The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion

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The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion

Every so often a book comes along and I cannot put it down, The Rosie Project can easily be described as such.

 

Don Tillman is a single thirty nine year old geneticist who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome and is affectively married to his job and his strict lifestyle rules. The one thing he longs for is someone to share his life with – enter The Wife Project. Don sets about devising a scientific questionnaire for potential life partners to complete which he then assess to see if they are suitable. However once he meets a young student named Rosie, his life is altered in ways he never thought possible as she opens his eyes to chaos, unusual feelings and rule breaking. Has Don found a partner with the world’s most incompatible woman’?

 

From cocktail making to breaking university ethics The Rosie Project allows us to enter into Don and Rosie’s emotions and friendship. It really is a laugh a minute as the two characters who could not be more opposite teach each other valuable lessons about life.

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An additional bonus of this particular edition was author Graeme Simsion’s explanation of how the character of Don came to life as well as a description of his writing processes – as a self-confessed book nerd I love discovering how novels come to fruition and the writer’s influences. I feel it adds a sense of authenticity to the plot. Not only was there a ‘Meet Graeme’ section but this edition included Don’s infamous questionnaire which obviously I filled out. Unfortunately the results concluded that myself and Don were a long way apart but on the plus side I was compatible with the majority of humanity – always a silver lining. There were also cocktail recipes included in the back of the book!

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Underneath the humour and chaos Simsion has created a heart-warming book which leaves you questioning whether a relationship really can change your life and if opposites do attract. When I closed the book, I felt as though I knew the characters in real life – surely the mark of a talented writer.

 
This is the first time I have laughed out loud at a book in ages and once I had finished the final page I immediately wanted to read it again. Whether you are young or old, male or female The Rosie Project will put a smile on your face.

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The Wolf Of Wall Street – Jordan Belfort

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The Wolf of Wall Street – Jordan Belfort

I don’t usually like to compare books and their subsequent film releases but in the case the two are in inseparable.

I had wanted to see The Wolf of Wall Street ever since I first heard it was in production, I did not know much about Jordan Belfort at that stage but there was something about the nature of the film which intrigued me, namely the supossed debauchery and ludicrous content and the fact Leonardo DiCaprio was staring in it – an added bonus.

I was unsure on whether to buy the book mainly because Belfort would be getting royalties from the copy I would buy – like that guy needs any more money. However, I felt it was meant to be on a trip back from London when I had run out of reading material and there it was staring me in the face in WH Smith.

If you are unfamiliar a with the plot or of Belfort himself here it is in a nutshell – New Yorker Jordan Belfort has one failed brokerage business under his belt in the 1990s, he then sets up Stratton Oakmont along with his friends which becomes the biggest stock brokerage firm in the world. What follows is a life of drugs, prostitutes and excess as Belfort makes millions in minutes.

The book is not in chronological order like the film, so it kept you on your toes as you had to remember what occurred before or after the current period in his life which he was describing. To begin with I did not think the film and the book had differences however half way into the book it was clear to see.

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Unlike the film, Belfort leaves Stratton without much fuss – there is no momentous speech where he changes his mind and declares he will never leave his beloved company – instead he goes into business with shoe designer Steve Madden. In the book he tends not to focus on life before Stratton but in the film the first forty five minutes is spent showing his first forays into becoming a stock broker as well as his deteriorating relationship with ex-wife Denise. There are many other difference but I won’t spoil too much if you haven’t read the book or seen the film; needless to say the film takes the pure moments of outrageousness from the book and sensationalises them even further.

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I did enjoy the book but it was not the easiest of reads. There were times when Belfort really annoyed me due to his lack of empathy and consideration of other’s opinions – it was either his way or no way – which I guess is how he had so much power and money. What made it worse was he made no apologises for this. Even at the end of the novel when he was supposedly off drugs and shunned his former lifestyle, he was still spending ludicrous amounts of money on trivial items.

The second reason I found it tough was because of all the financial terminology. I understand investments and shares to a point but when he described his laundering and ‘ratholes’ it did go slightly over my head.

