Sunday, 14 June 2015

My Favourite Standalones


Today I want to share with you a few of my absolute favourite standalones. In my opinion, these are all worth a five-out-of-five-star rating. All the stars! All the joy! All the best!

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Wow, oh, wow. I recently read this and it is possibly my favourite book ever! The world inside the story was easy to picture; I felt like I was peering over the narrators' shoulders all the time. The story is told by three women that we learn have connected lives as the events unfold. The protagonist, Rachel, is the main narrator and she is 'The Girl on the Train'. Every morning and evening during the week she commutes to London and while doing so she always pays particular attention to a certain house she passes. 

Overall reading experience: I had a hard time putting this one down. 

The Drowning of Arthur Braxton by Caroline Smailes

I've actually done a review on this one which you can read at your leisure by clicking on any part of this sentence, go on, enjoy. Anyway, this is one of those books that I really cannot compare with another. It was fantastic! This is an urban fairytale about a teenage boy who hides in an Edwardian bath house where things aren't all as they seem. Again, this one has a few narrators, but each voice has a different style and sometimes even format. 

Overall reading experience: I could quite easily read this over and over again. 

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

The thing I love most about this is that you are told that the narrator's brother is dead as soon as he introduces him. But what you don't know is how his brother died. Nicely played, author, nicely played. It's written as if you are experiencing the main character's thought process. If he wants to think it, you read it. If he doesn't, you don't. The whole story feels very real rather than a work of fiction. 

Overall reading experience: I loved the characters and felt extremely involved with the story throughout. 

What's your favourite standalone?

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Becoming a Reading Activist

Hello everyone,

I want to talk about a scheme that's run across many of the public libraries in the UK. It's the Reading Agency's Summer Reading Challenge. You may have heard of it before. You may have even participated in it.

The challenge is aimed at 4-11 year olds and takes place over the summer holiday. The idea is that participating children read six books over the school holidays and get to play a bit of game alongside this! Did I mention that there are prizes involved, too? The theme for this year is Record Breakers, and you can find out more information here.

Now, it's likely that you're not between the ages mentioned above and cannot take part in the challenge. However, you do have the opportunity to volunteer as a reading activist who will help run the challenge. It is primarily aimed at 14-24 year olds to help build CVs but anyone who is above the age of the children participating can volunteer if they wish to. If this interests you, please check with your local library to see if they run the challenge and are in need of volunteers.

One of the great things about volunteering for this is that is works around you. You choose when you want to volunteer and for how many hours. You can decide each week when you want to do it, or you can decide to commit to a couple of hours on the same day each week. My point is, by volunteering to help out you won't lose out on doing anything else you want to do over the summer. Most of the libraries will reward you with a certificate if you do over ten hours, and if you're doing two hours every day you do it then you only need to volunteer for five days.