The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom; A Review

The book begins on the day of Eddie’s death.
It’s a day much the same as any other in Eddie’s life, with the little routines and interactions he repeats day after day. The day however, is made unique by an unpredictable event, and a choice Eddie makes beginning him on his journey through heaven where he meets five people who his life has intersetected with in some way.
I picked this one from my TBR pile as I fancied a quick un-taxing read. Just below two hundred pages, it feels more like six short stories with the clearly separated parts (last day on earth, the first person…).

The fourth and fifth people he met were the ones that hit me hardest, and had me crying. Its reminiscent of The Green Mile, and how the story reflects on a moment of a man’s life, (though with less mice and magic).

It pulls at your heart strings, plays with your expectations and is a very satisfying read. Eddie’s story is simple, and relatable.
Its currently with my mum who spotted this on the side, and requested it immediately.
4/5
Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life.
His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart.
He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination. It’s a place where your life is explained to you by five people, some of whom you knew, others who may have been strangers…”
Similar books to try;

Veronika Decides to Die; Paulo Coelho

The Lovely Bones; Alice Sebold

A Man Called Ove; Fredrik Backman

I Broke My Book Buying Ban With These Four Books

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I have had the fullest, most lovely weekend which started off with a catch up over coffee, with Ellie, who I havent seen since this YSL event a year ago. After updating each other on the milestones which had passed and plans we had for the immediate future, it was time for a trawl through the Plymouth charity shops.

Few things make me happier, than browsing though the organised mis mash that is a charity shop.

Plymouth City Centre has around ten charity shops on one street, within a short walk from the Mall. Theres a nice mix of the curated YMCA, to the more random and it can be such a treasure trove. Mutley is also worth a browse, with a similar amount of charity shops which always seem to have a good clothing selection.

Obviously, the clothes in charity shops are a big pull, but everytime we realised we’d lost each other, Ellie was by the vinyls and I was trawling the book shelves.

The point of this post, is i broke the book buying ban I gave myself when i realised I had over a hundred books i hadn’t yet read, in my possesion… I bought four new books, all of which are; new to me, second hand, and cost a pound or less.

I Let You Go; Claire Mackintosh

I have read this alreay, I borrowed this off the lovely Alice, roughly eighteen months ago. The only drawback of borrowing a book (beyond the anxiety of damaging it in some way) is having to return it afterwards.

This book focuses on a hit and run accident, which kills a small child. its told from multiple perspectives and is an engaging and addictive crime story. Its told in part from a female protaganist, the police investigating the accident and another narrator.

If you would like a review on the book, Alice wrote one which intrigued me enough to read this in the first place here.

Elizabeth; J. Randy Tarborrelli

I know very little about Elizabeth Taylor. From popular culture, i know the film star married several times, had voilet eyes, and an incredible jewelery collection.

Generally speaking, i opt for fictional reads. I think this will be the first biography I will have read, and i’m excited to learn more about a woman who still faciniates a generation now.

The cracked spine on this book also tells me, that the previous owner really enjoyed it. Or thats what i’m telling myself.

A Man Called Ove; Fredrik Backman

I already own a copy of this book (initial thoughts here), but there is a thing about Hardbacks which makes me very happy.

I’m going to donate my paperback, and keep this in its place. It will be one I read whilst at home rather than carrying around, but its worth it for such a beautiful hardback.

The Girl Before; JP Delaney

This cover has popped up a few on my Instagram feed, and after Lucy Wood discussed the story in a book video, it made its way onto my wish list. I am in need of a crime novel to become obsessed with.

The book tracks the stories of two women; the current occupant, and the woman who lived in the house before her. Its been likened to both Gone Girl and The Girl On The Train, with a movie adaption scheduled.

This is the book I’m most excited to read, after I finish Doctor Sleep, The Dark Half and We Need To Talk About Kevin.

Emily

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A Peek at My To Be Read List

I have a pretty sizable To Be Read List that consists primarily of books I’ve picked up over the years, and put to the side for later. Some I have read a couple chapters of, others I have picked up on impulse. My colleague Dee will abandon me in charity shops on our lunch break because I get too distracted by the book shelves.

One thing I want to do this year, is to read fifty two of the books from the list below . Firstly; I could do with the space, secondly; I can’t in good conscience buy another book, when I have twenty half read books waiting to be finished or collecting dust.

