Book Review – All The Light We Cannot See; Anthony Doerr

“Radio: it ties a million ears to a single mouth.”
“Her fingers walk the tightrope of sentences…”

All The Light We Cannot See was this month’s book club choice, and as this has been on my TBR pile for a while it makes this read feel like a double accomplishment.
First off, the writing in this book is beautiful. As beautiful as the cover imaging.
The story is set primarily between France and Germany, with the lion share of the story unfolding between 1934 and 1944. The narrative tracks primarily Werner and Marie-Laure; Werner is a very gifted orphan whos father passed away in a mining accident who finds a way to escape working in the mines himself, Marie-Laure is a gifted, charming blind girl who’s life changes completely when her and her father have to escape occupied Paris for Saint-Malo.
I finished this book in about six days, a combination of how addictive this book is and the fact I had a couple days off spent primarily at Whitsand Bay. Anthony Doerr created a world I wanted to dive into at every spare moment, I was desperate to find how Werner and Marie-Laure’s stories would entwine.
I found the first two thirds of the novel more enjoyable than the final third. As much as I enjoyed this novel, I will be donating it to charity. I’m glad this came into my life, but I will not be recommending it at the same level of overexcitement which I did Pet Sematary of The Five People You Meet in Heaven.

That said, as much as I don’t expect to re-read this book, I can appreciate how beautiful it is. Part of me wants to pass this onto my dad, who though he isn’t a big reader loves radio.

There is a short video on YouTube from the author explaining how the story composed itself.

3/5

For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic layers within the invaluable diamond that her father guards in the Museum of Natural History. The walled city by the sea, where father and daughter take refuge when the Nazis invade Paris. And a future which draws her ever closer to Werner, a German orphan, destined to labour in the mines until a broken radio fills his life with possibility and brings him to the notice of the Hitler Youth.

In this magnificent, deeply moving novel, the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner illuminate the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

Similar books to try;
The Book Thief; Markus Zusak

Little collective book review: A Man Called Ove, Me Before You, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime 

​I’ve always been an avid reader, and part of my intentions with this blog was to review a my latest reads as I discovered them. Currently i am reading a lot, I have a new extra long commute each day and I easily spend ten hours a week reading just in trains. This post is a mini review of sorts, either these books arnt obsessions or I’ve found it difficult to clearly articulate why I loved them.im finishing them with a simple keep or donate, i pick up a lot of books from charity shops and like recycling them in this way. If you wanted to see a few of the previous books I’ve shared on here this is a good place to find them.

A Man Called Ove:

This was my last book club read, my new job makes it awkward to get to book club in time. I’m hoping, against hope, that next meeting (August 4th) will be one I can make! Anyway, I didn’t know what to expect with this book, I recognised the cover from a recent Waterstones display and had been mildly intrigued by the novel.

It took around four chapters to move from apathy for Ove to actual tears. This was  an addictive page turner of a book. I’m about to lend it to my boyfriend’s mum, but when I get it back I have a feeling I will be re-reading it.

Keep

Me Before You: JoJo Moyes 

Sam Clafin and Emila Clarke are two actors I have a soft spot for and the trailer for the upcoming film sold me on this story.

It’s a very simple love story with truly human characters. The story tragic yet bittersweet and very well written. You can truly appreciate the perspective of each charwxt, and the sheer length of the book (512 pages) means you have a good amount of time to make this story a part of your life. One parr of the story which has stayed with me even now, is Louisa’s experience with the maze.

Even with all this, I won’t be holding onto this book. As true as Louisa and Williams’ feelings are for each other, the story left a bad taste in my mouth because of how much William relies on Louisa for part of his care, that payment takes this from being a sweet uncomplicated relationship that would see Louisa in real hot water if she was a professional carer. That said I will be seeing the film, and I will be crying. Lots.

