November – A Wrinkle in Time, Billy and the Minpins, To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman

November’s reading was full of nostalgia and books aimed at children which was a perfect way to get back into reading by harking back to an age when I used to devour books over two evenings – sometimes buried beneath my duvet with a torch in hand so as not to wake my sister. Due to this I read every day of November and on more than one occasion was going to bed early so I could read more before going to sleep.

Madeleine L’Engle – A Wrinkle in Time

Despite this being released in the 60s I hadn’t heard of it till earlier this year when it was suddenly all over my Instagram after Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Oprah were signed on to the film. After watching the trailer more recently I decided to read the book before the film comes out – as I always plan to but generally don’t get round to – and managed to find it in Waterstones. It follows Meg Murry, her brother Charles Wallace and friend Calvin O’Keefe as they travel across the universe to rescue her father. It is full of suspense and had I known about it earlier I would’ve loved to have read it when I was younger and will definitely be lending it to my younger cousin to read. Despite it being aimed at a younger audience I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was short enough that I could read it quickly and I would definitely recommend it to everyone.

Roald Dahl – Billy and the Minpins

This was the only Roald Dahl children’s story I never read as a child as it was never in any of the box sets due to not being illustrated by Quentin Blake. Earlier this year it was re-released with Quentin Blake’s distinctive style of drawing and I was given it as an early Christmas present from one of my best friends who also adores Roald Dahl. It isn’t very long and I read it one morning in less than an hour. As expected it is another gorgeous story by one of the world’s best loved storytellers complete with the perfect final page.

Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird

I first read Harper Lee’s classic novel for my GCSE’s when I was 15. It was the first book that I was assigned where I reached the point and couldn’t wait for the class to catch up; I went home and read the second half of the book over the space of a few days only to read it again with the class. I thought that on second reading I may struggle to read it as quickly but after a few chapters I realised I had forgotten 90% of what actually happened and thoroughly enjoyed delving back into Scout’s world. The book was just as excellent and thought provoking on a second read and I would not be surprised if reading it again becomes a regular thing. If anybody has not read it, I would recommend reading it as soon as possible.

Harper Lee – Go Set a Watchman

I was excited to read this as soon as I had heard it was being released but after reading lots of mixed reviews I decided not to run out and buy it and quickly forgot about it. I then found it in a charity shop recently and figured I may as well give it a try and decide for myself. After reading the first chapter I realised I had forgotten almost everything that happens in To Kill a Mockingbird so put it down and planned to buy it as soon as I could and re read that first – which I did a week later after a trip to Waterstone’s. Before diving back into Go Set A Watchman I did a little research into it and after discovering that it was a first draft rather than a sequel I continued reading with an open mind. The first thing I noticed was that there are some paragraphs that are exactly the same as in To Kill a Mockingbird – I probably wouldn’t have noticed had I not just read it – which makes sense after discovering Go Set a Watchman was never intended to be published. It has a lot of the same themes as To Kill a Mockingbird but shows a lot of the initial characters’ views and ideals to be unrealistic and portrays that nobody – not even Atticus Finch – is perfect. Many people have said they were disappointed with either the novel or the way it has been sold as a sequel – one bookshop even gave refunds to people who had read it and were disappointed. However I believe if you read it with an open mind and try not to compare it to To Kill A Mockingbird – despite the fact that is all I’ve done here – it is an excellent book written by one of the best authors in recent years.

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