5 reasons to read Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’

Hey lovelies! I’m back with another instalment of my ‘5 reasons to read’ series, this time with the seasonally appropriate Frankenstein! I have read this book multiple times; it is one of my favourite classics and its Gothic nature makes it a perfect Autumn read.

[If anyone is interested, the lovelyΒ Johann is actually hosting a Frankenstein readalong this month – maybe my 5 reasons can convince you to join in!]

 

It gave rise to science fiction as we know it

Many people argue that this is the first true science fiction novel. And I am more than happy for it to hold that title. Mary Shelley incorporated the real life development of electricity into her story and lent a factual edge to her nightmare concept. The idea of reanimating a corpse is terrifyingly plausible and makes Frankenstein truly haunting. And if you call yourself any kind of sci-fi fan, then this one is a must-read.

 

It has aged incredibly well

Mary Shelley was so ahead of her time and managed to write a compelling story that also commented on social changes that were occurring. Yet even though we have moved on a lot from those times, the themes Shelley presented still resonate today. The idea of ‘outsiders’, people who look different from ourselves or who cannot speak English, is unfortunately still an issue in many places in contemporary society, and, sadly, it is all too possible to see links between the monster’s experience and that of immigrants today.

 

It presents us with morally grey characters

Nobody in this book is purely good or evil. I love that. Victor Frankenstein, the supposedly good son and brother studying at a prestigious university makes some seriously questionable moral decisions. And the monster himself is the perfect vessel for exploring the nature/nurture debate. I, personally, believe he is not ‘born’ inherently evil; his actions result from the treatment he receives from others. Not that I am condoning his behaviour, obviously, but it makes me genuinely sad that he is treated so abhorrently based on his outward appearance. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that these complex characters are the type that I love reading about.

 

The writing is incredible

Many classics can feel very dry and difficult to get through but Frankenstein is not one of them, in my opinion. I love the flow of Mary Shelley’s writing and I have so many wonderful quotes flagged. And the fact that she wrote it when she was just a teenager fills me with awe.

 

It’s so much better than any of its movie adaptations

I am one of those bookworms who will almost never enjoy an adaptation as much as the book itself. It’s impossible to get all the detail of a book into a movie or even a tv series and, in this way, subtle nuances are lost. I believe the phrase “the book is better” can never be more applicable than it is here. There have been countless adaptations of Frankenstein and they always seem to be so dodgy and melodramatic, never capturing the intelligence or beauty of Shelley’s novel. Do yourself a favour and just read the book instead.

 

5 reasons to read mary shelleys frankenstein

I know Frankenstein is quite a divisive book so I want to chat with you about it! Do you love it or loathe it? Do you see the creature as inherently evil? Leave me a comment and let’s discuss! x

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5 reasons to read ‘The Color Purple’

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”

The Color Purple, Alice Walker

 

Hello everyone! I’m back with another instalment of my ‘5 reasons to read’ series. I recently reread The Color Purple by Alice Walker, which I first read a few years ago in sixth form. It was nice to go back and reread without over-analysing everything, and it made me realise just what an incredible book it actually is!

 

Explores LGBTQ+ themes without making a big song and dance about it

There was something so nice about reading a book that doesn’t shout “hey, look at me, I have LGBTQ+ themes!” Yes, I love that books are becoming far more diverse these days and that sexuality is a much less taboo subject. But sometimes it’s nice to be surprised. I had honestly forgotten that this book looks at the theme of homosexuality/bisexuality because it does so in such a gentle, quiet way. Celie talks about how she is not interested in men. The book features a f/f relationship but doesn’t make it into this huge thing. It was nice to read something that just felt real and honest.

 

Female empowerment/love of the female body

Further to the previous point, this book contains so much feminism but I feel like it’s never talked about in that respect?! Shug educates Celie on the joy of sex and teaches her not to be ashamed of her body, and I think that’s such an important topic that is not given enough attention. It also raises the issue of a woman’s body being a possession, and the right to say no. Girls everywhere should read this.

 

Cultural representation

Obviously, I can’t speak from experience but I feel like Alice Walker is accurate in her representation of African-Americans and native African people. It is nice to see a contrast between how black people live in the United States and how they live in the missionary colonies. There is a lot to consider, from religious beliefs to marriage to the practice of scarification.

 

Epistolary form

For those readers who like their books written as a series of letters, this one is perfect. Celie’s letters read like a diary and make you feel closer to her as a character and more invested in her story (especially considering how the novel opens). It also really helps to move the pace along, as most of the letters are fairly short.

 

Love and Family

None of the family units in The Color Purple are very conventional but that is what makes it so beautiful. These people band together through love, not obligation, and create their own group where everyone belongs and has a place. Celie appears to be the person to whom everyone is connected and it’s lovely to see.

 

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This is one of the books I’ve read this month for theΒ BookBum book club! The theme this month is ‘back to school’ and I’m hoping to read two books – one that I studied in school (this one) and one that is (or should be) required reading in schools that I haven’t read yet (The Handmaid’s Tale).

