Hey folks, how are we all today?
I’m mostly writing this post to procrastinate, because I’m getting sick of staring at my dissertation and Microsoft Word, and as a result, I’m starting to fantasise over all the things I want to do when Uni is over.
You all know well enough I’ve loved the university experience, and I’ll be heartbroken when it’s over, BUT I am looking forward to some ‘me’ time.
I don’t mean, ‘me time’ like lounging about all day watching day-time tv and eating chocolate, because as a student I’ve spent enough time doing exactly that and I can tell you, it gets boring. I mean time to read what I want to read, instead of what I have to read for uni, being able to throw more time and effort into my blog and just generally take a break from academia, you know, pretend I’m an adult for a while.
While some people might fantasise about where they want to travel or sightsee or whatever, I’m just dreaming about what I want to read, so with that in mind I thought I’d share the top 5 books on my post-uni reading list!
5 – The Gulag Archipelago – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
I bought this book quite a while ago, after reading Martin Sixsmith’s History of Russia I wanted to know more about the Gulag (a forced labour camp and prison for those who dared speak out, or were suspected of acting against the government), because I find it fascinating how Stalin fought against Germany in WWII, liberating those forced into concentration camps, while back on his own soil labour camps had been established since 1918.
Russia is a fascinating country, it’s history is bloodier than the Red Wedding and as secretive as Varis and Littlefinger put together (Game of Thrones is back, I’m excited, can you tell?), plus it’s good to broaden the mind in other ways, instead of simply reading fiction all the time!
I hope that one day I’ll be able to visit Moscow and St Petersburg, because the architecture is amazing and it’d be weird seeing Lenin’s dead body in the mausoleum.. but right now, I think with all that is going on between Russia and Ukraine, I’ll stay here.
4 – Bringing up the Bodies – Hillary Mantel
Again, I bought this book ages ago, BEFORE it was made into a serial drama, because I was part-way through reading Wolf Hall and thought I’d get the second one ready for when I finished. Sadly, I finished the book but, as with Solzhenitsyn, it got put on hold for well over a year because of Uni.
Though I know the story of Anne Boleyn and Henry Tudor pretty well, it is re-told from an entirely different perspective, that of Thomas Cromwell (yes, Thomas, not Oliver), Henry’s right-hand man who’s story has been swept under the carpet for many years in comparison to the infamous Henry and Anne.
Mantel is set to release a third novel some time this year to complete the trilogy and finish Cromwell’s story, because yes, he ends up losing his head, as did a number of people in court at that time..
So I look forward to adding that to my pile of books to read!
3 – More Fool Me – Stephen Fry
I defy anyone to claim Stephen Fry isn’t the most wonderful man in the world.
I’ve read his other two autobiographies (Moab is My Washpot & The Fry Chronicles) so it only seems fair to continue being nosey and read the third instalment!
More Fool Me documents the years of cocaine addiction and his on-going battle with bipolar disorder, something Stephen has been incredibly honest and open about over a number of years. He also talks about working on one of my favourite shows, ‘A Bit of Fry and Laurie’, that they NEED to bring back because there is simply no such thing as a good sketch-show any-more (Keith Lemon, really? I mean, I like him, but it’s not as good as people make out).
I also look forward to reading about when he shared a house with Rowan Atkinson, Emma Thompson, Hugh and some others, I can only imagine the stories are hilarious.. and the amount of talent living under one roof – amazing!
2 – The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Bronte
I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never bothered reading anything by Anne Bronte, I’m far to obsessed with her older sister Charlotte. I think that tends to be the case with a lot of people who claim to love the classics as I do.
My lovely dissertation tutor spent a lot of time trying to encourage me to read this in order to include it in my dissertation, because it apparently addresses unhappy marriage and divorce, radical back then but might have been helpful for the final chapter of my masterpiece…
But then, I suppose the Bronte family were all pretty radical in their own ways.
Charlotte, hankering after a married man.
Emily, the resident emo.
Branwell, the druggie (to put it in crude terms).
Anne, probably the only slightly normal one of the lot, trying to make her way as a governess and a writer.
Maybe that’s why she got pushed aside, not a juicy-enough life story.
Anyway, slightly straying off topic… I bought a copy of the complete novels of the Bronte Sisters last summer with the intention of reading this, Agnes Grey and The Professor, to fill in the gaps. But, in keeping with the theme of this post, I didn’t get round to it.
1 – The Children Act – Ian McEwan
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, I love this man.
Though a lot of my Year 12 literature class will disagree with me (ok, all 20 of them), ‘Enduring Love’ is still one of the best novels I’ve ever read. In fact, I love it that much I’ve chosen to use it twice throughout my time at uni (or will have done, by the end of term), and I’m STILL not bored of it, or the rest of his novels.
So I was very excited to find (last September) he had released a new novel ‘The Children Act’, two years after ‘Sweet Tooth’ that I bought and devoured right at the start of first year.. way back when I had time to have a life. As with the other books, this has sat and gathered dust on my shelf for a good 7 months but when I do eventually manage to sit and read it, I’ll be immersed in the life of Fiona Maye, a high-court judge called upon to rule in the case of a 17-year-old Jehovah’s Witness with leukaemia who is refusing a blood transfusion.
I think so!
So there we have it, my top 5 ‘to-read’ list that I’ll probably get cracking with on the 12th June (the day after my last exam). I suspect I’ll add many more to the list between now and then; I was talking to a friend who said I should read all the Diskworld novels in honour of Terry Pratchett (I haven’t read any of them), so that might end up happening too, who knows!
Have you read any of the books I’m planning on reading? If so, what did you think of them?*
Tweet me @Alejashleigh or comment below and let me know!
Till next time,
*(Without spoilers if possible!)