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Bookshelf no.1...

Hey everyone how has your week been so far? Mine has been ok. In all honesty I haven't had the motivated jump out of bed every morning week I was hoping for after my post on Monday, but sometimes life, and your body get in the way of that and just demand one more hour of sleep. And my sleeping pattern is generally a lot better than it was at the beginning of the year, thanks in no small part to a spate of really good books. So today I thought I'd share with you some of the tales I've been reading lately.

I've been saying FOREVER that I wanted books to feature a bit more on this old blog of mine, but writing full reviews just doesn't come naturally to me, and over the past couple of years reading hasn't been a daily habit. I was always a book worm as a child, and if I pick up a good book, that's it you've lost me for the next day or two. Getting into a book isn't generally a problem for me, it's more having the intention to put the time aside to read. I get distracted by blogging, or netflixing or pinteresting. And while all these things have their own merit, nothing makes me switch off like an hour or two of reading.

So lately I've made a conscious decision to make reading something offline a daily habit (thanks habit tracker) and I've built it into my night time routine. While only putting one hour aside on an evening , means I don't devour books at the speed of yesteryear (providing I stick to a strict lights out time!) it does mean they are a more regular feature in my life, and hopefully this blog too. So here is what I've been reading lately!

A Year of Marvelous Ways by Sarah Winman 4/5
Sarah Winman is the author of one of my favourite books 'The Year God Was a Rabbit' so when this popped up on my recommended list on my tablet, I purchased straight away. 'A Year of Marvelous Ways' is the story of three lost souls who fit and heal together perfectly. It took me a lot longer to get into this book than it did wih 'When God Was a Rabbit' and it didn't quite live up to my hopes, but it is still a beautiful read. Winmans writing is transportive and while the book covers an awful lot, of sad and horrifying things, like with 'When God Was A Rabbit' it doesn't smack you in the face. It's more a gentle reminder that the facts of life aren't always pleasant, but miraculously people manage to carry on. I'd definitely recommend this, even if I probably won't read it every year like I do with her previous title.
The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak 3.5/5
First thing you need to know about this book is that it isn't the Mills and Boon affair you would expect from the title. Sorry folks. Ella Woodward is a forty something wife and mother living in the American suburbs, a woman whose life should be content but isn't. She has long given up on love until she reads a manuscript from a mysterious author about the thirteenth-century Sufi poet Rumi and Shams of Tabriz. A tale that teaches her love can be an all powerful life force and reawakens her own spirit and power. The best part of this book is that we get to read the manuscript along side Ella. You get so caught up in the lives of Rumi and Shams you almost forget about Ella until her chapters snap you out of the manuscript much like when some one interrupts you reading and you're forced to face your own life. I really enjoyed this book, even if I felt the manuscript maybe encroahed a little too much on Ellas character development. I'd definitely recommend picking this up, just for the tale of Sham and Rumi though, which is a book I'd probably have bought had it been published alone.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein 5/5
For some of you all you need to know about this book is that it is written from the view point of a dog. Others may take a little more convincing, but this honestly one of the most beautifully written, human stories I have read in a long long time. Our narrator being a dog lends an innocent niavety to the book, while at the same part stripping back all the confusion that can come from being a human in a horrible situation, and in some ways this makes him so much wiser that his two legged counterparts. Its a book about family, and love and loyalty, and not giving up on what or you believe in. If you're a dog lover buy this book. If you're a book lover, buy this book.
One Night, Markovitch by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen 4.5/5
I picked this book up in a second hand store in Clitheroe, mainly because the cover jumped out at me. I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but I really like books that have are set in the middle east or have an element of that to them because they are quite often written with a sense of mystic and deep history that makes the tales some how richer. Anyway, I really enjoyed this book, the characters in it were more often than not there own worst enemies, especially when it comes to love, and especially the protagonist Markovitch. The tale is set during and jafter the second world war, and the lives of those we follow are as complicated as the world they find themselves in. There is an underlying sense of confusion about where they stand, not just personally but in the wider world too. I also really appreciated that the author wasn't too afraid to admit that her characters had gone too far with their own decisions to get a perfectly tied up happy ending. Because the book follows our main characters from their youth to their old age it is pretty long but I would still reccomend sticking with it.
The Palace of Curiosities by Rosie Garland 4/5
If you like Angela Carter then you will probably really like this book, although it is a lot less gory and its romance and characters do make it a lot easier a read. But at the heart of it, we still have unusual fairy tale like charcaters caught up in their own grimm situations. At first I found the writing style pretty difficult to get on bored with, and I wouldn't recommend first picking up the book when you're sleepy, because you have to pay attention of who is who, but after the first couple of chapeters, the writing and the protagonists begin to settle into themselves and I quite quickly got swept up in solving their mysteries and curiosities. And despite Angela Carter feel to it, unlike One Night Markovitch, I thought it was brave to give this book a happy ending, when it could so easily have ended in tragedy.

I'm challenging mself to make this a monthly post, which means I HAVE to keep up my good reading habits, next on my reading list is 'My Grandma Sends her Regards and Apologies. Let me know if you've read any of these before or if any of them take your fancy and I'm always looking for new recomendations so if you've recently reviewed a book you loved leave a link in the comments below x

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