I don’t know if anyone noticed but my blog completely shut down over the weekend. I’m not sure why this happened, I think it had something to do with GoDaddy changing my settings when I renewed my domain name but thanks to Phil at Pipdig (can’t recommend highly enough) we’re back up and running so panic over! Today I thought I’d share with you a couple of books I have read over the last few months, and a few that I am currently reading. First up, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.
To be honest, I only read this because of the hype surrounding the HBO TV series that I’ve still to watch. It aired back in April and boasts an impressive cast including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley. A lot of people on Twitter were incredibly impressed with it and every review I’ve quickly scanned through (as to not read any spoilers) have been incredibly positive. There are even rumours of a second season despite there being no current sequel. The TV series is so hyped that I was surprised that I found this book underwhelming. I wanted it to have more bite: more drama, more passion and more scandal… I just wanted more.
“…at the start of a new term, an incident involving the children of all three women occurs in the playground, causing a rift between them and other parents. Minor at first but escalating fast, until the whispers and rumours become vicious and spiteful, and the truths blur into lies.
It was always going to end in tears, but no one thought it would end in murder . . .”
Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads: Jane, Celeste and Madaline. All three are mothers involved in a tragic accident (possibly murder?) which is teased through snippets of police interviews. It takes place mostly in the playground and in their homes. Big Little Lies floats between genres. It’s not intriguing enough to be a thriller, it’s not clever enough to fit into the crime category and it’s not lighthearted enough to be a romance or frothy Summer read. It’s a book I’ll quickly forget. The trailer for the HBO series, however, looks like everything I wanted the book to be. Could this be a rare case of the television adaptation being better than the original material?
The second book I read (sort of) last month was Nocturnal Animals by Austin Wright, which was originally published at Tony and Susan. Nocturnal Animals is actually the title of the 2016 film adaptation starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams.
“Many years after their divorce, Susan Morrow receives a strange gift from her ex-husband. A manuscript that tells the story of a terrible crime: an ambush on the highway, a secluded cabin in the woods; a thrilling chiller of death and corruption. How could such a harrowing story be told by the man she once loved? And why, after so long, has he sent her such a disturbing and personal message…?”
The book flickers between Susan Morrow receiving and reading the manuscript and the story within the pages. A book within a book if you will, which I think is a great concept. The ‘terrible crime’ described in the script is incredibly violent and written in such a graphic way that I found it quite uncomfortable to read. It’s not gory, the crime itself actually goes unseen but the build up to the event is so realistic and harrowing that it put me on edge. I felt like I was there, that it was my family. The characters faces became that of my husband and an older version of my daughter Penny and because of that… I actually stopped reading this halfway through. Yep, I never finished it. Not because it is bad. Not in the slightest. Wright is so skilful that his words have the power to transport you there and make you emphasise so much with the characters that I found it borderline distressing to read. I think this is down to my anxiety, I’ll admit, I found this book triggering. I’ve never felt that way about a book before.
The final two books I read (and actually finished) were Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher and A Twisted Tale: As Old as Time by Liz Braswell. As Old as Time is part of a collection of ‘twisted’ adaptations of your favourite Disney stories. As you can read in the photo above, this version was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I also have Once Upon a Dream (“What if Sleeping Beauty never woke up?”) and A Whole New World (“What if Aladdin had never found the lamp?”) but have yet to start them. What I like about this book is that not only is darker than the original, it answers a lot of the questions never touched upon in the film, such as why the sorceress cursed the staff, i.e. Lumiere and Cosworth, and doom them to a lifetime without love because of the mistakes of a child. The book also explores the relationship between Beast and Belle further and gives it time to develop making it more believable and transforming the one-dimensional cartoon characters I have grown to love into real people.
Wishful Drinking gives a brief and concise look into the life of Carrie Fisher including her battle with addiction, a childhood with celebrity parents, her career and depression. I bought this shortly after her passing and finished it the following day. It confirmed what I already knew; that Carrie was a witty, intelligent women who really didn’t give a f*ck what anyone else thought about her. She is incredibly candid and blunt about her mental health which I wish more people were and manages to find humour in even the most tragic of circumstances. Wishful Drinking is very short therefore only gives you a glimpse into this incredible woman’s life and left me wanting more.
So what is next on my reading list? Currently, I have jumped on the Netflix bandwagon and I’m halfway through Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why. I also picked up The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll & The Secret History of Wonderland by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst. It promises to unravel the magic of Alice and delve into the history of love and loss, innocence and ambiguity which lead to the creation of Wonderland.
Have you read any of these books?
What are you currently reading & what’s on your Summer reading list?
Need more inspiration? Take a look at part one of this series here.