  1. The One from the Other – Phillip Kerr
  2. Fallen – Lauren Kate
  3. The Outcast – Sadie Jones
  4. Us – David Nicholls
  5. A Beautiful Mind – Sylvia Nasar
  6. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  7. Rendezvous and other stories – Daphne Du Mauirier
  8. Castle Dor – Daphne Du Mauirier
  9. The Flight of the Falcon – Daphne Du Mauirier
  10. Frenchman’s Creek – Daphne Du Mauirier
  11. Jamaica Inn – Daphne Du Mauirier
  12. Julius – Daphne Du Mauirier
  13. I’ll Never Be Young Again – Daphne Du Mauirier
  14. The Parasites – Daphne Du Mauirier
  15. The Devil and Miss Prym – Paulo Cohelo
  16. Eleven Minutes – Paulo Cohelo
  17. The Pilgrimage – Paulo Cohelo
  18. The Valkaries – Paulo Cohelo
  19. The Alchemist – Paulo Cohelo
  20. The Dolls House – M J Arlidge
  21. The Memory Keepers Daughter – Kim Edwards
  22. The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes – Anna McPartlin
  23. One Plus One – Jo Jo Moyes
  24. The Ship of Brides – Jo Jo Moyes
  25. The Goldfinch – Donna Tarrt
  26. Mill on the Floss – George Eliot
  27. The Island – Victoria Hislop
  28. The Woman Who Stole My Life – Marian Keyes
  29. The Visible World – Mark Slouka
  30. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
  31. Yes Man – Danny Wallace
  32. All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
  33. #GirlBoss – Sophia Amoruso
  34. On the Road – Jack Kerouac
  35. Pursuit of Happiness – Douglas Kennedy
  36. How to Be a Woman – Caitlin Moran
  37. How to be a Girl – Caitlin Moran
  38. Not That Kind Of Girl – Lena Dunham
  39. Testament of Youth – Vera Brittain
  40. Second Chance – Jodie Picoult
  41. The Wives of Henry O – Johana Moran
  42. French Luietenants Woman – John Fowles
  43. Nanny Returns – Nicola Klaus & Emma McLaughlin
  44. Pay it Forwards – Catherine Ryan Hyde
  45. 127 Hours – Aron Ralston
  46. Revenge Wears Prada – Lauren Weisberger
  47. I Heart Paris – Lindsey Kelk
  48. When God Was A Rabbit – Sarah Winman
  49. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
  50. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson
  51. The Wizard of Oz – L Frank Baum
  52. Mrs Winter – Susan Black
  53. Paper Towns – John Green
  54. It – Alexa Chung
  55. Bridget Jones Baby – Helen Fielding
  56. The Muse – Jessie Burton
  57. Living Dolls – Natasha Walt
  58. Knife Edge – Mallori Balckman
  59. The book of Lost Things – John Connolly
  60. The Bridge of Spies – Giles Whittell
  61. Wolf of Wall Street – Jordan Belfort
  62. Wild – Cheryl Strayed
  63. We Need To Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
  64. The Pianist – Władysław Szpilman
  65. We Bought A Zoo – Benjamin Mee
  66. A Brothers Blood – Michael C. White
  67. Dark Half – Stephen King
  68. Rose Madder – Stephen King
  69. Desperation – Stephen King
  70. Revival – Stephen King
  71. Dream Catcher – Stephen King
  72. Insomnia – Stephen King
  73. The Stand- Stephen King
  74. Doctor Sleep – Stephen King
  75. Before I Go To Sleep – S J Watson
  76. The Boy In The Striped Pajamas – John Boyne
  77. The Girls – Lori Lousens
  78. Bill Bryson at Home – Bill Bryson
  79. Salmon Fishing in the Yeomen – Paul Torday
  80. Yes Please – Amy Poeler
  81. The Shadow Of The Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  82. Go Set A Watchman – Harper Lee
  83. The Marble Collector – Ceceila Ahern
  84. Book of Tomorrow – Ceceila Ahern
  85. Strong Woman – Karen Brady
  86. The Hobbit – J R R Tolkien
  87. Lord of The Ring; The Illustrated Edition – J R R Tolkien
  88. The Mystery of Mercy Close – Marian Keyes
  89. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
  90. The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown
  91. The Almost Moon – Alice Sebold
  92. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany
  93. The Dry – Jane Harper
  94. The Girlfriend – Michelle Frances
  95. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – John Le Carré
  96. The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch AlbomThe Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
  97. The Savage Altar – Asa Larsson
  98. Zodiac – Robert Graysmit h
  99. The Girl of Ink & Stars – Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  100. Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi
  101. Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism – Natasha Walter
  102. His Bloody Project – Graeme Macrae Burnet
  103. The Lie Tree – Frances Hardinge
  104. Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick
  105. My little book of Lykke – Meik Wiking
  106. My little book of Hygge – Meik Wiking
  107. If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  108. On Chesil Beach – Ian McEwan
  109. Enduring Love – Ian McEwan
  110. Ariel – Sylvia Plath
  111. The Shadows In The Street – Susan Hill
  112. Mrs De Winter – Susan Hill
  113. Heartless – Marissa Meyer

