Tag Archives: books

2014 – A Year in Books

2014 is almost coming to a close, and I think I can speak for roughly.. 80% of you when I say:
When did it even start????

This time last year I made a pledge! And that pledge, between me and my 12 goodreads friends, stated that I shall read a whopping 20 books this year! Originally I’d aimed for 30 but just to ‘play it safe’ and to make sure I definitely hit the mark… I stuck with easy figure of 20.

Yeah….. I didn’t make it.

I did, however, get 70% of the way there with a GRAND total of 14! Now even though this isn’t the highest of numbers, (seriously, off the top of my head I can think of like…… 7 higher numbers!!!!) it’s still high enough for me to do a……

TOP 5 BOOKS OF THE YEAAAAAAAR – the two sugars fairly strong dot WordPress dot com edition !!!

The name might need a little tweak but let’s just roll with it…

image

I shall sit here and await the payment from Converse for this free advertising....

So Behold!

TOP 5 BOOKS OF THE YEAAAAAAAAR – The Two Sugars Edition 

5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Coming in at last pla-
No, at number 5, coming in at number 5 we have ‘The Alchemist’. Having already written a review of the book, a post or 3 ago, I don’t feel the need to add a whooole lot more except that I really enjoyed it. The Alchemist wasn’t a hard read in the slightest and thinking back at it, what stands out to me most was the beauty in the language. Especially the personification of the various components of nature, adding an enticing touch to a fairly simple story. But at the end of the day what I have taken from the book and carried with me ever since is simply… Maktub.

4. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Apparently it goes by the name ‘Midnight Riots’ in the US but either way I had never heard of this book, or series of books, until it was gifted to me by a friend, and I am sooooo glad I read it! An ‘urban fantasy’ set in London follows the life of Constable Peter Grant as he goes about his mundane day to day business until suddenly coming into contact with the last wizard in England. #Casual.

If you’re in the market for a humorous fantasy book which also happens to throw shed-loads of London-based trivia your way, I know JUST the thing. This. Enjoy.

3. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Only Robert Galbraith could do this. Write a story with; no wizards, no witches, no noseless villains and no Alan Rickmans, yet still be magical! Although I found that it started off fairly slowly, once I got into the thick of it, it was a real page turner. It’s been a while since I’ve read a good 60-70 pages only to look up and realise that it’s 3am and Oh crap I’m meant to be revising what is my life! But that’s what a great storyteller can do aye! They make you deprioritise your whole life with hopefully no lasting ramifications (fingers crossed!)

In case you don’t know, The Cuckoo’s Calling is a crime novel centering around private detective Cormoran Strike and his, simply perfect, assistant Robin (who incidentally I fell slightly in love with) as they try and solve the case of a deceased model who seemingly flung herself from her Mayfair balcony.

I only bought this book because of a 3-for-2 sale and boy am I glad that I did. In fact I liked it so much that I picked up it’s sequel ‘The Silkworm’ just yesterday. So what are you waiting for???

2. 1984 by George Orwell
It had to take something special to beat The Cuckoo’s Calling and 1984 is just that. I’d heard of this one long before reading it, but I never thought it would interest me in the slightest… It always seemed so grey… So dull…. How wrong I was.

Written in 1948, this novel is George Orwell’s dystopian vision of the future. A country, or even world, put under the watchful eye, and ruled by Big Brother. Luckily for all of us though, due to a large decline in average views, Big Brother recently got bumped to Channel 5, where it still silently clings on for dear life. Phew!

But seriously there was so much more from the George Orwell novel that I wasn’t expecting in the least! I don’t want to spoil any of it so I’ll tread on eggshells.. But I never expected such a gripping relationship nor did I expect to feel empathy towards the fictitious situation and it’s, majorly proletarian, inhabitants. But most of all I never expected the ending. Wow. I shall leave it there before I utter any more words that may end up in the post requiring a ‘Spoiler Alert’ tag.
Big Brother is watching.

That only leaves room for one more book! What will it be! Find out.. on the next expiso-
Or I could just tell you now. Technically my number 1 slot won’t go to a single book, but rather a trilogy of books I read right at the start of the year so, since I warned you, don’t sue me.

I’m (surprisingly, actually quite) proud to announce, the number 1 book(s) that I’ve read in 2014 is/are!!!!…

The Hitchhiker’s Guide The Galaxy (books 1-3) by Douglas Adams

Where to even begin with this one… Quite simply these books are the most random, most bizarre, and the funniest (actually ‘LoL’ worthy at parts) set of books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. There is a fine line between insansity and genius as they say (confession: I don’t actually know who says this or, in fact, if it is even said) but I think Douglas Adams must have had a bit of both.