Have you read The Color Purple? Did you study it in school like me? What was your favourite required reading in school?

 

5 reasons to read ‘The Secret Life of Bees’

Hey guys! Today I’m continuing my ‘5 reasons to read’ series with one of my all-time favourite books, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd! I have read this book numerous times; my most recent reread was June this year and I knew I had to make a post for my ‘5 reasons’ series!

 

It’s full of symbolism

I actually read this book for the first time in school and I wrote a cracking essay on the author’s use of symbolism. I wish I could remember half of what I’d said now! The most obvious symbol is the bees themselves, and the parallels between hive life and the lives of the Boatwright sisters are abundant. The epigraphs at the start of each chapter impart fascinating bee-related knowledge while also foreshadowing the events that take place in each chapter.

 

The women are kick-ass

This book is bursting at the seams with strong females and I love every one of them. August is the epitome of a strong woman and is so full of amazing life advice (I suppose I have to credit the author for that but I feel like, if I was ever to find that bright pink house, August would be right there putting the world to rights). Rosaleen is another amazing woman with fire in her soul, who refuses to accept the discrimination she faces. And then there’s May. One of my favourite characters ever, May is just so pure and fills my whole heart with her innocence.

 

The scene setting is perfect

As far as I’m aware, Tiburon, South Carolina is a fictional place. But I so wish it was real! It sounds so lush and verdant; I would love to see the pink house and the fields of bee hives, and just bask in that gorgeous sunshine.

 

It’s full of wisdom

As I already mentioned, August is like the kind auntie that everybody wants. She becomes a kind of surrogate mother to the lost and vulnerable Lily, and helps her to navigate the challenges of growing up. I empathise strongly with Lily, having lost my own mum when I was very young, and a lot of the advice that August gives to her young charge really resonates with me.

 

It has a powerful message

Perhaps the most important reason I would urge you to read The Secret Life of Bees is its message. Sue Monk Kidd shines a light on racism and gender stereotyping, and urges readers not to stand for discrimination just because it might be seen as the norm. (While the book views this topic through a historical lens, it is a timeless message that remains relevant.) Some scenes make for uncomfortable reading but the overall effect is incredibly impactful.

 

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So those are my five reasons to read The Secret Life of Bees! This book is truly a forever favourite of mine and I will be recommending it to people for the rest of my life. Please, if you haven’t already, give it a read! And if you have read it, leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of it! x

5 reasons to read Neil Gaiman’s ‘Stardust’

I recently read Stardust for the second time and was reminded why it’s one of my favourite Neil Gaiman novels. I know many people say that the movie is better – and, while that may or may not be true, I believe the book is still worthy of a read. So I thought I’d put together a list of 5 reasons why I love this book and why you should give it a go if you haven’t already!

(This is also the book I picked for Zuky’s book club theme this month – a book made into a movie – but since it was a reread, I didn’t want to do another straight-up review.)

So here are 5 reasons to read Stardust!

 

It reads like a classic fairytale…

There’s no shortage of fairytale retellings out there these days. However, Gaiman manages to capture that fairytale feel we love but in a completely original story! It’s magical from start to finish but especially the larger portion of the tale which takes place in the realm of Faerie. You’ve got all the classic elements of a Grimm’s story – magical beings, spells and curses, royalty, romance and, of course, a quest.

 

…but with a modern twist

While the classic ingredients might be there, Gaiman’s tale also has a thoroughly modern feel to it. It takes the dark undertones from the likes of the Brothers Grimm but goes a step further with it. First-time readers may be surprised to find sex scenes and substantial gore within Stardust’s pages (which definitely keeps it from being another boring old fairytale!)

 

The characters are great

You’ve got the quintessential fairytale cast right here. Freaky old witches who need to steal hearts to regain their youth, royal lords who are so Slytherin it hurts, the classic naΓ―ve hero and diva love interest. There are many more I can’t even talk about because SPOILERS but they are all fantastic and you need to meet them. One character in particular is so salty and I loved it.

 

Gaiman keeps it real

How many fantasy books have you read where the protagonist goes on some crazy long quest and never once needs to eat? Other than the works of Tolkien, I can’t call to mind a single instance where a hero complains about being hungry or needs to stop for a snack break. So when Tristran does it, I was cheering so loudly for this tiny realistic detail. Thank you Mr Gaiman for your digestive realness.

 

It’s short and fast-paced

If you’re completely new to Gaiman, this is a perfect place to start because it’s not as intimidating as some of his larger works. If you’re behind on your Goodreads challenge, this will give you an easy boost. And who doesn’t love that sense of achievement when you get through a book quickly?!

 

neil gaiman stardust

 

So those are my 5 reasons to read Stardust! If you’ve read it, do you agree with my reasons? And if not, would this potentially persuade you to pick it up? πŸ˜‰

Please let me know if this is the kind of post you’d like to see more of – I’m thinking of turning it into a regular series!