Also, now I’ve reflected on the story I might need to re read it to give it a chance…

Donate (eventually) 



The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Nighttime

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There’s not much for me to say about this one, aside from the fact I really liked the idea and uniqueness of this. I found this a very hard read I had to force myself though, I didn’t enjoy it (as much as I wanted to!) and it is in a pile for the charity shop, where it can hopefully find a new home.
Donate 

If you’re reading this and thinking I would love to read that… Im happy to lend out a out book, just promise you’ll return it! Drop me a message on Twitter if you want to chat books @Maytooctober_ 

And if you’re looking for a new blogger who also talks books check out Alice and Becca.

– Emily 

This is the year I read Jane Eyre

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This is a cheat, this is Secrets of the Tides as I cant find my physical copy of Jane Eyre!

I’m a big reader, and I always have been. My earliest memory is walking around a book fair at my first school with my mum. Traditionally if I don’t finish what I’m I’m reading I give up because I can’t get into a book. Jane Eyre is a different sort of beast all together. I’ve read this story four or five times and never managed to get past a certain part. Its not that I cant get into it, It would be on my favourites list, if I could only finish the thing!

The strangest thing about all of this, is that the first couple sections when Jane is living with her cousins, and her childhood at the school are amazing. Also when she starts as a governess and when she meets Adele are also parts I really enjoy. But something always seems to get in the way, and I get distracted, and I never know the fate of Jane and Mr Rochester.

I refuse to let myself watch any of the films until I’ve finished the book, as I want to experience the truest version of the story before I experience someone’s retelling. Which as a huge Mia Wasikowska is a very difficult temptation to resist.

This month I’m reading A Man Called Ove because of book club, and then there’s the Stephen King reading challenge I’ve set myself. But I will finish Jane Eyre

I have downloaded it on Kindle, and will read it in my downtime. Conveniently, now my commute time is increasing I will have much more time to read.

On A side note, I’m on Good reads, do you have a profile? and do you have a book like this that you’ve never been able to finish as much as you have wanted to?

– Emily

Reading Challenge: Stephen King

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Stephen King novels are what made me fall in love with reading as an adult. I’ve always been a fan of the horror and macabre, I can distinctly remember an early nightmare involving my ballet class and Dracula when I must have been seven. My dad is also a fan of horror, and never had the strongest respect for age ratings. If he’d watched something and deemed it appropriate, we were then permitted to watch it. Species and Poltergeist were in no way appropriate at the time for my ten year old sister or eight year old brother, but they weren’t permanently scarred.

The first Stephen King book I can remember getting my hands on was Carrie, and I scoured charity shops for that thing for months. Sadly it went over my head, at twelve the change of media in the narrative ruined the progression of the story, which is funny as I now have a new respect and love for the novel. I think the next King novel I found was The Shining which cemented my love of King.

If I find a King fan I honestly get so enthusiastic and over excited. Sadly though, I haven’t opted for King novels recently. I’ve leaned more towards romance, drama or fantasy novels. The last King Novel I read was Cujo which I devoured, I couldn’t put it down, it reminded me why I fell in love with Stephen King novels. There are few other novels that I become so completely obsessed with.

So I’m setting myself a reading challenge of a Stephen King Novel a month, for the next year. This will be alongside the Book Club monthly read, I’m pretty certain I can do two novels a month. All but one, these have all been grabbed from charity shops, I’m attempting to control my spending and this was an easy way. I will also be re donating any I don’t fall massively in love with.

    1. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
    2. Doctor Sleep
    3. Misery 30/01/17
    4. The Green Mile 7/7/14
    5. Stephen King On Writing
    6. Stephen King Goes To The Movies
    7. The Dark Half
    8. The Stand
    9. Gerald’s Game (thank you Sam!19/04/2016
    10. Christine
    11. It 2/10/2016
    12. Needful Things 6/5/16

bonus Horns: Joe Hill 11/4/2016

I have already read 1 and 3 and started reading 8 around six years ago and kept getting distracted. I’ve left half of this list free (I had, now I only have one free space!) to enable me to find a King novel I really want to read. I’m tempted by Dolores Cailborne, Different Seasons (Where Shawshank Redemption is found as a short story) and am considering allowing myself a cheat book with Joe Hill (king’s son)’s Horns.