We start our journey with Earthling Arthur Dent, as he tries to stop the demolishing of his house, by the council, for the building of a by-pass. Pretty intense stuff. When put into perspective, however, by his strange companion, Ford Prefect, it isn’t all that dramatic after all. The Earth itself, our beloved planet, our home, is literally minutes away from being blown to smithereens to build, yes, a bypass.

I can’t do the story any justice whatsoever so I won’t even try but I think it’s simply a must read for everyone, including you!! I mean, who doesn’t want to read about The Vogons, who rank #3 in a list of the Universe’s worst ever poets. Why on Earth (bad choice of words) would you not want to meet Marvin, the borderline suicide Robot, try a Pan Galactic Gargle blaster orrrrr find out ‘The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything’ ????

If you learn anything in 2014, let it be this:
Don’t panic. Read the Hitchhiker’s Guide. Oh and also RIP Douglas Adams.

—————————

So there you have it, my Year in books… If you liked or, probably more likely, disliked anything I said… Or if you’ve read any of these books yourself then let me know what you thought of them too in the comments below (you don’t have to be a blogger to comment) Orrrrr you can give your own top 5 books of the year. Whatever floats your wee little boats. Whatever you do just comment it can get lonely out here you know!!! *exhaled deeply*

Either way: follow, comment and shaaare away

Have a Happy New Year! and thanks for reading πŸ™‚

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Journey through Time

Recently, I decided to embark on a journey. And no, not a physical journey as that would require actual movement on my part.

This journey is waaaay cooler though believe me, it’s a journey……… Through time (*.*) (wow) ! A journey which can only be undertaken via the great medium of books! Orrrrr television documentaries. Orrr wikipedia I suppose. But in this case, at least, it’s through books.

Specifically speaking I decided to study Islamic history, not in extreme detail but just for a broad overview of events.

So if any amongst you are interested in this subject then I highly reccomend the following books to create a good platform for learning but also for further reading, should you wish.

Or just read on for the hell of it.

The first book I read was ‘Muhammad: His Life Based On the Earliest Sources’ by Martin Lings. This can only be described as a gem of a book. It was nicely written, not too long and overall an easy read. Although I was familiar with a lot of the history of the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessing be upon him, after reading this book I realised how little I actually knew/remembered.   

I highly reccommend anyone who’s interested in learning about the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, or about Islamic history in general to read through Martin Lings’ brilliant biography.

‘The History of the Khalifahs who took the Right Way’ by Jalal ad-Din as-Suyuti was the second book I read. After reading a biography of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, I felt it fitting to read about the 4 Khalifahs who came after him, as well as a short extract on the 5th too. What appealed to me most about this book was that it was very neatly organised. For each caliph, there were little sections such as their description or what they accomplished as Caliph and so forth. Overall it was a concise yet informative read. Recommended for anyone looking to see how Islam expanded after the death of the Prophet, may peace and blessings be upon him.

The next book on the list was ‘Lost Islamic History: Reclaiming Muslim Civilisation from the Past’ by Firas Alkhateeb and as of yet am only half way through it. The book starts off by giving brief summaries of the lives of the Prophet SAW and the first 4 Khalifahs, and then transporting you into the times that follow. From what I have seen so far I can tell you that Islamic history is by no means a simple affair. You learn about Dynasty after dynasty. Dynasties within dynasties. Divisions, battles, treaties and much much more. 

It is a wonder how the author so skillfully packed everything inside this neat and rather  compact book!

The Golden Age of Science and Maths, in the cultural capital of Baghdad, was especially interesting as we are shown how Muslim scientists and leading thinkers pioneered the way for much of the technology we use today. It was extremely interesting but at the same time deeply saddening, considering how different the situation is now.

My overall impression so far is of sheer wonder. It is amazing how, in just around 300 years, Islam had spread from one Man with a mission to one of the largest dynasties in the world at that time. It just goes to show how much can be accomplished when unity exists between the leaders and followers.  And when peace is present throughout.

But anyways I suppose its time to end this fairly long (by this sites standards!) post and leave by saying, again!, that if any of you are interested in learning about Islamic history then these books would definitely be good starting points.

If you have any other books which you can reccomend then write them in the comments below πŸ™‚ or just write in the comments for the hell of it. That’s how I get my kicks apparently.

I don’t know what I’ll read next but if I don’t say on here then maybe you can somehow stalk my goodreads account, if anyone is actually interested! Ya crafty buggers.

Taraa for now then

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,