I would like to flag that this does not include my regular book collection, any Kindle books (read or unread) or the books i want to read one day.

Some of these books I have had for over a decade (I tried, and struggled to read A Clockwork Orange when I was 18. It’s partly in Russian… Lolita was returned to me after a break up)

So many I’ve picked up and put down again because it’s been slow, or other exciting books came around (The Stand, The Almost Moon, Go Set A Watchman)

I’ve impulse bought so many authors. Rebecca, is one of my all time favourite novels so when I spotted a collection of Daphne Du Mauirier’s stories I snapped them up. I will always pick up by Cecila Ahern, Jodie Picolt and Stephen King novels I haven’t read when I spot them in a charity shop. And at one point, I decided I needed to expand my reading and picked up a load of Paulo Cohelo novels.

I need to stop buying books…


Thank you Matt for taking another blog photo. I would also like to point out, the blurriness is my inability to stand still during a long exposure.

The last book I couldn’t put down…

I have at least two full posts dedicated to my love of Stephen King. One of the most interesting things about challenging myself to read the authors back catalogue is when I discover a book I felt ambivalent towards the first read, and now ADORE.

That was Pet Sematary for me ( and No,that isn’t a typo). The book follows the story of Louis and his family, when they move to a new town for his job. The main themes are heritage, secrets and grief. I read this novel in two parts whilst traveling to and from Birmingham, it’s a fairly quick read at 424 pages and a real page turner. As I reached the hundred or so pages I was internally screaming at LouisIt’s well written, constructed and fairly unpredictable. This is a sad story, but a good story.

The interesting this is I really disliked this book when I read it as a young teen, and I remember being so irritated by the film. Which I am now keeping everything crossed ends up on Netflix soon.

If you try this book let me know what you think, keep track of my reading challenge here.

– Emily

Reading Challenge: Stephen King Part Two


I am extending my Stephen King reading challenge. If you didn’t read my initial post, I set myself the challenge of reading twelve of the authors books in a year and I didn’t reach my target. I blame IT (1116 pages) and Needful Things (790 pages) which I read one after the other.

I am giving myself until the end of 2017 to complete this challenge, with the below books making it onto my shortlist:

7) Stephen King Goes To The Movies 12/04/17

8) Pet Sematary 24/04/17

9) On Writing

10) Full Dark, No Stars 29/04/16

11) Insomnia

12) The Stand

The Stand is a book I picked up around seven years ago and didn’t finish, the story is incredibly compelling and the only reason for the break is that I can never put my hands on it! I tried to read Pet Sematary as a young teen, but disengaged after Church’s death. I aim to read this from cover to cover this year. The other stand out book on this list for me is On Writing, I found this in a charity shop last year and am looking forward to sampling some of King’s Non-Fiction.

Let’s see how I get on this year! You can find me on Goodreads and I will update my progress there. Technically, I’m on my third King novel of the year already with Full Dark, No Stars.*


Excluded from the original list: Doctor Sleep, The Dark Half, Christine. Though knowing how The Dark Half fits into the Alan Pangborn story line that may find its way into the main list. I also reeeeeeally want to re-read Cujo.

– Emily

* I have read the first sixty pages of Full Dark, No Stars so far…

Some of My Favourite Reads.

Reading is an absolute pleasure that I never have enough time to do. When I was younger and had a seemingly un ending amount of free time, I loved nothing more than getting lost in a world of words. The feeling of belonging I always longed to find with my peers, I found between the pages of books that introduced me to worlds I would have never normally come into contact with. And as I took on university and went into the world of full time retail work whenever I was feeling lost I would find my solace in great books. Books have never let me down, books have never hurt me and books will always be there for me. As is said in one of my favourite plays and films The History Boys:

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something — a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things — which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.’

A good book can change your life. So here are some that have truly touched me in some way.

 

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1). To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee.