Either way expect more book reviews! Do you have a favourite author who’s back catalogue you would like to make your way through? Do you have any Stephen King Recommendations?

– Emily


This last month in books: five different stories

I read a crazy number of books this month…

I am a book hoarder, and I tend to re-read books I enjoy. If I donate a book (I will never throw away a book unless it is unreadable, even if it’s a Jodie Picoult and the conclusion makes me so angry) it’s because I will never read it again. The first place I look when I get to a charity shop is the books, then the clothes. I must have 100 books, around 50% of which I’m yet to read. So,entires this hoarding is amazing (so many choices), other times it’s an inconvenience (lots of books take up lots of space).

One of the ways I attempt to control this hoarding is with a Kindle. I don’t notice any discernible difference between the two mediums in the experience of reading. The biggest benefit of owning a kindle for me is that this small device can potentially store hundreds of books, minimising the physical space they take up and reducing the weight I carry around on a daily basis. I have a tendency to hoard Kindle books also, i browse the monthly and daily deals and download books I’ve wanted to read and buy them whilst they’re on offer. 

This Kindle stock piling served me well, as I read Miss Peregrine, our book club read, in about a week, and needed something enganging quickly afterwards as a balm. As an aside, I read the majority of the Mindy Kaling novel and Sue Monk King novel whilst in Amsterdam, travelling I find goes hand in hand with a good book. In a normal month, three is normally the meaximum number of books I could read

Miss Peregrine’s School For Peculiar Children: Ransom Riggs

This was a book club read. It was such a disappointing book for me, that it spurred my reading to cleanse my mind of it’s lacking. The novel had potential, but it ended at an odd point, and left a lot of questions. Only one book clubber was a fan! The story is about a young teen who afternl his grandfather passing away in a dramatic situation, travels to a Welsh island to explore his grandfather’s past armed with a box of odd photographs. This New York Times Bestsellers is being made into a film, and I am definitely looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

£5.12      2/5

The Miniaturist: Jessie Burton

 This was the antithesis to Miss Peregrine. I’d been putting off reading it, as for I thought it was a story of a wife having an affair with a Miniaturist, I was so wrong! The novel is a story of secrets, dreams, social order and secrets. If you enjoyed Rebecca I would recommend this novel, it has the same themes of being an outsider in a large house with secrets and rules surrounding you but that’s as far as the comparison goes. I struggled to put this book down, and spent the interim discussing different themes with my friend Katie who had already read it. It’s the story of a young girl who marries an older rich and successful man, and weeks after the wedding moves in with him, his sister and thier servants. It’s a house full of whispers and secrets, of feeling unfulfilled and dreams.

£2.84       4/5

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Mindy Kaling

I bought this because I loved the title. I’ve never watched anything with Mindy in it but the clips I’ve seen for The Mindy Project look amazing. I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend this one, but I enjoyed it. It was interesting to see into someone’s childhood and the story of how they built themselves up professionally. I enjoyed the book, but it would be back to the charity shop if it was a physical book.

£4.99      3/5

The Secret Life Of Bees: Sue Monk Kid

Another case of misunderstanding, I thought this was a feminist novel. Not a clue where I got that idea from. What it is instead is a story of a young white girl who runs away from home to find out more about her mums past. It is set during the American Civil Rights Movement and focuses on this little girl coming to know herself whilst caring for Bees and living with three Black sisters, and her maid. It’s interesting and fill of mystery and secrets. Fans of The Help would enjoy this. (

£3.99      4/5

The One That Got Away: Simon Wood

This was an easy read, the sort of thing you take one leave behind. It’s a story about a woman escaping a serial killer but leaving her friend behind. Aside from the guilt she feels at her actions, the killers finds her again. It was an easy book to finish the month off with, if your a fan of Criminal Minds like me, you’d probably enjoy this!

