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Sunday, 24 January 2016

My Bookshelf

One thing that I don’t think I could live without is books. I have always loved reading since I can remember and I don't think I have ever lived a day without having a book to read. I have a collection of bookmarks and just love the warm feeling of snuggling up and reading a book. Books, reading and writing are more than a hobby to me, they are basically my passion. I'm that person that could spend hours in a bookstore, that marvels over book covers and loves feeling the cover and pages of a book in their hands. I couldn't ever read a book on an ipad! As much as I love libraries, I feel that I cannot borrow from them as I'm afraid of falling in love with a book and then parting from it. Once I read a book, I need to keep it! The first stories I read as a child were common fairy tale stories and Enid Blyton stories such as the Faraway Tree, which my mum introduced me to. Then along came Harry Potter and I was immersed within the world of books (thank you JK Rowling). When I was younger, all I was drawn to was fantasy. I actually read almost all of the Harry Potter books nearing around ten times each, I was just going from book one to seven over and over, that’s how much I loved it. I still have all my childhood books, which along with my current collection, I intend to pass on in the future. Since then, I have collected soo many books, as you can see by my bookshelf. I have actually ran out of room on it so I think I need another one . . . or two. 

I also have heaps more in trunks and boxes, which isn’t my favourite way to store them as I like to see my books and pull them off the shelf whenever I like. I also decorated my bookshelf with a little collection of sentimental pieces and gifts. Getting older, the genre of my reading has expanded and I discovered that I loved reading books with a historical background, particularly within the period of first world war through the nineteen-twenties and thirties. There’s something about that era (especially the twenties) that I love (yes, I’m a huge Downton Abbey fan). Sometimes I think I was meant to live during that time (as an aristocratic lady living in an English countryside mansion, of course).

I also love books that flip between the past and the present and contain secrets and unsolved mysteries. Discovering Kate Morton, author of The Shifting Fog and her most recently published novel The Lake House, enlightened me to the fact that I love books of that genre. The first book I read from Kate Morton was a few years ago (The Secret Keeper) and I really loved the mystery and the surprising ending  so after that I read every novel of hers and she rapidly became one of my favourite Australian writers. My favourite novel by Kate Morton is definitely the Shifting Fog, whose synopsis you can read here. My favourite thing about this novel is not only the setting but also her writing and the way she layered the story with complex plots that all come together nicely in the end in a way that I least expected. Her characters are also sharp and feel real, which in addition to novel’s featuring of scripts and articles, intensify the story’s reality and intrigue.

Another Australian writer of whose books I love to read is Fiona McIntosh, whose written numerous historical romance novels such as Nightingale and The Tailor’s Girl. I have read all of her novels of this genre and I honestly I love them all but my favourite is The Tailor’s Girl, which you can find here. It was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down and made me feel sad when it ended because I was so immersed in the romance between Eden and Tom and their respective worlds. I felt like I was reading a version of a story that could feature in Downton Abbey. The characters were warm and I so desperately wanted to be a part of the settings in 1920s London and the English countryside. In the review shown in the link, the writer says that the story and the scenery would translate beautifully on film and I completely agree!

Belinda Alexandra is another Australian writer that I love. She also writes historical novels that sometimes shift to present day, which means that her novels also feature some mystery and suspense. I love how her novels take place in different settings across the world (from France to Shanghai) and the amount of detail she incorporates in her writing to describe such settings. I love that she builds her character and the story around the time of war and that her novels carry so much emotion and heart. At the end of reading one of her novels, I feel like I have travelled back in time to the place that she describes and that I was there and that I really knew the characters. I also feel like I’ve learned something about the particuar time period and place featured in her novels due to the amount of detail and research her writing contains and is influenced by. I have read all her books and my favourite is Wild Lavender, which you can find here. It’s my favourite because I enjoyed being taken around different places from the Lavender Fields in Provence to Paris, Berlin and New York. I also loved the depth provided to Simone’s character and the circumstances she experienced during the second world war. It is a memorable story and one I would re-read again.

I have recently just discovered Lucinda Riley and I also really love her stories! It started with my reading the first novel to her seven-part series, The Seven Sisters, which you can read about here. It follows the story of seven sisters (one book per sister) and so far there are two published and I am yet to start reading the second, entitled Storm Sister. It flips between the past and present of each sister, who were adopted as children by a mysterious man named Pa Salt. I love how it flips between present and past and that there is so much intrigue, unsolved mysteries and family secrets. I have read her other novels The Midnight Rose and The Italian Girl and I cannot wait to read her other book called The Girl on the Cliff. She has fast become another of my favourite authors. There are so many other authors that I love such as Cathy Kelly, who writes great women’s fiction and Monica McInerney, who like Cathy Kelly writes novels with heartwarming  plots and characters.

Wowee me I feel like I have written a book myself, this post is quite long! I believe it’s a testament to my passion for books, reading and writing. Before I go I’ll make you a list of which books I have on my reading list and authors I am yet to add to my list of favourite writers. Almost all of these books I purchased at Dymocks bookstore in Melbourne city the other day (which for me is Heaven on earth). I was pulling books off of the shelves like a mad woman. I always spend wayy to much when I go to the bookstore. Anyway here is my to be read list!

A War of Flowers, Jane Thynne.
The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah.
The Girl on the Cliff, Lucinda Riley. 
The Storm of War, Kate Williams.
If You Go Away, Adele Parks.
The Last Embrace, Pam Jenoff.
The Storm Sister, Lucinda Riley.
Between Sisters, Cathy Kelly.
The Patterson Girls, Rachael Johns
The Night Falling, Katherine Webb.
Letters to the Lost, Iona Grey.
Echoes from Afar, Tamara McKinley.
Paris Letters, Janice MacLeod.

 . . . best I get reading!

I really treasure my bookshelf and my books, I don’t think I could never part from them! 

Let me know in the comments section who are some of your favourite authors? Do you have a favourite book? Let me know how book crazy you are or if you have read any of the books that I have mentioned.

Kristina xx

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