I read in August. Now, to be honest when I picked this up I didn't realise it was short stories (you may also know that me and short stories usually don't get along all that well) so once I figured that out I wasn't expecting too much from it but HECK was I wrong. First things first, it is Sci-Fi which I'm also not usually ~that~ into, but it was honestly unbelievable, especially considering the fact that it was written in the 50's. Essentially, it's a look into the future, or at least the future that someone in the 50's thought up so lots of insane technical advancements, time travel, trips to the moon and Mars and what not. Aside from all this though it's the more psychological aspect that was so interesting - I don't want to go into it too much and ruin the stories for you but there is a lot of children v adults tension, but also there's a kind of warning about virtual relaity which, in the age of the Internet and all the actual technological advancements, is pretty compelling and a little scary. When I was reading it, it really reminded me of Black Mirror, if Black Mirror had been written in the past before it was mostly "PHONES! And then PHONES BUT MORE!" (no hate, I absolutely looooove Black Mirror) so if you are into that, then I would highly recommend The Illustrated Man! 

The Power: I was recommended this book by a friend (you know her already, Abaz to the rescue) but had also seen it on Chloe Plumstead's blog, so I knew it had to be good and OH MY GOD it was amazing. Yet another dystopian novel (you know I love that sh*t) but where in the Handmaids Tale or Only Ever Yours for example (both excellent, DO READ) it's a case of women as victims, this subverts the typical in a way, as now women have the power. (AND YET MEN STILL RUIN EVERYTHING). But first, women are amazing, and somehow girls aged 14 up start shooting jolts of electricity from their fingers - finally giving them a physical one up over men. This results in a heck of a lot of changes - single sex schools to keep boys safe, men afraid to walk alone at night, and ultimately a new religion. One of the smaller things I liked the most about the book is the exchange in the very beginning and ending of the book between the writer (Naomi Alderman) and the 'writer' of the actual story, a man. 

Blood Beneath The Skin: I'm a huge Alexander McQueen fan - if you asked me what/who sparked my interest in fashion it would be a tie between McQueen and Vivienne Westwood (ironic because they kinda hated each other but) so the only surprise in the choice of this book is why it took me so long to read it - I've read at least three other books about McQueen but usually they were mixed in with other designers of the time, so this is the first that was wholly dedicated to him, his rise to fame and his tumultuous life and relationships. It is excellently written and made me feel so ~inspired~ whenever I would read it, but that may be just because I'm so enamoured with McQueen as a designer but also as a person. I guess if you have no interest in fashion or McQueen then stay away BUT if you're like me then I would say 100% read - it will also introduce you to a lot of his contemporaries who you may want to find out more about, some of whom are still in fashion today.

The Book of Dust: NOW GUYS. THIS BOOK. Well when I saw it was coming out I was so heckin' excited because I lived for His Dark Materials back in secondary school, and this new book is a prequel to those. If you have read those, or even if you've seen the film version (The Golden Compass) you'll feel right at home in the world of The Book of Dust. Even if you haven't but fantasy is something you enjoy, then you will be able to get into this without having to know anything really about the original trilogy. It's yet again, amazingly well written, is set in Oxford and is almost the same as real life, but some things are a little different in this world which makes it quite easy to delve into but also distant enough that when you come across specters, fairies and daemons, it doesn't seem too out of place. It's an  easy read that manages to pull you right into Pullman's incredible imagination.

Frida Kahlo - I Paint My Reality: Not much to say on this book to be honest, it's a really short but well done and nicely condensed telling of the life of Frida Kahlo. I studied her and her work in college so to be fair I did know most of the information in the book, but the one of the best things is how it contains a lot of her own writing, from poems and notes to letters she wrote to her many beaus, from Diego Rivera to Trotsky. It'a a nice little read if you want to get to know a bit about Frida herself.

Red Clocks: Yet another slightly dystopian novel about the plight of women, this one is 100 times more realistic than The Power and thus 100 times scarier for it. Abortion is illegal (oh would ya look at that, something so radical it could be classed as dystopian, lol jk look at Ireland a few short months ago, Northern Ireland, Malta, Poland...) and the book follows four individuals trying to continue with normality after the 28th amendment comes into place, the Pink Wall goes up to stop women travelling to Canada for abortions, and people they know, friends, are sent to prison for attempting abortion. It struck a chord after what we have been through in Ireland, and to see how it could actually become 'normal' in this way is just crazy to me. Pretty similar in a way to When She Woke, another excellent novel about illegal abortions and all the human rights controversies that arise with it.

So that's it folks! Now, I'm no professional book reviewer (but if someone would pay me to read books all day I have to say I'm down for that, get in touch) so I hope you enjoy the way I've done this BUT if not do let me know - I'm doing these for you guys, so I want you to be able to enjoy them and get something from them. Otherwise what's the point amirite?!