I first read this book when I was 14 years old. That first time I didn’t quite understand the magnitude of the court case storyline and found myself focusing on how much of myself I saw in Scout. I have since read and re-read it at least half a dozen times at differing times of my life and I’d like to think I now understand the varying nuances of this fantastic story, but still I can never read it without Scout’s character resonating with me. In Scout I found a like minded soul whose voice always feels like its echoing a version of myself that still lives in the child in me. From the themes of racial injustice to childhood innocence to gender roles and many more there is something in this epic piece of literature that will excite and inspire anyone. If you haven’t yet you must read this book, it will touch your heart in a way you can not even begin to imagine.

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2). Regeneration – Pat Barker.

This is one of the few books I have been required to study, that was not ruined by the analysis process. Set in Craiglockhart War Hospital in World War 1, it tells the story of soldiers with shell shock (what we would call post-traumatic stress disorder) and the radical therapeutic treatment they received. In it we hear stories of fictional characters such as Billy Prior and we also get fictionalised accounts of War Poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. The novel deals primarily with the idea of the effect that war has on the psychology of the soldiers, specifically the hugely damaging effects of the trench warfare of World War 1. Told with harrowing beauty this book really makes you think about what we have put our soldiers through.

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3). Wild: A Journey fro Lost to Found – Cheryl Strayed.

I powered through this book on a holiday in Ibiza. I opened it up and was riveted. Telling the story of a woman who drops her life to hike the Pacific Crest Trail and through the trial and tribulations finds her way back to herself. If you’ve ever felt like you’re floundering, or that you don’t know what you’re doing with your life or that you are just completely lost this book will undoubtedly kick start you on your way back to path. It did for me.

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4). Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer.

An expansion of an article about Christopher McCandless, the book tells the story of how this young man ended up dead in a bus on the Stampede Trail in Alaska.

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Chris McCandless’ life long quest for truth is documented alongside tales of other liked minded maverick truth seekers. It will make you reevaluate everything you believe and how you view society and the way it works. It will make you want to find your own truth.

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But listen to his lesson, no matter how disillusioned you feel with the world ‘happiness only real when shared.’

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SPECIAL MENTION: The Wild Truth – Carnie McCandless.

Written by Chris McCandless’ sister it informs Into The Wild as it fills in the gaps she asked Jon Krakauer to leave. It also details her own inspiring story of overcoming struggle with no one to help her but herself.

 

So, what books should I read next? I’d love to hear about the books that have touched you.

 

Thanks for reading. Speak soon – Sally 🙂

A Book Review: Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

I first discovered Rainbow Rowell around eighteen months ago. After reading a snappy review of Eleanor and Park in a magazine, the title jumped out at me when it was a kindle deal. I picked the novel up a couple months later when I needed a distraction, and quickly lost a lot of sleep to a story I couldn’t put down.m I have since read a fiar bit of Rowell’s back catalogue.

So in September when I suddenly found myself with a lot of time on my hands, my mum and I went on a trip around Truro charity shops (I love charity shopping), and I found Fangirl. For a pound.

The book focuses on Cath and her experiences when she first goes to university college with her twin sister. It touches on themes of first love, discovering yourself, familial relationships, friendships and most importantly and very importantly: fanfiction.

Cath(er) has a twin sister Wren, and university is the first time the two of them have existed as separate entities, a choice that was not Cath’s. The story is very much about Cath managing her anxiety, developing herself as a new writer whilst continuing her well established fan fiction, and standing up for what is important to her.

The characters are well rounded and believable, and very loveable. Reagan is a definite favorite. One thing I love about Rowell is when she writes less convetionaly beautiful characters, such as Reagan, rather than making her characteristically bubbly and happy she is herself. All imperfections accepted, confident in her own skin and a force to be reckoned with. If you enjoy Young Adult stories which have strong female leads, witty writing and a bit of love story its one to pick up.

A good book to pick up after this would be Carry On, the fan fiction that Cath writes throughout the novel is focused on the Carry On series a magical fantasy story which is more than inspired by Harry Potter

If you’ve yet to read Fangirl the wonderful Goodreads have a sample of the first thirty of so pages which you can find here.

In case you needed convincing that she was an absolute babe, Rainbow has a board on Pinterest entirely curated of Fangirl fan art. It is a thing of beauty, and was the perfect thing to help with the comedown after finishing such an awesome book.

– Emily

I will actually be dropping this off at my local charity shop soon, unless someone would like to take it off my hands?