£3.98     2/5

I have read exactly two pages so far this month. 7 days ago we chose our new book club read: The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens and Im finding it hard to get into, not that ive particularly tried, im two pages in. Ive finished one magazine this week, thats the most taxing read ive provided myself with. Though if we’d gone with World War Z or Night Circus I would probably have finished the book already… Not at all bitter…


This is not a sponsored post, I like books and simply wanted to share another post on the topic.

Most of  the instagram pictures are other people’s images that were public, I have embedded them to share some of my favourite images. The copyright belongs to the owner of the image and not me.

A Few Of My Most Treasured Books: A Glance At My Bookshelf

I, for as long as I can remember, have been a big fan of books. My first memory is walking through a book fair at my pre school with my mum. When I was in year seven and we had an enforced reading hour I’d bring spare books for my classmates. I remember being desperate to read Stephen Kings Carrie because of how scary my mum said the film was. I remember how eye opening re-reading that book was for me a couple years ago.

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I thought I’d talk you through three books that really jumped out for me from my collection, sharing why they were important and why you might like them.

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The Naughtiest Girl In The School:Enid Blyton

I love this book, I love the cover, I love that’s it’s hardback and old, and beautiful. I love that the pages are worn and well read. I love the story!

It’s effectively about a spoilt only child, Elizabeth, who doesn’t want to go to boarding school for a variety of reasons, and to solve the problem she plans to be so naughty they send her home. It’s a tale about learning who you are, and how much others can give you. Whyteleafe is an amazing school which would enchant any child. Think Wild Child but with 11 year olds in 1930’s/40’s England. This is one of the only books I have from my very early childhood,rereading it makes me feel incredibly nostalgic.

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Rebecca: Daphne Du Maurier

This one is special to me for a miyraid of reasons. It’s a book I picked up from a charity shop and kept meaning to read, and I picked it up roughly twelve months ago and because obsessed with the story. It was the first book we read in my book club and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

It’s most easily classified as a love story, but that’s far too simplistic. A young naive woman marries a windowed man she falls for quickly, and finds herself overwhelmed by her station and consumed by his previous wife and her presence in Manderly. It’s gothic, and suspenseful, absorbing and set in Cornwall.

I was lucky enough to see an adaption of the story by Kneehigh in the Theatre Royal earlier in the year, and though it deviated from the essence of the story (there was a musical interlude!) it was an amazing interpretation. The set was incredible, as was the lighting and the story was so well told. I always enjoy seeing a story I love told from a different persons perspective. It was also my partners first trip to the theatre as an adult which was fun.

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The Time Travellers Wife: Audrey Niffenegger

This is actually my second copy of this, I leant it to a friend who was meant to return it in the post and never did (sob!). You might have seen the film, but these are two completely opposite ends of the spectrum. This novel is so full of beautiful but detailed subtleties, emotions and small moments it would have been impossible to accurately translate this to film, especially within a two hour time frame.

Henry and Clare are two people who are utterly in love with each other in a consuming, yet simple and understated way. They are soul mates and thier story is bittersweet and beautiful. It’s a love story, and a story of this couples life together. Yes he can time travel, but it’s thier love that makes this my favorite of all my book shelf. I re-read this every year. I cry every year. I try my hardest to thrust this story onto others every year.

I feel Henry and Clare deserve to be there with Jane and Mr Rochester, Romeo and Juliete, Elizabeth and Mr Darcy.

So those are the three books I really wanted to talk about, they’re three of many. I’ve excluded Harry Potter’s, Marian Keyes, Sylvia Plath and many other authors and books that I love. I might do another Glace At My Bookshelf Post, if this one doesn’t bore people too much! Have you read these three? What books do you love?

– Emily


I bought all of these myself none were gifted or sent. Rebecca and The Time Travellers Wife were both charity shop finds. As much as I love a physical book I tend to purchase new books through my Kindle to save on my very limited space (I am a book horder).