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Welcome to the November edition of Bookish! We are now rapidly approaching winter, and it’s chilly outside. What better way to spend the cold weekend mornings than by curling up with a great book and getting lost in a different world?

Me

Elton John

Genre: Autobiography

For Fans Of: Patti Smith – Just Kids

What’s in the pages? Born in Pinner, it looked like Reginald Dwight was set to lead an unremarkable life. However, by his early twenties, he was on his first tour of America. He had transformed into the one and only Elton John.

Elton’s life has been full of enough drama; it might as well be a Shakespearean play. From his tumultuous childhood to being an out-of-control superstar to even trying to take his life in a swimming pool. This is the story of all of that and his friendship with Queen & John Lennon, setting up his AIDS charity and secret drug addictions.

Follow this incredibly unique rockstar through his life and all the twist and turns that he encounters on the way – I can say that I personally found it very entertaining and humorous.

Why should you read it? If you’ve watched Rocketman, you probably think that you know everything there is to know about Elton John (or at least the most interesting facts). However, I can guarantee that is not the case. While Rocketman is an excellent biographical movie, it is a highly sanitised version of Elton’s life. In Me, all gloves are off when it comes to the darker side of the singer’s childhood, love life and temper – he ends up being so bluntly honest it almost comes off as self-deprecating at times.

This autobiography is written with humour, wit, and the feeling of a man facing his past in the mirror (both the darkness and its light), making it a highly relatable read that will pull you in from the first chapter. 

If you’re interested in diving deeper into Elton’s life past the selected story of Rocketman, then I can highly recommend that you read Me.

Holes    

Louis Sacher

Genre: Young Adult  For Fans Of: R.J. Palacio

What’s in the pages? Another day, another hole that Stanley Yelnats has to dig. Apparently, he is not searching for anything in particular – but building his character. He is stuck at ‘Camp Green Lake’, a boys detention centre where boys build character by digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. But he shouldn’t be there – it’s all because of a curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has followed generations of Yelnats, including himself.

It doesn’t take long for Stanley to find out that there is more reason to dig holes than character improvement. The boys are digging holes to find something for the warden – but what could be hidden in the dried-up lake?

Why should you read it? I’d be very surprised if you haven’t at least heard of Holes before. Over the past 22 years, it has cemented itself as a staple of the Young Adult genre; and it is now a concrete addition to the National Curriculum. But when it was released in the year 2000, it was unlike any other book I had ever read. Sacher managed to captivate my young mind with a mystery of an ancient curse and hidden treasure while also making me confront issues of identity, personal responsibility and the American correctional Bootcamp system. 

Rereading it last month, I was able to approach it with a new set of eyes and more life experience – but it still gripped me. The way Sacher writes his characters and their interconnecting narratives are beyond impressive and one of the best I have read in any young adult novel. This book allows its characters to become three dimensional by getting them to deal with real problems and consequences, all the while taking you on an amusing and entertaining story. 

I recommend this book to anybody who hasn’t read it; I can guarantee you will enjoy it and get something worthwhile out of reading it.

Sunsets, Scripts and Murder 

A.M. Ialacci

Genre: Crime/Thriller    For Fans Of:  Melinda Leigh

What’s in the pages? When Allie Fox is out house hunting one day, she stumbles across another body and another case she has to solve. 

Up and coming actor Aisha Carter was staying in Emerald Isle, but she had kept it a secret, trying to get away from her fans and the press; however, as Allie starts to investigate, it becomes clear that she might have been hiding more than just her location.

Can Allie figure out the case before everyone she loves is crossed off the killer’s hit list – or will they meet untimely and horrible fates? 

Why should you read it? The fourth instalment in the Crystal Coast Cases sees A. M. Ialacci grow as an author and storyteller. Previous editions of the Crystal Coast Cases books have felt like there was a formula to the stories and novels (which isn’t a bad thing – just an observation). However, Sunsets, Scripts and Murder literally flip the script on that formula to allow for a fresh writing style and mystery (see what I did there?). 

While it still feels like a story from Ialacci, it is more multi-faceted and allows the reader to really fall into the world that Allie Fox and her cohorts inhabit. The novel is fast-paced and highly intriguing. The characters are enjoyable, believable, and you really care about them (especially if you’ve read the previous entries in the collection).

Overall, this is a great crime and thriller novel, and I recommend it for anybody who likes a whodunnit style of book!

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