The book is without doubt worth a read but in this case I definitely prefer the film even if they have altered the truth slightly, being able to see his debauchery in action really brings home how utterly crazy and obscene his life was.

The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes

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The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes

I have wanted to read The Shining Girls for the past year. I had searched high and low for it; there was no luck in Waterstones and I refuse to buy too many books from Amazon on principle (although I admit I do cave sometimes) but my luck was in when on a trip to Asda (of all places!) I found it!

It is a departure from what I usually tend to read but there was something about it which intrigued me, I had also heard excellent reviews so a year later here we are.

The Shining Girls is unlike anything I have read ever. Its main protagonist Kirby is a feisty journalism student who is unfortunate enough to ‘shine’ for serial killer Harper. As the only survivor of Harper’s malicious and sickening attacks she takes it upon herself to track him down and get her revenge once and for all. Her internship at the local paper only serves to further her plan. Throughout the whole book we learn and witness Harper’s other killings and also gain his perspective on his actions.

Beukes has created an absolute monster in Harper, there were times when the description of the killings almost became too much to bear. Her depiction of his crimes and appearance sent shivers down my spine – he is exactly what you imagine a serial killer to be like (if that is possible) ; calculating, creepy and conniving. It does make you wonder where Beukes dreamt up these sinister acts as they really are horrific, if you are of a nervous disposition then it is definitely a novel to avoid. And another piece of advice, I would not lend it to your Granny.

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I did nearly give up on it. The plot does jump around an awful lot and we are introduced to so many characters it is hard to keep track of them; however by completing the novel I can see why Beukes has done this. I absolutely hate giving up on a book, I can count on one hand the number of novels I have given up on, so I was determined and hopeful that it would get better and a hundred and fifty pages in it did! I read the final chunk of the book in one go as I was hooked (and because I was on a four hour train journey).

I would recommend it however it didn’t meet my expectations. I think this may be because I had wanted to read it for so long and had created such a hype for it that it was almost inevitable that it wouldn’t be as good as I thought.

It’s World Book Day!!

World Book Day is still as important to me at twenty-two as when I was a mere seven year old. I still remember the excitement of receiving the obligatory book token. Whilst my friends mocked reading (and the discount) I secretly relished going to WH Smith to spend my book token and would spend ages agonising over which book was worthy of the voucher.

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As today is a celebration of books, characters and childhood memories I thought I would write about why I think books will always be important.

I cannot imagine a world without books. From the touch, smell and imagery a text can create in one’s mind, it seems incomprehensible to live in a world where we cannot go out and buy the latest page turner or curl up in our favourite armchair one rainy afternoon with one of the classics. Personally, I believe books matter at every stage in our life, they act as a journey and help to chart key moments in our life.

Books are welcomed into our lives at an extremely young age. Even if we cannot understand them, we subconsciously fall in love with the vivid and appealing images. Not only can we gain a connection to the material in front of us, but books help us to interact with others, whether it is a mother telling a story or a nursery teacher pointing to pictures. This is the start of a lifelong and pleasurable relationship with novels; after all wouldn’t it be boring if we were just given a list of words to learn at this age?

As we get older the reasons why books matter becomes more complex and meaningful. In a world where we are answering emails and dreaming up presentations into the early hours, books give us a chance to escape from our hectic lives. They provide us with comfort and offer us a retreat – a moment we can call our own – something we have longed for all day.

Not only can books provide us with tranquillity, they can also create a chance for social interaction as well as strengthening family bonds. Book clubs help to bring communities and individuals together. People attend these classes because they are passionate about learning more or voicing an opinion. Words can help to maintain already strong bonds as individuals can decide to write memoirs; marking their place in history.

This inevitably leads us onto one of the main reasons books matter – knowledge. It is no coincidence that all the major religions have their own unique texts to tell us moralities and give individuals guidance. Books help to develop a sense of right and wrong and for thousands of years have taught us the traditions and attitudes of the unknown.

In my family a love of books has been fostered through the generations, without them it would certainly be a very dull world.

Here are some of my favourite childhood books…

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enid

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