The Casual Vacancy Released 27th September When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Read the official Little Brown Article here.
You’re welcomed to Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960’s by the humbling voice of Aibileen, the help of Elizabeth Leefolt. Her job? To clean and raise white children: currently she’s raising Mae Mobley. She’s raised more white children than most of the help in the town, most have all grown up, have help of their own. But they’re her only family around. Her son was killed a little while ago. Her best friend, Minny, can’t hold her tongue to save her life. She keeps getting fired for her attitude, well, actually, she has no attitude. She speaks the truth. The white people don’t like hearing it. But there’s one person who doesn’t mind the truth. Skeeter, whose just returned home from graduating University. She wants to write, but the town stifles her, and she wants to rant, but the only set of ears who would listen to her have gone; her mother’s help, Constantine. Where has she gone? Well, that’s something her mother is too ashamed to confess. These three voices leap between the chapters of the novel and guide you through the suppression faced. In a small town like Jackson no one’s safe from domestic violence, rejection, heartbreak, death, alcoholism, racism - but none of those construct the main concern for the town, oh no, the only main concern is the diseases black people can give white people, and the solution: separate toilets. This was an unbelievably moving novel. It was funny, heartbreaking and rather scary at times. I haven’t seen the film but some of the incidents within here are so graphic I highly doubt they would have made the film, which is a shame, as they were what built the novel’s character. The most powerful emotion I felt in this novel was pride of the movements: I wish so much I had been born as part of the generation which helped push the fight for equality, because my admiration for all those who did shoots through the roof every time I think about what they went through and how much they accomplished. The severity of racism wasn’t as extreme as I was expecting, which actually worked in the novel’s favour of not being a dark read, thus rendering it, in my opinion, more powerful and effectively moving. I adored the narration, and even more so by the fact it wasn’t dominated by the main white character but dominated by the help. That’s what I wanted to see. When I saw adverts for the film I obviously see Emma Stone taking centre stage as the body behind a movement, and I was praying the novel wouldn’t concentrate on her but on those being oppressed - and honestly, it didn’t disappoint. It far exceeded my expectations. I cried several times and the ending was brilliantly realistic and powerfully unsettling that, despite it seeming almost borderline inconclusive, it completed the journey poetically with a really strong sense for the need of continuation of the baby steps which are required to break down what appears to be unbreakable barriers, and the need to highlight that nothing can wholly be accomplished in one movement: it requires more voices and more eyes. ★★★★★
I really didn't know where to look for some modern literature and I've just spent 2 hours of looking through this blog and watching your videos just jotting down all the books you've mentioned. Thanks for the the soon-to-be good reads! I'm so glad I was able to discover you :) Also, have you decided which long book you're going to read over the summer? I just finished Les Mis and Crime and Punishment and I thought they were fantastic :)
Awww excellent I’m glad you’ve found my blog and vlogs useful! :D I haven’t yet, all my long read novels are at my mother’s house and I haven’t seen most of my books since August last year, so until I go and visit them again I don’t know which ones I’ll want to read as I may be reminded of a few others that I probably want to read more (:
Oh my goodness, reached it guys! The last day of the 30 day book challenge, which I accidently elongated by having day without internet from time to time. So, here we come. But first, I feel a definition is required for this final post. What is a coffee table book? Well, A coffee table book is a hardcover book that is intended to sit on a coffee table or similar surface in an area where guests sit and are entertained, thus inspiring conversation or alleviating boredom.
So, my coffee table book has to be The Vintage Tea Party book. Like I’ve stated before, I love cooking. I would happily be a chef part-time at University, but sadly I don’t have any formal qualifications which would compose a suitable CV which I could send to restaurants for work. However, like I said, I love cooking, especially baking, and I collect cook books. Now this isn’t my favourite cookbook (my favourite chef is Raymond Blanc) but this book is always great to discuss with people who don’t like cooking, especially my flatmates, as they get rather excited and constantly ask me whilst flicking through it ‘can you make us this? How about this?’. There’s also fashion tips at the back such as hair styles, dresses and makeup so it’s overall a great little book and I do love it so.
I’m currently reading three books at the moment, The Help, Possession and The Iliad. However, like I said on my last video, it’s exam period and I only have three weeks until my first university exams commence therefore I doubt that I would have moved on from these three books before the end of my exams which is in May. That feels really depressing but I suppose reading is a sacrifice I have to make at this time of year. Just a month and a half to go and I can start reading again properly!